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Contempt of Court

Contempt Of Court: The Turn Of The Century Lynching That Launched 100 Years Of Federalism


When Ed Johnson, a black man, is wrongly convicted in 1906 of raping Nevada Taylor and sentenced to death in Tennessee, a courageous black attorney rushes to Washington to plead his case before Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan. Miraculously, Harlan issues a stay of execution, declaring that Johnson's right to a fair trial had been violated and that he had been railroaded through the criminal justice system.The interference of the Supreme Court was not well received back in Chattanooga. With the acquiescence of a sheriff coming up for re-election, a violent mob answered this Federal "interference" by dragging Johnson from his jail cell, beating him and hanging him from a bridge above the Tennessee River. Local police did nothing to prevent the lynching, nor were any members of the mob arrested.When Tennessee authorities refused to act, an enraged Supreme Court, for the first and only time in its history, conducted a criminal trial to enforce its authority. It brought contempt of court and obstruction of justice charges against the sheriff, his deputies, and members of the lynch mob.The first book written about these highly charged events, Contempt of Court raises issues of Federalism vs. state's rights that are as timely today as they were ninety years ago. The case is notable for other reasons: it was the first time a black attorney ever argued a case before the United States Supreme Court, and it led to a precedent-setting criminal trial that is unique in the annals of American jurisprudence. This is the case by which the U.S. Supreme Court declared itself the highest court in the land.



  • Condition: Used - Good
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Sold by: HPB Ridgmar/Westover Village
  • Seller rating:
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • ISBN-13: 9780571199525
  • ISBN: 0571199526
  • Publication Year: 1999


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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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