Friday, December 11, 2015

‘Every Vote Matters’ in 5-4 Supreme Court rulings

Cases that have direct bearing on students’ lives were decided with a vote of 5-4 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Their rights to free speech, limitations on speech, drug testing and treatment in the courts might be radically different if these splits had gone a different way.

In Every Vote Matters (Free Spirit Publishing, March 2016), Judge Tom Jacobs and his daughter Natalie Jacobs review several U.S. Supreme Court cases that were decided with a single vote.

Like the title suggests, “Every Vote Matters” to Judge Tom and Natalie Jacobs, and they present a strong argument that it needs to matter to young people reading this book. Their one vote could shape who is elected president or elected to U.S. Congress — which, in turn, affects the ideology of who is appointed to the United States’ highest court.

I found the book fascinating and informative, with an interesting assortment of cases. The authors compellingly demonstrate the relevance of these cases in their young readers’ lives.

I wish to share a brief concern about the digital version of the book, with hope that it can be corrected before the book’s official release in March. I read this book in a single column of text on a handheld device. I found the main text frequently broken mid-sentence by pull quotes and brief essays (e.g. “Did You Know?”) and I had to shuffle between screens to re-establish the main text’s continuity.

Pull quotes and sidebar essays lend dynamic elements to a physical book’s layout, but their placement in the text needs to be carefully considered for a digital format. Please reformat the digital version of this book, so that it completes entire sentences and paragraphs before sharing a pull quote or supplement — even if that essentially means two “versions” of the text, one for print and one for digital.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. Dear Cynthia,
    Thank you so much for your kind words and wonderful review of the book. We will be sure to share your comments concerning the digital version of the book with the publishing company. Happy reading! -Natalie Jacobs

    1. Dear Cynthia: I join Natalie in her appreciation for your review of our book, "Every Vote Matters." Our hope is for even one person who believes their voice doesn't count changes their mind after reading EVM. All voices are important and should be heard. Best, -Judge Tom

    2. I'm glad you enjoyed my review, Natalie and Judge Tom. A book like this really speaks to my interest in developing engaged young people who feel fully invested in the society they build. Good luck with publication!


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