From the gold rush to the Internet boom, the US District Court for the Northern District of California has played a major role in how business is done
and life is lived on the Pacific Coast. When California was first admitted to the Union, pioneers were busy prospecting for new fortunes, building
towns and cities–and suing each other. San Francisco became the epicenter of a litigious new world being cobbled together from gold dust and sand
dunes. Its federal court set precedents, from deciding the fate of Mexican land grants and shanghaied sailors to civil rights for Chinese immigrants.
Through the era of Prohibition and the labor movement to World War II and the tumultuous sixties and seventies, the court’s historic rulings have defined
the Bay Area’s geography, culture, and commerce.
Sponsored by the Northern District Court’s Historical Society and told by veteran journalists, The Court That Tamed the West presents the region’s history
through a new lens, offering insight along with great storytelling.
This long unavailable autobiography is required reading for anyone wishing to understand one of the most controversial and dynamic chief justices in Supreme
Court History and his remarkable impact on American Society.
In 1971, William Rehnquist seemed the perfect choice to fill a seat on the United States Supreme Court. He was a young, well-polished lawyer who shared
many of President Richard Nixon’s philosophies and faced no major objections from the Senate. But in truth, the nomination was anything but straightforward.
Now, for the first time, former White House counsel John Dean tells the story of Rehnquist’s appointment. Dean offers readers a place in the White House
inner circle, providing an unprecedented look at a government process.
Pattern of Deception: The Media’s Role in the Clinton Presidency
Jun 1996 by Tim Graham and L. Brent Bozell
Legal thought in this country has always focused on the rules rather than on the persons affected by the rules. Persons and Masks of the Law restores
the balance by taking a person-centered view of the law. Renowned legal scholar, Judge John T. Noonan, shows how even great jurists have chosen the
“masks of the law” over persons, his surprising examples being Thomas Jefferson, George Wythe, Benjamin Cardozo, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.–four
of the greatest lawyers of the United States.
Root and Branch: Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall, and the Struggle to End Segregation
Jan 22, 2013 by Rawn James Jr.
Although widely viewed as the beginning of the legal struggle to end segregation, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Brown v. Board of Education was
in fact the culmination of decades of court challenges led by a band of lawyers intent on dismantling Jim Crow one statute at a time. Charles Hamilton
Houston laid the groundwork, reinventing the law school at Howard University (where he taught a young, brash Thurgood Marshall) and becoming special
counsel to the NAACP. Later, Houston and Marshall traveled through the South, often at great personal risk, chipping away, case by case, at the legal
foundations of racial oppression. The buttoned-up Houston and the easygoing Marshall made an unlikely pair-but their partnership made an unforgettable
impact on American history.
Few chapters in American judicial history have enjoyed as colorful a past as has the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Created in 1891, its
jurisdiction now encompasses California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, Hawaii, and Alaska. David Frederick has mined archival
sources, including court records and legal papers throughout the West and in Washington, D.C., to document the Ninth Circuit’s first fifty years. His
findings are much more than a record of the court, however, for they also provide a unique social and cultural history of the West.
Frederick portrays the West’s most important judicial institution with clarity and intelligence, reminding us that the evolution of the Ninth Circuit
both reflected and affected the dramatic changes occurring in the West during the court’s early years. This is a book that will appeal not only
to lawyers, but to historians, sociologists, and general readers as well.
The Kentucky-born son of a Baptist preacher, with an early tendency toward racial prejudice, Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge (1894-1949) became one
of the Court’s leading liberal activists and an early supporter of racial equality, free speech, and church-state separation. Drawing on more than
160 interviews, John M. Ferren provides a valuable analysis of Rutledge’s life and judicial decisionmaking and offers the most comprehensive explanation
to date for the Supreme Court nominations of Rutledge, Felix Frankfurter, and William O. Douglas.
Rutledge was known for his compassion and fairness. He opposed discrimination based on gender and poverty and pressed for expanded rights to counsel,
due process, and federal review of state criminal convictions.
During his brief tenure on the Court (he died following a stroke at age fifty-five), he contributed significantly to enhancing civil liberties and
the rights of naturalized citizens and criminal defendants, became the Court’s most coherent expositor of the commerce clause, and dissented powerfully
from military commission convictions of Japanese generals after World War II. Through an examination of Rutledge’s life, Ferren highlights the
development of American common law and legal education, the growth of the legal profession and related institutions, and the evolution of the American
court system, including the politics of judicial selection.
Felix Frankfurter, Hugo Black, Robert Jackson, William O. Douglas—they began as close allies and friends of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who appointed
them to the Supreme Court in order to shape together a new, liberal view of the Constitution that could live up to the challenges of economic depression
and war. Within months, their alliance had fragmented. Friends became enemies. In competition and sometimes outright warfare, the men struggled with
one another to define the Constitution—and through it, the idea of America itself.
This book tells the story of these four great justices: relationship with Roosevelt, with each other, and with the turbulent world of the Great Depression,
World War II, and the Cold War. At the same time, another story emerges from the vicissitudes of their battles, victories, and defeats: a history
of the modern Constitution itself.
Michael Meyerson is Bemis Professor of Law at Harvard. He is the author of four previous books and a contributing writer for New York Times Magazine.