2
The Law, the Constitution, and the U.S.
Supreme Court

The constitution doesn't always follow the flag, but the supreme court follows the iliction returns.

Finley Peter Dunne
The Supreme Court's Decisions

Since the core of this book is the text of U.S. Supreme Court decisions, it is important to have a general understanding of both the legal and sociological functions of the law and of the Supreme Court itself. Complicated and abstruse tomes have been written on both, but the goal of this book is simply to provide a context for understanding the consequence and implications of the decisions included in these pages.

Most people take the law for granted. They do not stop to think about its origins and sources or purpose and role in our society beyond the immediate, and obvious, role of prescribing the particular behavior it addresses. But the law does more than simply codify behavior and, thereby, define right and wrong for society. The law is also supposed to protect both society and its individual members from harm and to provide for social order and well-being. Yet another and often overlooked role, and perhaps the most important one in the context of an examination of the law's influence on the status of women, is that of "value patrol."

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