I don't know what is covered these days in grade, highschool, and engineering schools related to judicial review, but I managed to get through the above about 50 years ago and remain nearly clueless of the significance of US Supreme Court decisions as they related to the meaning and applications of our US Constitution.
Then I got into USD and Doc Farber's Constitutional Principles courses.and that brings me to a kind of cursory initial review of a new book by USD Professor Donald C. Dahlin. His recent book is WE THE PEOPLE. The subtitle is "A brief introduction to the Constitution and Its interpretation" The book is introductory, but aimed both at showing how to brief cases and also stressing the importance of all WE PEOPLE to understand how the US Constitution is not simply a black and white product of our US founders. It is also a product of our US Supreme Court and the impact of modern social and scientific reality.
We the people can use Dahlin's little book (186 pages) to get both a how-to on cookbook case briefing but also Dahlin's sample briefing of the "Top Ten Cases". These cases reveal how landmark decisions interpret constitutional language over a range of issues delineating the powers of government and the limitations on those powers. A copy of the US Constitution is also included in the book.
The "Top Ten Cases" are much more important to all of us than are any or all of the Dave Letterman Top Ten lists.
Click on image for a larger version.
If the names and implications of these cases are not already familiar to you, you may want to buy Dahlin's book or a similar textbook and inform yourself. That bit of study on your part may put you political lightyears ahead of much of the US population (unfortunately including many legislators and media commentators).
The same kind of process Dahlin presents for case briefing and analysis can be somewhat applied to analysis and categorizing all kinds of other concepts, issues and events.
BUT, If the book gets into a second edition, I have a few suggestions. The book needs more varied type sizes and faces to make finding varying information, chapters, sections, etc easier to find rapidly. Also, in the case of the paperback, larger type would be a benefit to those of us with older eyes.
AND, court case production and briefing are processes.. As processes, Dahlin could add something like the flow charts of engineers and software programmers to make the legal and briefing processes he describes and discusses more obvious to those totally unfamiliar with the processes.
The paperback version of Dahlin's book is available from Amazon for around $20.; Search Amazon for " Donald C. Dahlin We the People " . Simply searching for "We the people" will not work well as a search;
I may take a shot at using Dahlin's process for briefing on a case like Bush v. Gore in a future post here.It is not in Dahlin's Top 10.
I think you will find Dahlin's book interesting, informative, and useful; but, a disclaimer. I was a student of Don Dahlin's at USD when he was nearly fresh out of graduate school in California. I liked him then as both a person and as an instructor. He has been doing something right at USD and in South Dakota for the last 40 years or so and I think his book shows some of that.
*** Stay tuned even if I should leave book reviews to the Prairie Progressive--- Doug Wiken