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The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States Second Edition Edited by Kermit L. Hall Oxford University Press/$65 The second edition of “The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States” is a massive work. It is 1,239 pages long and weighs almost 5 pounds. While certainly not light reading, it is an extremely detailed and valuable one-volume compilation of articles organized in a highly utilitarian manner. The scope of coverage includes the Supreme Court’s prominent figures, history, jurisprudence and structure. Editor in Chief Kermit Hall, president and professor of history at the State University of New York at Albany, and editors James W. Ely, professor of history and law at Vanderbilt University, and Joel B. Grossman, professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University, managed a group of approximately 300 contributing authors. Many of the contributors have special expertise relating to their submitted pieces. The list of contributors reads like a veritable Who’s Who list of law school and political science faculty from across the nation. The broad scope of the group of staff contributors parallels the depth of coverage in this second edition of the well-reviewed, one-volume reference encyclopedia that was first published in 1992. This newly revised version contains more than 1,200 entries, 66 new articles and a comprehensive, cross-referenced index. Numerous articles have been updated to reflect the changes in constitutional law since the title’s first printing. Articles range from those dealing with the nuances of various legal concepts such as strict scrutiny or due process to pieces relating the Supreme Court’s role in the outcome of the presidential election of 2000 and controversial nominations to the Supreme Court. Biographical profiles of all justices who have served on the Supreme Court as of the book’s printing are included. There are articles on Internet access to the Supreme Court and the history of its library. Seminal cases from the Supreme Court body of decisions are analyzed for both their content and their place in the historical stream of case law emanating from the Supreme Court. Hundreds of case analyses are present in this work. An example of the treatment given a key case is the 1978 case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, which dealt with affirmative action programs. Here, Timothy O’Neil, author of “Bakke and the Politics of Equality,” writes a concise 10-paragraph analysis of the Bakke decision. O’Neil provides a factual summary underlying the case as well as a detailed examination of the justices’ opinions and voting blocs. O’Neil also places the case in perspective by relating it to the 2003 Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger, which reaffirmed the core principles of Justice Lewis Powell’s majority Bakke decision and thereby allowed a flexible, race-based admissions program focusing on diversity, which was used at the University of Michigan’s law school. This volume contains several appendices, including charts detailing the flow of nominations and successions on the Supreme Court as well as a copy of the Constitution. The trivia and traditions section may be of great interest to Supreme Court history buffs. Some interesting pieces of compiled trivia include: the first black Supreme Court bar member was John Rock who was admitted Feb. 5, 1865; the first Jewish Supreme Court justice was Louis Brandeis; the first female law clerk was Lucile Loman, who clerked for Justice William Douglas from Oct. 22, 1944 through Sept. 30, 1945; the youngest Supreme Court justice was Joseph Story who was appointed at age 32; the original number of justices on the Supreme Court was six; Oliver Wendell Holmes, at age 90, was the oldest justice to serve on the Supreme Court; the first session of the Supreme Court was in New York City on Feb. 2, 1790. The timing of this volume’s publication is certainly not trivial but both relevant and somewhat unfortunate. This is due to the great deal of activity and attention focused on the Supreme Court caused by the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist and the resignation of Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. It is a truism that Chief Justice John Roberts and O’Connor’s replacement will profoundly affect the composition of the Supreme Court. However, due to the timing of this book’s publication, the new members are not included in the present version of this volume. They will have to wait for coverage in the book’s next edition. This criticism aside, it is abundantly clear that the “Oxford Companion to the United States Supreme Court” is a highly relevant and exceptionally content-rich study of the Supreme Court. It is a reference work that will enhance and add value to a collection. Many students in law school currently taking or soon to confront constitutional law would find this book of great assistance in dealing with course material. This book justly deserves a place in libraries, the shelves of attorneys and the private collections of readers interested in the function and history of the court. Theodore Pollack is a senior law librarian and attorney employed by the New York Supreme Court in the New York County Public Access Law Library. This article was originally published in the New York Law Journal, a Recorder affiliate.

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