Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Professor Releases `Greatest Hits' of Supreme Court Justices

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Professor Releases `Greatest Hits' of Supreme Court Justices

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supremes have a new greatest-hits collection, but don't expect to hear Diana Ross.

The featured vocalists are Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the late Justice William J. Brennan and other current and past members of the nation's highest court.

The Supreme Court's Greatest Hits is a CD-ROM compiled by a Northwestern University political science professor, with recordings of oral arguments in 50 major cases dating back to 1957, plus texts of the court's opinions and graphics showing how the justices voted.

Anyone with a computer and the proper software can hear:

*The late Justice Felix Frankfurter sparring with a lawyer in an obscenity case.

* Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski arguing for release of the Nixon tapes.

* Justice John Paul Stevens' announcement of the court's unanimous 1997 decision that let Paula Jones immediately pursue her sex- harassment case against President Clinton.

And then there was the joke that went as flat as a pancake during the argument in the 1973 Roe vs. Wade abortion-rights case.

After Sarah Weddington finished arguing and took her seat beside co-counsel Linda N. Coffee, assistant Texas attorney general Jay Floyd took the podium and said, "It's an old joke, but when a man argues against two beautiful ladies like this, they're going to have the last word."

He was met with dead silence.

"That's the power of the audio," says Jerry Goldman, the Northwestern political science professor who compiled the CD-ROM using Supreme Court audiotapes available through the National Archives. The court was not involved in the project.

"I wanted it to be easy to use," Goldman said. "I wanted it to be accessible, authoritative, and if I could make it engaging, great."

Users of the CD-ROM can listen to the full oral argument in 50 cases and decision announcements in many of them. Arguments are an hour long -- or two hours in cases before 1969 -- so there's a guide to help listeners zip to high points. …

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