Lackland H. Bloom Jr., Do Great Cases Make Bad Law?, Oxford University Press, 2017

Lackland H. Bloom Jr., Do Great Cases Make Bad Law?, Oxford University Press, 2017

  • Lackland H. Bloom, Jr. tests Justice Holmes’ famous aphorism „Great cases like hard cases make bad law”
  • Challenges Holmes opinion that the pivotal cases attracting Supreme Court attention make for poor bases upon which to construct a general law
  • Analyzes in detail the history of the Supreme Court’s great cases, from 1803’s pivotal Marbury v. Madison to 2012’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act case
  • Defines and applies an analytical model for assessing the impact of each case
  • Offers a detailed analysis of the Supreme Court’s opinions in each great case
  • Provides a detailed explanation of the context of each case
  • Unveils detailed and comprehensive conclusions as to how the greatness of a case did or did not affect the presentation, deliberation, decision, and opinion in light of the law created by that case

„Great cases like hard cases make bad law” declared Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in his dissenting opinion in the Northern Securities antitrust case of 1904. His maxim argues that those cases which ascend to the Supreme Court of the United States by virtue of their national importance, interest, or other extreme circumstance, make for poor bases upon which to construct a general law. Frequently, such cases catch the public’s attention because they raise important legal issues, and they become landmark decisions from a doctrinal standpoint. Yet from a practical perspective, great cases could create laws poorly suited for far less publicly tantalizing but far more common situations.

Lackland H. Bloom, Jr. tests Justice Holmes’ dictum in Do Great Cases Make Bad Law? He analyzes in detail the history of the Supreme Court’s great cases, from Marbury v. Madison in 1803, to National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act case in 2012. He treats each case with its own chapter, and explains why the Court found a case compelling, how the background and historical context affected the decision and its place in constitutional law and history, how academic scholarship has treated the case, and how the case integrates with and reflects off of Justice Holmes’ famous statement. In doing so, Professor Bloom draws on the whole of the Supreme Court’s decisional history to form an intricate scholarly understanding of the holistic significance of the Court’s reasoning in American constitutional law.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Marbury v. Madison
2. McCulloch v. Maryland
3. Gibbons v. Ogden
4. Prigg v. Pennsylvania
5. Scott v. Sandford
6. The Legal Tender Cases
7. The Slaughter-House Cases
8. The Civil Rights Cases
9. Pollack v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co.
10. NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp.
11. Dennis v. United States
12. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer
13. Brown v. Board of Education
14. The Reapportionment Cases
15. New York Times v. Sullivan
16. Miranda v. Arizona
17. The Pentagon Papers Case
18. Roe and Casey
19. United States v. Nixon
20. Bakke, Grutter & Gratz (and Fisher)
21. Bush v. Gore
22. National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius
23. Do Great Cases Make Bad Law?
Index

 

Lackland H. Bloom, Jr., Professor of Law, Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law

Lackland H. Bloom, Jr. is a Professor of Law and Larry and Jane Harlan Senior Research Fellow at the Dedman School of Law, Southern Methodist University, where he has taught constitutional law for over thirty years. Professor Bloom previously served as Law Clerk to Chief Judge John R. Brown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and practiced law in Washington D.C. for four years before joining the law faculty at Southern Methodist University. A specialist in constitutional law, he has published numerous articles in the areas of freedom of speech, equal protection of the laws, constitutional interpretation, and the rhetoric of Supreme Court opinions. He served as Administrative Editor of the Michigan Law Review. He is the author of Methods of Interpretation: How the Supreme Court Reads the Constitution (Oxford University Press, 2009).

 

„No matter how familiar these cases are to you, you will find the book stimulating, rich, and perceptive, provoking fresh thoughts about core constitutional issues.” -Louis Fisher, William & Mary Law School, The Federal Lawyer

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