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For thirty years, Linda Greenhouse, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction, chronicled the activities of the justices as the Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times. In this concise volume, she draws on her deep knowledge of the court's history as well as of its written and unwritten rules to show the reader how the Supreme Court really works.
No mere work of civics, this is an institutional biography of a place and its people - men and women who exercise great power but whose names and faces are unrecognized by many Americans and whose work often appears cloaked in mystery.
How do cases get to the Supreme Court? How do the justices go about deciding them? What special role does the chief justice play? What do the law clerks do? How does the court relate to the other branches of government? Greenhouse answers these questions by depicting the justices as they confront deep constitutional issues or wrestle with the meaning of confusing federal statutes.
The Supreme Court today, housed in a majestic building on Capitol Hill, with more than 400 employees, bears little resemblance to the ill-defined institution the Constitution's Framers launched with the expectation that it would be the weakest, "least dangerous," of the three branches. The court put to use the independence the Framers gave it, and in many ways has continued to define itself. This book is the court's story.