Friday, January 26, 2007

Greenburg on the Rehnquist Court: Interview, Excerpt, Review

Jan Crawford Greenburg's beautifully written new book on the Rehnquist Court, Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court, is getting a lot of press. Here's the publisher's book description:

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.

To find a short excerpt and link to an NPR interview on Fresh Air, click here.

David Garrow's very strong review of the book begins:

YOU know the name "Woodward," as in Bob Woodward, whose insider-based accounts of Washington decision-making have been runaway bestsellers since Richard Nixon's downfall. Well, now you should remember the name Greenburg because ABC News reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg's account of what's been happening at the U.S. Supreme Court in recent years is the richest and most impressive journalistic look at the panel since Woodward co-wrote "The Brethren"
in 1979.
To see the rest, click here.