Synopses & Reviews
Beginning in 1935, in a series of devastating decisions, the Supreme Court"s conservative majority left much of FDR"s agenda in ruins. The pillars of the New Deal fell in short succession. It was not just the New Deal, but democracy itself, that stood on trial. In February 1937, Roosevelt struck back with an audacious plan to expand the Court to fifteen justices'"and to 'pack' the new seats with liberals who shared his belief in a 'living' Constitution.
The ensuing fight was a firestorm that engulfed the White House, the Court, Congress, and the nation. The final verdict was a shock. It dealt FDR the biggest setback of his political life, split the Democratic party, and set the stage for a future era of Republican dominance. Yet the battle also transformed America"s political and constitutional landscape, hastening the nation"s march into the modern world.
This brilliant work of history unfolds like a thriller, with vivid characters and unexpected twists. Providing new evidence and fresh insight, Jeff Shesol shows why understanding the Court fight is essential to understanding the presidency, personality, and legacy of FDR'"and to understanding America at a crossroads in its history.
Supreme Poweris by far the most detailed—and most riveting—account of this extraordinary event.... an impressive and engaging book—an excellent work of narrative history. It is deeply researched and beautifully written.
"One of the most eloquent historians of his generation, Jeff Shesol has a deep understanding of the presidency, and the interplay of politics, personalities, and principles, all of which he brings to life in this rich, remarkable book." President Bill Clinton
"Written with a novelist's eye, a historian's care, and a blogger's energy, Jeff Shesol's is a fascinating reconstruction of one of the great political and legal battles of the twentieth century." Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Nine
In the years before World War II, Franklin Roosevelt's fiercest, most unyielding opponent was neither a foreign power nor "fear itself." It was the U.S. Supreme Court.
Beginning in 1935, the Supreme Court's conservative majority left much of FDR's agenda in ruins. The pillars of the New Deal fell in short succession. It was not just the New Deal but democracy itself that stood on trial. In February 1937, Roosevelt struck back with an audacious plan to expand the Court to fifteen justices--and to "pack" the new seats with liberals who shared his belief in a "living" Constitution.
"A stunning work of history."—Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of No Ordinary Time and Team of Rivals
"A stunning work of history."--Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of and
About the Author
Jeff Shesol is the author of Supreme Power: