100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

David Neagle

David Neagle

Trigger Man for a Tragedy

“I Hope your Wife does not Intend to Make Trouble”

In re Neagle

135 U.S. 1 (1890)

As legal precedent, In re Neagle is remembered for establishing the doctrine that federal officials, when acting within the scope of their duty, are immune from prosecution in state court for violation of state law. Although this proposition may not be surprising to many modern Americans, in its time Neagle represented an expansion of the power of the federal government in general, and the president in particular. The incident that produced this case was one of the most sensational media events of the late nineteenth century. It involved sex, celebrity, power, enormous wealth, and the death of a controversial but popular political figure. David ...

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