Supreme Conflict

The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court

By Jan Crawford Greenburg
(Penguin Press HC, The, Hardcover, 9781594201011, 368pp.)

Publication Date: January 23, 2007

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Description

Drawing on unprecedented access to the Supreme Court justices and their inner circles, acclaimed ABC News legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg offers an explosive, newsbreaking account of one of the most momentous political watersheds in recent American history.

Over the past decade, the central front of America's bitter culture wars has been the titanic battle over the composition and direction of the United States Supreme Court. During that period, no journalist has been closer to the action on the ground-the ideas, the politics, the personalities, the gamesmanship-than ABC News correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg. Now, in Supreme Conflict, Greenburg draws on all of her formidable reportorial resources to give a brilliant, vivid, astonishingly unvarnished account of the struggle for the soul of the highest court in the land.

Greenburg picks up the plot with the Rehnquist Court, which, despite having seven Republican nominees, proved deeply disappointing to conservatives hoping to reverse decades of progressive rulings on key social issues. She reveals for the first time the real story behind a series of failed Republican nominations that enraged the American conservative movement and left it seething with frustration and resolve not to squander future opportunities. Enter: George W. Bush and the setting of the stage for a full-blown conservative counterrevolution. Supreme Conflict contains entirely fresh perspectives across the entire sweep of its story, from the conservative movement's early fumbles with the nominations of justices Anthony Kennedy and David Souter to its crowning successes with the appointments of justices Roberts and Alito. The book breaks news in its revelations about the effect of Chief Justice Rehnquist's illness on the process; on the truth behind Harriet Miers's disastrous nomination and how it was really scuttled; and on how decades of bruising battles led to the triumph of the conservative agenda with the appointment of two of its leading judicial exponents. Through the entire dramatic story, rich in character and conflict, Greenburg never loses sight of the gargantuan stakes in this struggle, the opposing ideological agendas at play.

The story Jan Crawford Greenburg tells is that of the fulcrum event of our time, the massive coordinated campaign to move the Supreme Court in a very different direction, to a more limited and restrictive role in American government. A masterpiece of old-fashioned gumshoe reportage, rich storytelling, and penetrating analysis, Supreme Conflict will be the definitive account of the most consequential shift in the use of American judicial power in almost one hundred years.

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