There has never been a book about the Supreme Court of the United States quite like this one. You will learn things about the Court you never knew before.
In the wake of Trump’s victory and the Gorsuch confirmation rift, we seem to have taken a huge step backward, with the progress of the last half century suddenly imperiled. No one can predict the extent to which constitutional decisions safeguarding our personal freedoms might soon be eroded, and to what extent the balance of liberals and conservatives on the Supreme Court will dramatically change.
In his new book, SUPREMELY PARTISAN: How Raw Politics Tips the Scales in the United States Supreme Court (Rowman & Littlefield; September 2016), with a foreword by Kermit Roosevelt, prominent attorney James D. Zirin, author of The Mother Court, (ABA; June, 2014), demonstrates how the Justices often act more like politicians in robes, advancing a favored policy agenda.
In a real sense, the Constitution is what the Court says it is, and what the Court says it is has changed greatly over the years. Increasingly, decisions are sourced in in the political views of the Justices, especially when the issues invoke powerful values lurking in the shadows of due process, equal protection, or cruel and unusual punishment. But, a Court that deviates from a judicial role and seeks to legislate from the bench risks losing the public confidence.
Zirin explains in the book how we arrived at the present polarization with so many decisions decided 5-4 or 6-3. He looks at the divide through the lens of its leading partisans Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, the late Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. He treats identity politics, the religious test for office, and the historic WASP, Catholic, Jewish, African American, and female seats, and examines four of the Court’s most controversial recent decisions – Hobby Lobby, Obamacare, gay marriage, and capital punishment–arguing that these decisions have been taken on partisan grounds.
In this timely, compelling work, Zirin argues that the Court has become increasingly politicized, rapidly making policy choices right and left on ideological bases that have nothing to do with law or the Constitution.
Here are some of the endorsements for SUPREMELY PARTISAN:
“As the future of the Supreme Court hangs in the balance, James Zirin has given us an extraordinarily timely, riveting, and historically informed work about how the Court has become a supremely political and partisan body. A must-read.”
—Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor and Publisher, The Nation