Name of Collection: Law & Justice

School Name: The Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice

Address: 244 East 163rd Street, Bronx, New York 10451

Phone: School: 718-410-3430 Library Office: 718-410-3789

Fax: 718-410-3950

Librarian: Linda C. Cuff, MLS

Librarian's e-mail:


What is justice? The definition varies from society to society and yet the idea of justice is part of every person's life: as an individual, in society, and in government. In its simplest definition it can mean fairness in both punishment and rewards. Every society creates rules, or laws, to support and reflect the sociery's view of justice. These ideas may change over time but people are expected to live by and obey the laws of the country in which they live. "Justice is usually pictured as a blindfoled woman balancing scales. Most cultures, especially
democracies, aim toward the idea... that justice should be impartial. It should be blind to everything
but the facts. It should not 'see' sex, skin color, religiion or wealth." (Luthringer 26)

The resources in this pathfinder will help explore where we are as a nation in our pursuit of blind justice.

Questions for Inquiry:

What is justice?
Should people have to obey unjust laws?
What is the state's role in dispensing justice?
Does the Miranda Rule undermine the criminal justice system?
Do wrongful convictions indicate an overhaul of the criminal justice system is needed?
Is the constitution racist?
Should there be a right to violate laws for religious reasons?
Is hate speech a right?
Is gun control unconstitutional?
Is the death penalty ever justifiable?
Is abortion a right?


justice system; death penalty; juvenile justice; civil liberties; wrongful convictions; United States Constitution; Bill of Rights

Subject Headings: [ Sears 17th edition]

Law; Law-United States; legal stories [for law-fiction]; law reform; litigation; justice; jurisprudence; constitutional law; criminal law; commercial law; law reform; international law; private law; legal ethics

See also subjects with the subdivision law and legislation, e.g. Abortion - Law and legislation

See also ethinic groups and classes of people with the subdivision legal status, laws, etc. e.g. handicapped - legal status, laws, etc.

Dewey Decimal Classification(s): [abridged 14]

340 = law {includes justice, law and society; law reform; legal reasoning; natural law; jurisprudence}
340.5 = legal systems
341 = Law of nations {international law}
342 = constitutional and administrative law
343 = military, defense, public property, public finance, tax, commerce (trade), industrial law
344 = labor, social service, education, cultural law
345 = criminal law
346 = private law
347 = civil procedure and courts
346.07 = business law
348 = laws, regulations, cases
349.73 = law-United States

Key Books


Finkelman, Paul and Melvin Urofsky. Landmark Decisions of the United States Supreme Court. 2nd Edition. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2008.
Presents a decade-by-decade examination of over one thousand Supreme Court cases decided between 1791 and 2007. Includes case and subject indexes, a copy of the U.S. Constitution and othere references.


Alderman, Ellen and Caroline Kennedy. In our defense The BIll of Rights in action. Perennial/Harper Collins, 1991.

Bogira, Steve. Courtroom 302 A year behind the scenes in an American criminal courthouse. New York: Vintage Books, 2005.

Harr, Jonathan. A Civil Action. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.

Law Lit from Atticus Finch to The Practice: A collection of great writing about the law. Thane Rosenbaum, ed. New York: New Press, 2007. Collection of fiction, essays, poetry and film script excerpts about the law.

Lief, Michael S. and H. Mitchell Caldwell. The devil's advocates greatest closing arguments in criminal law. New York: Scribner, 2006.

*Luthringer, Chelsea. So What Is Justice Anyway? New York: Rosen, 2001. This 48 page book discusses the concept of justice, its role in daily life, differing views of justice, how governments achieve justice, and individuals and organizations that have worked for justice.

Marguiles, Phillip. The devil on trial: witches, anarchists, athesists, communists, and terroritsts in American's courtrooms. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Examines five cases throughout history as examples of situations where people have compromised their principles in the name of safety, and covers the Salem witch trials, the Haymarket Affair trial, the Scopes "Monkey" trial, and others.

Robinson, Edwin David. Brethren and Sisters of the Bar: A centennial history of the New York County Lawyers' Association. New York: Fordham University Press, 2008.


Volponi, Paul. Black and White. New York: Viking, 2005. Two star high school basketball players, one black and one white, experience the justice system differently after committing a crime together and gettng caught.

Magazine/Journal Articles:

Weinberg, Steve. "Wrongful Convictions." CQ Researcher 17 Apr. 2009: 345-372. In depth report of issue including background, chronology, current situtation and outlook. Extensive bibliography and references.

• Online:
Ordered List
Ordered List


Open Jurist
Open Jurist is a resource for access to the case law of the United States. The organization believes that because the laws of the land are in the public domain, they should be accessible by the public without restriction and especially without charge. The collection includes approximately 647,000 opinions and other transactions from the:
CQ Researcher
In-depth reporting on issues in the news. Reports on a full range of political and social issues. Extensive archive. Also available in print.

Web Sites:

Amnesty International

American Bar Association Division for Public Education

Supreme Court of the United States
Includes cases on the current docket.

Supreme Court Preview
An American Bar Association site providing comprehensive coverage of the United States Supreme Court with expert analysis of the issues, arguments, background, and significance of every case slated for argument.




Community Resources:

Innocence Project 100 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York, New York 10011 (212)364-5340; "Litigation and public policy organization working to exonerate the wrongfully convicted througfh DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent further injustice."

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 1660 L Street, N.W., 12th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036; (202)872-8600; "Works to ensure justice for persons accused of crimes or other misconduct."

National District Attorneys Association 44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 110, Alexdandria, Virginia 22314;
(703) 549-9222; "Professional organization working to maintain the honor and integrity of prosecuting attorneys in the United States."

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 125 Broad Street, 17th Floor New York, New York 10004 (212)549-2500;

Coalition for Federal Sentencing Reform 3125 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia 22305 (703) 684-0373;

Curriculum Standards Related to This Topic:

*An asterisk next to material indicates that it is recommended in this subject area but not available in this CCD collection.