The Supreme Court-October 1959 Term
A country’s constitutional law is but a reflection of its political, economic, and social life. Not unnaturally, the external conditions of any particular period are bound to have their effects in the legal sphere as well-especially in the field of public law. This is as true of the United States as it is of other countries. From this point of view, the constitutional jurisprudence of the American Supreme Court is only the juristic mirror of the different stages through which American history has passed. ‘Our jurisprudence is distinctive,’ said Justice Jackson on the 150th anniversary of the Supreme Court, ‘in that every great movement in American history has produced a leading case in this court.’ “
With these words, the present writer began an article explaining recent developments in our constitutional law to a British audience. To one familiar with the work of the nation’s highest Court, the statement quoted is almost a truism. Any commentary on a Supreme Court term is also a commentary on the life of the nation in the period covered.