OVERRIDE

Becoming Justice Blackmun

Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey

Linda Greenhouse

Times Books

A New York Times Notable Book
 
From 1970 to 1994, Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1908-1999) wrote numerous landmark Supreme Court decisions, including Roe vs. Wade, and participated in the most contentious debates of his era—all behind closed doors. In Becoming Justice Blackmun, Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times draws back the curtain on America's most private branch of government and reveals the backstage story of the Supreme Court through the eyes and writing of this extraordinary justice.

Greenhouse was the first print reporter to have access to Harry Blackmun's extensive archive and private and public papers, and from this trove she has crafted a compelling narrative of Blackmun's life and of his years on the Court, showing how he never lost sight of the human beings behind the legal cases and how he was not afraid to question his own views in such controversial issues as abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty, and sex discrimination. She shows us the Court as a human institution, where nine very smart and very opinionated lawyers seek to make decisions and bring others around to their point of view, especially during Blackmun's twenty-four years on the bench, as the justices repeatedly tussled with one another over the contentious cases—the Pentagon Papers, Roe v. Wade, the Nixon tapes, Bakke v. Regents of the University of California, Planned Parenthood v. Casey—that came their way. And most affectingly of all, Greenhouse recounts the story of how Harry Blackmun's lifelong friendship with Chief Justice Warren E. Burger withered in the crucible of life on the high court, revealing how political differences became personal, even for the country's most respected jurists.

Becoming Justice Blackmun, written by America's preeminent Supreme Court reporter, offers a rare and wonderfully vivid portrait of the nation's highest court, including insights into many of the current justices. It is a must-read for everyone who cares about the Court and its impact on our lives.

REVIEWS

Praise for Becoming Justice Blackmun

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"[A] wonderful book . . . one of the most intimate and revealing portraits of the relationship between two justices ever achieved."
--Jeffrey Rosen, The New York Times

"A graceful account, filled with well-chosen quotations, apt observations and elegant legal summaries." --The Washington Post Book World

"Reprises in rich, thoughtful, and more extensive detail the main emotional and interpretive threads of Blackmun's career." --David J. Garrow, The New Republic

"Highly readable and interesting . . . Greenhouse has mined [Blackmun's private papers] brilliantly to create a moving narrative." --Los Angeles Times

"A riveting account of [Blackmun's] life." --Anna Quindlen, Newsweek

"[A] fascinating volume . . . Becoming Justice Blackmun is as welcome as it is interesting . . . informative and moving." --The Washington Times

"Should inform anyone with an interest in the law and how the court operates . . . Blackmun, a precise writer and exacting editor, would approve." --USA Today

"A model biography of a Supreme Court justice . . . Greenhouse delivers a crystal-clear, and sometimes painful, portrait of the way personality shapes history." --The Courier-Journal (Louisville)

"Greenhouse sets a high standard in offering an intimate look both at the man and at the development of his judicial thought." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Linda Greenhouse

  • Linda Greenhouse has covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times since 1978 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for her reporting on the Court. She appears regularly on the PBS program Washington Week and lectures frequently on the Supreme Court at colleges and law schools. She graduated from Radcliffe College at Harvard University and holds a master of studies in law from Yale Law School. She lives outside Washington, D.C.

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Available Formats and Book Details

Becoming Justice Blackmun

Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey

Linda Greenhouse

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Times Books

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