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Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution | [Laurence Tribe, Joshua Matz]

Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution

From Citizens United to its momentous rulings regarding Obamacare and gay marriage, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has profoundly affected American life. Yet the court remains a mysterious institution, and the motivations of the nine men and women who serve for life are often obscure. Now, in Uncertain Justice, Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz show the surprising extent to which the Roberts Court is revising the meaning of our Constitution.
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Publisher's Summary

With the Supreme Court more influential than ever, this eye-opening book tells the story of how the Roberts Court is shaking the foundation of our nation's laws.

From Citizens United to its momentous rulings regarding Obamacare and gay marriage, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has profoundly affected American life. Yet the court remains a mysterious institution, and the motivations of the nine men and women who serve for life are often obscure. Now, in Uncertain Justice, Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz show the surprising extent to which the Roberts Court is revising the meaning of our Constitution.

This essential book arrives at a make-or-break moment for the nation and the court. Political gridlock, cultural change, and technological progress mean that the court's decisions on key topics - including free speech, privacy, voting rights, and presidential power - could be uniquely durable. Acutely aware of their opportunity, the justices are rewriting critical aspects of constitutional law and redrawing the ground rules of American government. Tribe - one of the country's leading constitutional lawyers - and Matz dig deeply into the court's recent rulings, stepping beyond tired debates over judicial "activism" to draw out hidden meanings and silent battles. The undercurrents they reveal suggest a strikingly different vision for the future of our country, one that is sure to be hotly debated.

Filled with original insights and compelling human stories, Uncertain Justice illuminates the most colorful story of all - how the Supreme Court and the Constitution frame the way we live.

©2014 Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz (P)2014 Macmillan Audio

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  •  
    Paul Krasner 10-09-14 Member Since 2015

    I like books that have interesting characters and easy to follow plots. For example, Cormoran Strike, is a great character for me.

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    "Excellent look at how the Supreme Court works"
    Where does Uncertain Justice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 100


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Uncertain Justice?

    Seeing how Judge Scalia acted when he didn't get his way


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Too many to list


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Supreme Court Wrestling


    Any additional comments?

    This book changed my understanding of the many issues with which the Supreme Court has to deal. The authors took no sides and clearly explicated the real issues of many landmark modern cases. What we get from the news regarding these cases is the equivalent of using one camera snapshot of a football game to evaluate who should have won. The book convinced me that the appointment of Clarence Thomas was one of the single most tragic mistakes in our Country's history. If a person is interested in understanding the reasoning behind some of the most impactful cases in our history, listen to this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PHIL San Diego, CA, United States 10-06-14
    PHIL San Diego, CA, United States 10-06-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Thoughtful, yet very listenable"

    This is my favorite Supreme Court book of several seen over the years. I have the utmost respect for the authors' careful exploration of many facets of issues of great importance. Those with pre-set knee-jerk views might be disappointed here or there, but I'll warrant they'll emerge the better for it. I found my own views challenged in the best possible ways.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-14-14
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-14-14 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "An unbias view of the Court"

    The Supreme Court will soon complete the ninth term with Roberts as Chief Justice. The Robert Court has matured enough after more than 600 decisions to merit significant attention. In “Uncertain Justice” Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe and his former law student Joshua Matz find much to Analyze. Joshua Matz was law clerk in 2012 to Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York. In 2013-2014 he is clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the ninth circuit court of appeals. I believe he may be a person to watch.

    The strength of the book is its painstaking explanation of all sides of the critical cases, giving full voice and weight to conservative and liberal views alike. The book is well-written and highly readable. It provides background, context and insight on important constitutional issues. On most issues, though, the right-leaning justices seem perfectly in agreement as to where they are going, even if they differ on the route. Antonin Scalia has been on the court long enough to see many of his dissents become law. He no doubt takes satisfaction in the sweep and success of the Roberts courts deregulatory campaign. The book covers key cases such as Citizens United, Heller (2nd Amendment gun) marriage act, health care, voter’s rights, affirmative action, and civil rights.

    The authors address the legal, philosophical and political motivation, and they document the general direction taking shape, as one that tends to reverse laws in many areas established since the New Deal. The Supreme Court can frame the way we live. The authors want readers to see at least two kind of uncertainty. One is the uncertain outcome of major issues still to come before the court; the other is the uncertain impact of certain decisions already rendered. But there is one facet of Roberts’s court where Tribe and Matz find real clarity, the shrinking unavailability of judicial relief.

    One of my goals this year was to read about the Supreme Court so I could have a better understanding of its role and influence. I also read biographies of justices to learn about the justices past and present and how they became a Supreme Court Justice. The year is half completed and from my reading I have come to appreciate the complexity of the Court and the critical role it has on our life. I also have come to appreciate the importance of the lower court judges. You can be assured that from now on I am going to be extremely careful in the local judges I vote for. I started the year with curiosity about the Court now I am truly fascinated with the subject. Holter Graham did an excellent job narrating the book.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus Brasília, Brazil 05-23-15
    Marcus Brasília, Brazil 05-23-15 Member Since 2010

    mvrb

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    "Constitutional Law"

    The US Supreme Court decisions give us the meaning of constitutional rights found in the US Constitution. Its precedents set the constitucional law, pointing the way in with lower courts should decide a vast array of cases. The book examined the Roberts Court, referring to the decisions adopted until the 2013/2014 term. Gender equality, the right to privacy, States and Union rights, campaign finances are some of the points explored. When two constitucional values collide in a judicial case, the final decision is unpredictable. The outcome is uncertain but, as long as different points of view are considered and one history and tradition are concerned, justice is served.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Daneel NY 05-19-15
    R. Daneel NY 05-19-15 Member Since 2011

    good gov't guy

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    "Worth a listen for fans of judicial non-fiction"
    What did you love best about Uncertain Justice?

    Provides insight into some of the more interesting vote combinations on the current Roberts Court. Enlightening with respect to the judicial philosophy that each justice holds and how it evolves as they sit on the court and confront a rapidly changing world.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Uncertain Justice?

    The discussion of privacy rights and how the justices are impacted by empathy vs sympathy when reviewing cases.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Roberts Rules of Order in a chaotic world.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like this subject matter then put Scorpions by Noah Feldman at the top of your read next list. A truly compelling non-fiction book about a very difficult time in the history of the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 06-10-14
    Michael 06-10-14
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    "Skip this Editorial"

    Although this is claimed to be a review of the decisions and Justices of the Robert's Court, it is the authors' editorials. The readers inflections at what he wanted to emphasis is an annoying distraction. This is one to miss.

    4 of 17 people found this review helpful

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