The Supermajority: How the Supreme Court Divided America (Hardcover)
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An incisive analysis of how the Supreme Court’s new conservative supermajority is overturning decades of law and leading the country in a dangerous political direction.
In The Supermajority, Michael Waldman explores the tumultuous 2021–2022 Supreme Court term. He draws deeply on history to examine other times the Court veered from the popular will, provoking controversy and backlash. And he analyzes the most important new rulings and their implications for the law and for American society. Waldman asks: What can we do when the Supreme Court challenges the country?
Over three days in June 2022, the conservative supermajority overturned the constitutional right to abortion, possibly opening the door to reconsider other major privacy rights, as Justice Clarence Thomas urged. The Court sharply limited the authority of the EPA, reducing the prospects for combatting climate change. It radically loosened curbs on guns amid an epidemic of mass shootings. It fully embraced legal theories such as “originalism” that will affect thousands of cases throughout the country.
These major decisions—and the next wave to come—will have enormous ramifications for every American.
It was the most turbulent term in memory—with the leak of the opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the first Black woman justice sworn in, and the justices turning on each other in public, Waldman previews the 2022–2023 term and how the brewing fights over the Supreme Court and its role that already have begun to reshape politics.
The Supermajority is a revelatory examination of the Supreme Court at a time when its dysfunction—and the demand for reform—are at the center of public debate.
About the Author
Michael Waldman is president and CEO of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to revitalize the nation’s systems of democracy and justice. He was director of speechwriting for President Bill Clinton from 1995 to 1999 and is the author of The Second Amendment: A Biography and The Fight to Vote. Waldman was a member of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court. A graduate of Columbia College and NYU School of Law, he comments widely in the media on law and policy.
"Learned, engaging, fierce - I expect [The Supermajority] to exert huge influence in Democratic Senate and presidential debate about the stakes in 2024 and after."
— David Frum, @davidfrum, 5/22/23
“A damning account of a Supreme Court gone wildly activist in shredding the Constitution."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Today's Supreme Court poses a crisis for American democracy. It has set the country back on voting rights, reproductive rights, gun safety and racial justice, with more damage possibly to come. This compelling book tells the story of this critical moment in the long struggle for a better, more equitable country. It's not a story just for lawyers - it's something every American must know."
— Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General
"Michael Waldman's The Supermajority is nothing less than a public service. With writerly skill and lawyerly authority he has produced a panoramically sweeping and deeply disturbing account of the Supreme Court's lurch to the hard right. Anyone trying to grasp how just nine unelected justices with lifetime tenure could completely upend American life must read this important book."
— Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money, Chief Washington Correspondent, The New Yorker
“A persuasive analysis of the Supreme Court’s 2021-2022 term . . . Brisk yet detailed, this is a valuable overview of how America’s highest court became such a lightning rod.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Each week’s headlines reveal how much power the Supreme Court holds over all our lives. Abortion… guns…the environment…our democracy – The Supermajority dramatizes the explosive impact of these nine justices. It shows how politics shapes the Court, and how the Court shapes the country. It's a revelatory look at America's history, an incisive reflection on our future. Essential reading to understand today's politics.”
— George Stephanopoulos
"Compulsively readable and urgent, The Supermajority briskly details the Supreme Court’s past, while meticulously documenting its impact on our present and future. At every turn, Waldman’s unsparing eye and clear voice illustrate how the Court’s veneer of neutrality has yielded to a cynical political calculus that makes every case a potential landmine for justice and democracy."
— Melissa Murray, Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
"In The Supermajority, Michael Waldman makes a compelling historical, political and legal case against the current Supreme Court. He shows how the conservative Justices who now dominate the Court have already damaged the lives of countless Americans and are poised to wreak more havoc. The Supermajority is a biting analysis and a timely warning."
— Jeffrey Toobin, author of Homegrown: Timothy McVeigh and the Rise of Right Wing Extremism
"Michael Waldman's powerful account of the Supreme Court and how the current supermajority came to be and the dangerous consequences of their decisions is a must-read account of our most important legal institution—troubling, provocative, insightful, and engaging all at the same time."
— Julian E. Zelizer, coauthor of Myth America, Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton University