Synopses & Reviews
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.
"The richest and most impressive journalistic look at the [Supreme Court] since Woodward co-wrote The Brethren in 1979." The Los Angeles Times
"A fascinating look at dynamics within the court, showing how personalities and ideology can affect alliances and debates." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"More than any recent writer on the Court, [Jan Crawford Greenburg] seems to have mastered the arts of Kremlinology that are necessary to appreciate what goes on in this secretive institution.... Fascinating." The New York Review of Books
"A fresh and detailed account of how the court works and, relatedly, how presidents decide who gets there.... A tour de force." The Wall Street Journal
Drawing on unprecedented access to the Supreme Court justices themselves 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 American history. From the series of Republican nominations that proved deeply frustrating to conservatives to the decades of bruising battles that led to the rise of Justices Roberts and Alito, this is the authoritative story of the conservative effort to shift the direction of the high court—a revelatory look at one of the central fronts of America's culture wars by one of the most widely respected experts on the subject.
About the Author
Jan Crawford Greenburg is the national legal affairs commentator for ABC News, and reports on law and politics for World News Tonight, Nightline, Good Morning America, and This Week with George Stephanopoulos. A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, she has covered the Supreme Court for twelve years.