A People's History of the Supreme Court: The Men and Women by Peter Irons

By Peter Irons

Recent alterations within the best courtroom have put the venerable establishment on the leading edge of present affairs, making this finished and fascinating paintings as well timed as ever. within the culture of Howard Zinn's vintage A People's background of the United States, Peter Irons chronicles the choices that experience prompted almost each point of our society, from the debates over judicial strength to debatable rulings some time past concerning slavery, racial segregation, and abortion, in addition to extra present instances approximately institution prayer, the Bush/Gore election effects, and "enemy combatants."   A accomplished historical past of the folk and situations that experience replaced background, this can be the definitive account of the nation's optimum court.

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Extra info for A People's History of the Supreme Court: The Men and Women Whose Cases and Decisions Have Shaped Our Constitution (Revised Edition)

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As government lost its monolithic structure, becoming a composite within which separate departments and offices dealt with particular topics, jurisdiction over law-making became widely diffused. Who, or what bureau, would have jurisdiction and responsibility for laws over private property rights was something of a mystery. The same is true for oversight of the Crown and public lands, including colonial holdings. In the early nineteenth century the Royal Navy was known to keep its eye on cutting rights in colonial forests 18 Concepts in Resource Property Rights (see Chapter 11) but it is very unlikely that a typical mid-century British official was well-informed about the rights and rules governing the colonies’ gold rushes (Chapter 6), or their fisheries (Chapter 4).

In all these arrangements, the participants hold some individual property (vessels, oil wells, irrigation systems), some shared ownership of the rest of the common pool and a right to participate in group decisions. All of them lack the individual exclusivity that would enable them to survive without government charters or legislation. I discuss their possibilities in several chapters below, notably in my discussions of the fisheries and private multiple-use forests. In the preceding discussion, I have implicitly argued that governments, exposed to pressure groups, have been fairly active in improvising tenures and management schemes for users of what, in the absence of government intervention to limit access, would be common property.

But they were unusual. Historically, the courts were more likely to be found enforcing and protecting widespread public liberties of open access. In general, they stood against the evolution of sole ownership powers or management for common pool resources. When Victorian governments began to intervene their aim was to respond to demanders by halting the decline of output and the increase in resource waste, often with the assistance of technical experts (a relatively recent luxury). Two main types of solutions to the supply problem emerged, with a third alternative occasionally invoked.

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