The Supreme Court

This book explores the Supreme Court from a variety of perspectives, beginning with how the court does its work and proceeding to look at the current court: the individual justices, their complex interactions with and influences on their colleagues, their jurisprudence — that is, the principles and philosophies that govern their thinking — and how their opinions, concurrences, and dissents not only apply constitutional law but shape it. Faith in the integrity of the justices is of the utmost importance to the court’s legitimacy in the eyes of the public. As the Pew Research Center’s analysis has shown, citizens may approve or disapprove of the court depending on some combination of their personal circumstances — education and religious beliefs, for example — and their political persuasion. If we are to maintain a functioning democracy “under law,” however, disapproval cannot spill over into a full-fledged loss of confidence in the court’s legitimacy, for the court “says what the law is,” as Marshall reminds us.

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