BLUE JEANS AND BLACK ROBES: Teenagers and the Supreme Court by Peter Sgroi

BLUE JEANS AND BLACK ROBES: Teenagers and the Supreme Court

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In an opening chapter titled ""Poor Willie!"" Sgroi launches into Francis v. Resweber, a case that does not reverberate with obvious implications and one from which Sgroi draws no significance--and, further, a case that was lost by poor Willie! What's more, Sgroi interrupts his unilluminating review of the case with information on how Supreme Court justices are selected, when and where they meet, and other loosely related items. It's an unpromising beginning, and later chapters on such school-related issues as symbolic speech (the Tinker case which established that ""students are people""), integration (Brown v. the Board of Education), the flag salute, prayer, suspension without due process, and prayer in the schools are as unincisively handled. Sgroi's pointless and unconvincing fictionalized frames are no substitute for the truly issue-oriented excitement that Leonard Stevens generates with some of the same stories. Other cases relating to the special nature of juvenile hearings (e.g., ""are jury trials necessary?"") bog down in what kids will see as trivial human interest on the one hand and dull technicalities on the other--again because Sgroi doesn't know how to make the issues interesting. Quotes from Justice Douglas seem to inspire Sgroi to more genuine eloquence for the last few of these 20 case reviews, but readers have to start from the bottom to get there. More seriously, the various issues at stake and Sgroi's umbrella theme of ""teenage"" rights are not, as he presents them, mutually illuminating.

Pub Date: April 9th, 1979
Publisher: Messner