Does anyone know of a good book that contains the text of the most important Supreme Court decisions? By “important” I mean decisions that had a profound effect on American society, like Dred Scott, Brown v. Board of Eduction, Roe v. Wade, etc. I would really love to have all of these collected in one place.
Other than the court reporters? I dunno of any but you can search online here.
The keyword you should be searching for is not “important” but “landmark”. Information on landmark Supreme Court cases have been published in many books, some more recently.
You could buy a ConLaw textbook. A lot of decisions will be edited, but if the book is any good, not the important parts.
By the way, you can find text of all the Court’s decisions online in several places such as Cornell’s law school website and findlaw.com.
This is a great site, but note that the decisions only go back to 1893, so cases like Marbury v. Madison and Dred Scott v. Sandford will not be there.
To find more stuff online, you can just try Googling each particular case. For example, a search for Dred Scott produced this website, which has the Court’s opinion, written by Roger Taney, as well as copies of the concurring and dissenting opinions.
Or you could try this site:
Landmark Cases, which offers links to the full text of the opinions for most of the cases on the site.
As for a book, i don’t know of one that simply gives the texts. If, however, you want a history book about these landmark cases, you could do worse than A People’s History of the Supreme Court, by Peter Irons.
I was going to suggest a ConLaw textbook as well; if you live anywhere near a law school campus, check out nearby bookstores for used copies. A ConLaw text won’t have a lot of the important decisions pertaining to criminal law (e.g. Miranda), so you’d also need a Constituional CrimPro textbook (criminal procedure).
I took an undergraduate course titled “History of the Supreme Court” and the text book was <u>American Constitutional Law, Volume 1: Constitutional Structures, Separated Powers and Federalism</u> by Louis Fisher. Great book. Covers the beginnings of the Supreme Court, and lists every landmark case from Marbury v. Madison (1803) to the present time (there is at least 75 cases covered throughout the whole book). It also comes with background history of each case, and quotes the Supreme Court’s opinions on as well as the dissenting opinions. Very easy read for non-law school students.
It depends on what level you want to read these cases. If you want them at a higher level, written for a lawyer, then the used ConLaw book is the way to go. If you want something more accessible, Facts On File’s Landmark Supreme Court Cases would be a good (if pricey) choice.