"[The Supreme Court] covers the same territory as the [PBS] documentary with an even sharper focus on the role of judicial personality in shaping the court . . . While Rosen's book and the TV series are largely about the court's past, the subject of greatest interest right now is the court's future. Both series and book give us a glimpse of that through interviews with [Chief Justice] Roberts. They include reflections by the new chief on what can be learned from the court's history, what the chief justice's role ought to be, and how he hopes to execute that role during his tenure. The final chapter of Rosen's book is devoted almost entirely to Roberts's views. It makes fascinating reading."—Mark C. Rahdert, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Chronicle of Higher Education
"Part scholar, part popularist, [Rosen] has fashioned a set of Plutarchian pairings of leading legal figures that combines fine biography with nuanced discussions of jurisprudential debates, from the founding to the present . . . He had me on the first page."—Slate
"Jeffrey Rosen combines the spellbinding talents of a master storyteller, the astute eye and ear of a master journalist, and the penetrating insights of a scholar steeped in the law and politics of his subject. Rare is the book I'd call a must-read for every Supreme Court justice and every president and senator faced with the awesome tasks of nominating or confirming one—as well as for every citizen who cares about what's at stake. This is just such a book."—Laurence Tribe
Jeffrey Rosen is a professor of law at George Washington University and the legal affairs editor of The New Republic. He is the author of The Most Democratic Branch, The Naked Crowd, and The Unwanted Gaze. His articles have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker. He is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio and lives in Washington, D.C.
On April 8, 1952, to prevent an imminent steelworkers’ strike that he thought would cut off the flow of guns to U.S. troops in the middle of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman decided to use his authority as commander in chief to seize the nation’s steel mills. His decision would provoke more criticism than any other in his presidency. But Truman had been emboldened to act in part because of confidential advice from Chief Justice Fred Vinson, whom Truman had appointed to the Supreme Court in 1946.