Books for the News

The Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings and the Role of the Supreme Court

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Today in Washington, confirmation hearings begin for Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s choice to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic justice—and only the third female—to sit on the high court’s bench. Despite some conservative outcry over remarks Sotomayor made regarding the wisdom of Latina judges (“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life”), she is widely believed to be confirmed, barring any unforeseen revelations.
As the court readies to welcome its 111th justice, a refresher on the history of the institution is in order. That’s where Robert G. McCloskey’s The American Supreme Court comes in handy. The best and most concise account of the Supreme Court and its place in American politics, McCloskey’s wonderfully readable book is an essential guide to its past, present, and future prospects of this institution. Revised here in a fourth edition, The American Supreme Court address the Court’s most recent decisions, including its controversial ruling in Bush v. Gore and its expansion of sexual privacy in Lawrence v. Texas.
First published more than forty years ago, McCloskey’s classic work on the Supreme Court’s role in constructing the U.S. Constitution has introduced generations of students to the workings of our nation’s highest court. As the Sotomayor hearings get underway, it remains an essential reference for anyone hoping to understand the purpose, scope, and promise of America’s highest court.
Be sure also to check out all of our titles on the Supreme Court and the Constitution.