For well over a year during my weekly library visits, I kept noticing Michael G. Trachtman’s The Supremes’ Greatest Hits: The 37 Supreme Court Decisions That Most Affect Your Life. Each time I saw it I briefly entertained the notion of taking it home with me. Last weekend while visiting the library, my curiosity got the better of me and I finally grabbed it. After finishing this relatively brief but informative book late last night I’m glad I yielded to temptation last weekend and snagged it. Trachtman does a fine job showing not just which 37 Supreme Court decisions most affect Americans’ daily lives but how they do and why. Plus, it’s fun to read.
For those of you like myself who aren’t lawyers or legal scholars, when choosing an introductory book on the American Supreme Court one would probably select a book that isn’t just some dry collection of landmark legal decisions, all discussed in some arcane legal-speak. Thankfully, Trachtman’s book is anything but that kind of book. Well-written using accessible language, (and a dash of clever humor), Trachtman’s book is arranged thematically, with each chapter devoted to a particular over-riding concern such as free speech, personal freedom, property rights and privacy. In his book Trachtman succinctly explains not only how these 37 landmark Court decisions came to be, but how they’ve gone on to shape the lives of every citizen and resident of the United States.
As I’m fond of saying over and over, good writing makes me want to read more: more from the same author or more of the same subject matter. Toobin’s The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, Woodward and Armstrong’s The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court and Gunther’s Learned Hand: The Man and the Judge have all been on my To Read list for far too long and after reading Trachtman’s The Supremes’ Greatest Hits, I’m definitely inspired to finally read them. And that’s what good writing should do-inspire you.