Connecticut State Library with state seal

Spotlight on ...the Law Collection at the CT State Library
Constitution, Courts, and Individual Liberties, row four


Crusaders & Criminals, Victims & Visionaries: Historic Encounters Between Connecticut Citizens and the United States Supreme Court, by David Bollier (Aetna Life and Casualty, 1986)

KF4549 .B63 1986
"In celebration of the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, this book explores 31 major Connecticut cases that have gone to the United States Supreme Court over the past two centuries. It sheds light on some simple but fascinating questions: How does the Constitution affect ordinary people's lives? How does the U.S. Supreme Court make constitutional law? What is the real-life meaning of such constitutional freedoms as the First Ammendment, Fourth Ammendment, Fifth Ammendment, equal protection under the law, and due process of law? Going beyond the official court decisions, Bollier describes the rich human and social dramas that inspired Connecticut's most famous cases. Among the colorful characters: Estelle Griswold, the social reformer who was arrested for dispensing birth control devices to married couples, Arthur Culombe and Joseph Taborsky, the "mad dog killers" who terrorized Connecticut for several weeks in 1958, and Newton Cantwell, the Jehovah's Witness who challenged the state's attempt to ban his door-to-door ministry


Freedom of Speech: Rights and Liberties Under the Law, by Ken I. Kersch (ABC-CLIO, 2003)

KF4772 .K47 2003
"The First Amendment's freedom of speech provision is considered the cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution. Yet this fundamental freedom has continually been reassessed and reshaped, not by landmark Supreme Court rulings alone but also by political power plays, economic crises, times of war, and changing social mores. This volume shows how our most basic right is manifested in the realities of politics and culture as well as the law."


Free Expression in America: A Documentary History, edited by Shelia Suess Kennedy (Greenwood Press, 1999)

KF4770 .F738 1999
"The purpose of this volume is to demonstrate the extraordinary importance of free expression to the American constitutional system and to detail the social and political tensions that have accompanied the decision of the founders of the United States to restrain the government's authority over the communication of ideas. This country's founders built upon the philosophy of the Enlightenment to create a nation where individual rights would enjoy unprecedented protection. Central to their notion of liberty was a belief that the free exchange of ideas is the bedrock upon which all other freedoms depend. Taken as a whole, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is nothing less than a celebration of the value of intellectual and moral autonomy. The documents chosen for this volume are a reflection of the ongoing conflict between individual liberty and the passions of the majority, as played out in the context of the First Amendment. While it would be impossible to discuss that conflict without frequent reference to court decisions, an effort has been made to include other contemporaneous materials - magazine articles, newspaper coverage, statutes, and treatises - that reflect popular opinion and provide a context for the legal battles."


The Implosion of American Federalism, by Robert F. Nagel (Oxford University Press, 2001)

KF4600 .N34 2001
Do you believe that our nationhood is fragile and precarious? "Robert Nagel proposes a surprising answer: that anxiety about national unity is caused by centralization itself. Carefully examining recent landmark Supreme Court cases that protect states' rights, Nagel Argues that the federal judiciary is not leading and is not likely to lead a revival of the complex system called federalism. A robust version of federalism requires appreciation for political conflict and respect for disagreement about constitutional meaning - both values, Nagel contends, that are deeply antithetical to the Court's function. Instead of a support for federalism. Nagel finds a commitment to radical nationalism throughout the constitutional law establishment."


Encyclopedia of the American Constitution (6 vol. set), edited by Leonard W. Levy and Kenneth L. Karst (Macmillan Reference USA, 2000)

KF4548 .E53 2000
The editors state: "In the final analysis, today's Constitution is the product of the whole political system and the whole history of the many peoples who have become one nation. Thus an Encyclopedia of the American Constitution would be incomplete if it did not seek to bridge the disciplines of history, law, and political science. Both in identifying subjects and in selecting authors we have sought to build those bridges. The subjects fall into five general categories: doctrinal concepts of constitutional law (about fifty-five percent of the total words); people (about fifteen percent); judicial decisions, mostly of the Supreme Court of the United States (about fifteen percent); public acts, such as statutes, treaties, and executive orders (about five percent); and historical periods (about ten percent). The articles vary in length, from brief descriptions of terms to treatments of major subjects of constitutional doctrine, which may be as long as 6,000 words."