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Shaping America
The Supreme Court and American Society

Edward F. Mannino

An in-depth examination of the cultural context inherent in Court rulings

Shaping America offers a compelling survey of American history as viewed through the perspective of the United States Supreme Court, concentrating on how the Court's decisions have shaped American society and how the Court in turn has been affected by prevailing political cultures, strong public attitudes, and several dominating justices.

Edward F. Mannino, a practicing trial lawyer and legal historian, analyzes the historical forces that permitted the Court to affect American society profoundly through some 150 decisions organized along chronological and thematic lines. Casting his gaze across the nation's past, he surveys seminal cases in American constitutional history, including Marbury v. Madison, the New Orleans Slaughterhouse Cases, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Boumediene v. Bush, and D.C. v. Heller. Mannino takes special interest in cases respecting business and religion in American society and offers concise and objective perspectives on decisions affecting them. Throughout the volume Mannino illustrates the mutual influence the Court and societal forces have on each other, ably demonstrating how Court deliberations affect—and are affected by—the context in which they occur.

Mannino integrates historical and legal subjects into a single comprehensive exploration of the Supreme Court's evolving role in shaping American society from the earliest days of the eighteenth century through the present. The result is a useful single-volume study of defining issues in American legal history.

Edward F. Mannino is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and its law school. A trial lawyer concentrating on business litigation, he has been named one of the nation's top litigators by the National Law Journal. Mannino has taught at Temple University Law School and the University of Pennsylvania and is the author of three books on legal topics. He lives in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania.

"In this superb volume of legal history by a top trial lawyer turned historian, Ed Mannino reviews the full breadth of the Supreme Court's impact on American society, and vice versa. He covers the Court's major decisions and many less well-known cases as well, setting each one in its social and historical context. The reader is given a strong sense of the dynamic course on which our highest court has guided American law. From the pre-Civil War period through the New Deal and into modern times, Mannino explains the politics, economics, personalities, and ideas that have shaped the Supreme Court's jurisprudence. I particularly appreciated the author's focus on the evolving interactions between government and business. Altogether, it is a masterful survey by a dean of the American bar. I rate it a must-read for any student of the law and history."—Jerold S. Solovy, chairman emeritus, Jenner & Block LLP, and trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society

"In Shaping America: The Supreme Court and American Society, Edward F.Mannino, an able lawyer and an equally able student of legal history, has accomplished a feat that few American lawyers and not a great many American historians would be capable of: He has bridged law and history to present a clear account of the crucial institutional role the Supreme Court has, for two centuries, played in our country's growth and change."—Louis H. Pollak, adjunct professor and former dean, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and former dean, Yale Law School



book jacket for Shaping America


6 x 9
328 pages
ISBN 978-1-57003-857-0
hardcover, $44.95s
Download Chapter One

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