PROPHETS WITH HONOR: Great Dissents and Great Dissenters on the Supreme Court by Alan Barth

PROPHETS WITH HONOR: Great Dissents and Great Dissenters on the Supreme Court

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Barth argues that dissenting and concurring judicial opinions ""embody, at times, passages of great force, eloquence, and ardor. Now and then they rise to the level of literature, offering some of the most pungent polemical writing ever produced in America."" Organizing his presentation around six issues of individual liberties -- civil rights, wiretaps, the right to counsel, freedom of religion, one man one vote, and freedom of speech -- Barth substantiates his claim with excerpts from and commentaries on the opinions of such Supreme Court jurists as Marshall, Harlan, Brandeis, Douglas, Black and Warren. Each issue is introduced by a dissent which later proves prophetic. Barth pursues the cases through the judiciary until the Supreme Court overturns its original opinion. The author is unabashedly enthusiastic about the Warren Court, and his dogged examination makes a powerful and eloquent case for ""judicial activism"" (a ""plastic and creative"" interpretation of the Constitution), but he does not shy away from the sometimes persuasive tenets of ""judicial restraint,"" exemplified by the opinions of Frankfurter. Prophets With Honor is a full-fledged course in the meaning and evolution of the Bill of Rights.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1974
Publisher: Knopf