Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution, by Laurence H. Tribe and Joshua Matz

Five stars (of five)

Tribe and Matz delve into the always complex world of constitutional law and its varied recent interpretations by the US Supreme Court. Their focus is the Roberts Court, the collection of justices whose rulings came down after John G. Roberts Jr. was appointed as Chief Justice in 2005. Within the pages of their highly informative tome, Tribe and Matz argue that while the ideological leanings of the nine justices may be fairly apparent, when it comes to constitutional interpretation, anything goes. With a varied collection of justices–a  staunch originalist to a firmly grounded conservative to a die-hard liberal– the US Supreme Court’s rulings are ever-evolving and devised based on current understandings of the US Constitution’s articles and amendments. Tribe and Matz elucidate the Court’s varied opinions by discussing highly controversial and poignant topics such as gun control, same-sex rights, and privacy. The authors discuss the topics in a historical context, as they relate to judicial precedent, before presenting a key case that came before the Roberts Court. Tribe and Matz offer wonderful insights, touching on both rulings and dissents, to show the varied nature of the justices and the flavours they imbue in the larger discussion. Captivating and thoroughly educational, Tribe and Matz do a wonderful job presenting some legal interpretations on topics of great importance to Americans in a tumultuous decade and a half. A must-read for those with a keen interest in the law and constitutional interpretations.

Tribe and Matz have a wonderful way of touching on a handful of topics, but not boring the reader as they travel through the tome. Written in a seamless fashion to show just how important the Roberts Court has become in the last number of years, while also showing that the Court is anything but dull and filled with stuffed shirts. The themes are aptly placed at a time when these issues remain at the forefront of Americans’ lives, the cases are both telling and seem open to much interpretation, and the narrative flows effortlessly to permit the reader to sail from issue to issue and stop along the way to view how the nine justices staked their respective claims. Rarely have I come across a piece of non-fiction so full of energy that rises above the legal miasma that could have weighed it down in technical language and legal jargon. Powerfully presented and easy to read all at once!

Kudos, Messrs. Tribe and Matz for your wonderful tome. If only all in the legal profession could follow your lead.