The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind

Justin Driver. Pantheon, $35 (544p) ISBN 978-1-101-87165-2
University of Chicago Law professor Driver, a former clerk for two Supreme Court Justices, examines the intersection of the Supreme Court and the public school system in this scrupulous study of two vital American institutions. Driver smartly analyzes how the Constitution applies to disciplinary actions, free speech, prayer in schools, and searches and seizures. In addition, Driver discusses less-understood constitutional issues including permissible mechanisms for school funding and complicated problems related to school integration arising from Brown v. Board of Education. Driver’s approach to each precedent includes a sophisticated legal discussion of the Court’s majority and dissenting opinions, a recounting of how the decisions were received by the media and legal commentators, followed by his own illuminating, often contrarian analysis of the case’s importance. This structure allows him to cohesively construct his argument that the balance between students’ rights and the right of school administrators and local governments has shifted too far away from the students, to the detriment of society as a whole. Readers with the ability to grapple with complex constitutional issues will find much to learn from Driver’s independent thinking and unique insights. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Release date: 09/04/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-525-56696-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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