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First Among Equals

The Supreme Court in American Life


Kenneth W. Starr (View Bio)
Hardcover: Warner Books, 2002; Paperback: Warner Books, 2003.

First Among Equals

Few Americans realize that the decisions of the Supreme Court play an extremely important role in their daily lives. In this book, Ken Starr explains the workings of the Court and how its shifts in judicial philosophy affect the nation. He describes the change in the Court during the past thirty years from judicial activism to restraint, from politician-judges to lawyer-judges, and he focuses on the fundamental and decisive importance of who serves on the Court.

"Written in a clear, nontechnical style accessible to a wide readership." — Publishers Weekly

"Wise...discerning...engaging.... An insider's view of the Supreme Court [from] an intimate of the Constitution and the judicial process." — The New York Times Book Review

"Starr's assessment is worth reading — especially at a time when the court is gearing up for possible pronouncements on not only affirmative action but campaign finance reform and the Bush administration's war on terrorism. The Supreme Court's enduring centrality explains why liberal and conservative activists are fighting so fiercely over lower-court nominations now, and planning for even bloodier combat over President Bush's first nomination to the high court." — Washington Post Book World

"Extraordinary...thoughtful...provocative.... Adept...persuasive...informative, insightful, and a valuable addition to Supreme Court literature." — Baltimore Sun

"Excellent...informative...perceptive, focused...thoughtful." — Library Journal

"Engaging, thoughtful, believeable." — BusinessWeek

"Eminently readable and informative....I can say that this is not just the best treatment of the Court after Warren, but that it is likely to have that distinction for a long, long time." — Judge David B. Sentelle, United States Circuit Judge

"Colorful...part memoir, part layman's law book and part scholarly analysis...surveys the Court's positions on affirmative action, suspects' rights, and other hot topics." — Philadelphia Inquirer

"An engaging, informative, and easily accessible analysis of one of the most important topics of our time." — Robert H. Bork

"A worthwhile read. Starr is brainy and insightful, and his analysis of constitutional doctrine, from free speech to criminal rights, is trenchant and accessible." — Slate

"[Starr] should be praised for offering a shrewd and accessible analysis of some of the toughest problems that come before the Supreme Court — as befits a man who deserves much credit for his many services to our public life. This book also reveals a first-rate legal mind, one that has a real knack for taking apart complex issues and reducing them to their essentials.... A thoughtful consdervative who seeks to reconcile multiple projects; his strong endorsement of the constitutional norms of liberty and equality; his general acceptance of the doctrine of judicial restraint; and his Burkean conviction that gradual changes through the political process are far preferable to such abrupt judicial revolutions as those wrought by Roe v. Wade (1973) on abortion and Miranda v. Arizona (1966) on criminal confessions." — Richard A. Epstein, National Review

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