Book details

Supreme Decisions, Volume 1

Great Constitutional Cases and Their Impact, Volume One: To 1896

By Melvin I. Urofsky

About the Book

Supreme Decisions: Great Constitutional Cases and Their Impact, Volumes 1 and 2, covers twenty-four Supreme Court cases (twelve per volume) that have shaped American constitutional law. Interpretive chapters shed light on the nuances of each case, the individuals involved, and the social, political, and cultural context at that particular moment in history. Discussing cases from nearly every decade in a two-hundred-year span, Melvin I. Urofsky expounds on the political climate of the United States from the country's infancy through the new millennium. Featuring Marbury v. Madison, Dred Scott v. Sandford, Miranda v. Arizona, Brown v. Board of Education, and many more, this text covers foundational rulings and more recent decisions. Written with students in mind, Melvin I. Urofsky's voice offers compelling and fascinating accounts of American legal milestones.

Supreme Decisions can be purchased as a single combined volume or conveniently split into two volumes, providing a breadth of information for survey courses in U.S. Constitutional History.

About the Author

Melvin I. Urofsky is professor emeritus of history at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning Louis D. Brandeis: A Life.


“This is a terrific book. It succeeds in placing each case in historical perspective and in bringing to life the individuals who were involved. Urofsky is thoughtful, fair-minded, and balanced, and yet does not hesitate to offer his own judgment about the cases and the decisions. Superbly well done.”
Richard Polenberg, Cornell University

“The writing is very accessible and Urofsky shows that real people with often complex histories are involved in Supreme Court cases.”
John E. Semonche, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

“[Urofsky's] engaging narrative highlights details about the cases that are often overlooked [and] … his unique analysis integrates historical fact, political assessment, and legal reasoning in a way that should inform and fascinate court novices as well as veteran constitutional scholars. …Perhaps most importantly, Urofsky's discussion explains the impact of the Court's decisions on the litigants and lawyers, the political and legal systems, and the culture and nation at large. …Highly recommended.”