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The Supreme Court in the American Legal System

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  • 28 b/w illus. 57 tables
  • Page extent: 424 pages
  • Size: 234 x 156 mm
  • Weight: 0.61 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521785082 | ISBN-10: 0521785081)

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published July 2005

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$40.99 (P)

Including a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court, this study examines the American legal system. It extensively examines lower courts as well, providing separate chapters on state courts, the U.S. District Courts, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Analyzing these courts from a legal/extralegal framework, the book draws different conclusions about the relative influence of each based on institutional structures and empirical evidence. Finally, separate chapters on civil procedure, evidence, and criminal procedure provide exended coverage of the legal process.


List of illustrations; List of tables; Preface; Part I. Introduction: 1. Judicial policy making; 2. Approaches to judicial decision making; 3. The Supreme Court in American legal history; Part II. Judicial Process: 4. Civil procedure; 5. Evidence; 6. Criminal procedure; Part III. Lower Courts in the American Legal System: 7. State courts; 8. The U.S. district courts; 9. The U.S. courts of appeals; Part IV. The Supreme Court: 10. Staffing the court; 11. Getting into court; 12. Supreme Court decision making; 13. Opinions and assignments; Part V. Impact: 14. The impact of judicial decisions; Case index.; General index.


"The Supreme Court in the American Legal System is a distinct contribution from the existing texts -- unlike its competitors, it has a perspective and uses data to back it up. Unabashedly political in orientation, while rich in detail and facts, SCALS provides all the makings for lively class discussions. It stands as an important work for students in politics, legal studies, and those interested in the development and history of the court system."
Lee Epstein, Washington University in St. Louis

"The Supreme Court and the American Legal System is an outstanding text -- comprehensive, well-written, and student-friendly. The authors are to be commended for writing such an accessible judicial process and politics book. This book can be read with profit by not only students, but also laypersons, and scholars alike."
Sheldon Goldman, University of Massachusetts

"The Supreme Court in the American Legal System offers fresh insight into American courts and the judicial process. Segal, Spaeth, and Benesh provide extensive coverage of all the standard topics covered in judicial process classes but do so in a distinctively engaging manner. The depth and breadth of the authorsa knowledge, as well as their keen wit, is amply evidence throughout the text, making for informative and genuinely pleasurable reading. What makes this book so unique (and very appealing) is the careful attention given to introducing readers to, not only what we know about law and courts, but also how we know it. The authors make the social science research regarding the various aspects of the judicial process eminently accessible. This book will surely become a standard. "
Wendy L. Martinek, State University of New York at Binghamton

"From the rules that govern civil and criminal trials to the impact of Supreme Court decisions, Segal, Spaeth and Benesh thoroughly explain the American legal system. The authors expertly combine empirical data with historical analysis and legal information to provide a comprehensive look at how courts operate and the ways in which the judiciary influences public policy. The result is an exceptionally useful and well-crafted volume."
Thomas Walker, Emory University

“Writing for a sophisticated audience and drawing on the latest political science literature, the authors occasionally have an irreverent approach to the topic. A nice addition to collections on the Supreme Court, law, and judicial politics…Highly recommended.”
CHOICE, D. Schultz, Hamline University

"This book is a far-ranging examination of the American legal system.... It relies heavily on the multifaceted and voluminous research of the three authors and includes new findings. The book combines an historical and analytical perspective that will be a welcome addition for those who teach judicial process, for those outside the academy who want a systematic analysis of the Court, and for prelaw students who want to understand civil procedure. The discussion of the relationships between state and federal courts and jurisdiction is especially strong. The book is engaging and very well written.... No one is spared their strong opinions or rapier wit."
Perspectives on Politics

"At its core (it) is a forceful argument targeted at academic specialists and backed by sophisticated empirical analysis...the book is a rousing success...One could hardly as for a more engaging, provocative, and challenging book on judicial behavior for a general audience."
David Klein, University of Virginia, Law and Politics Book Review

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