Sunday, September 23, 2007

First Monday in October - some assigned readings

Note, this is an updated and more extensive list than the one I originally posted on

As everybody who took my steet law class knows (or should remember) the "First Monday in October" is when each yearly session of the Supreme Court of the United States starts. As that date is almost upon us, the old history teacher has some assigned reading (optional, of course - but the content will be on the test!) regarding our nation's highest court:

"The Dissenter" New York Times Article written by Jeffrey Rosen on the court's oldest justice John Paul Stevens.

"The Brethren" First published in the 1970's, still an excellent look at the inner workings of the court, and a good history lesson behind current issues still in the news, such as abortion and executive priviledge. Written by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong.

"The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries That Defined America" As the title says, this is a history that shows how the personalities and relationships between justices has had an effect on law (and therefore our lives) since the founding days of the court. Written by Jeffrey Rosen, along with Thirteen/WNET.

"The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court" A look at the court and the men and women who have served on it over the past two decades. Written by Jeffrey Toobin.

"The Supremes' Greatest Hits: The 34 Supreme Court Cases That Most Directly Affect Your Life" A quick study of some of the major decisions of the court their practical relevance to you and me. Written by Michael G. Trachtman.

"A People's History of the Supreme Court: The Men and Women Whose Cases and Decisions Have Shaped Our Constitution (Revised Edition)" Written by Peter Irons. A populist look at how the court has dealt with the rights of minorities over its history.

"The Courage of Their Convictions: Sixteen Americans Who Fought Their Way to the Supreme Court" Also by Irons, a look at some individual court cases and the real life people behind the events that led to the SC's decisions.

"Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court" This book covers the Harriet Miers nomination and subsequent nomination and confirmation of Samuel Alito and the resulting changes for the Supreme Court. A very good book (as are all of the above) written by Jan Crawford Greenburg.

I could go on, but I'll stop here for now, though I'll probably have another list later in October. If you're not a reader (for heaven's sake, why not???!!) then you might at least want to rent a good little movie called "First Monday in October" and watch it. It gives a humorous look at court, but it came out in 1981 and basically predicted Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's elevation to the court (and it wasn't too far off on how her views subtly changed over time once she got on the court either). At any rate, a good movie, but try to read one of the books if you can. For those who are financially impaired like myself, try the local library, although I'm sure the authors would appreciate your buying a copy.

Best wishes, later,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Upset no. 3!!! Go Duke football! Duke 20 Northwestern 14 !!!

Being as how I always root for the underdog ( I once had a statue of Saint Jude, patron saint for lost causes on my desk) I've been quietly rooting for the Duke Blue Devils football team and their head coach Ted Roof to get a win or two under their belt. I was impressed with Roof back when he was with Georgia Tech.
When I woke up this morning scanning the college football scores on line, there it was!! Duke 20, Northwestern 14! Way to go Blue Devils!!! The only thing that could have made this weekend better would have been if Arkansas had beaten Lou Saban...oh, well, I guess you can't have everything.
Seriously, congratulations to Coach Roof and the football Blue Devils.

Go Wildcats!!! Upset no. 2 - Kentucky 40, 9th ranked Louisville 34

Another college team I'm following and supporting this year is the Kentucky Wildcats. I've actually been a closet Wildcats football fan ever since the time years ago when my hometown guy Bill Curry was their head coach and his wife was a history teacher at the school. I've liked present coach Rich Brooks ever since the days when he was with the Atlanta Falcons, and there's the personal connection as well. One of the defensive backs is the son of a good friend who used to work at my school with me.
Anyway, it was great to see the Wildcats beat 9th ranked Louisville in a barn burner last night 40 - 34. Way to go Kentucky Wildcats!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Go Bulldogs!!! (of the Mississippi State variety)

One of the collegiate football teams that I'm rooting for this year is Mississippi State. Two reasons, first I'm a big fan of Bulldog Head Coach Sylvester Crooms, whom I think is a real class act. Second, one of the defensive linemen for the team is the son of one of my best friends, a lady who teaches at my school. She's also a class act, as is her family.

Anyway, Mississippi State beat Auburn (at Auburn!) today 19-14 for their second win in a row. Here's a link:

Mississippi State 19, Auburn 14

Go Bulldogs! Of the Mississippi State variety, that is