In the bestselling tradition of The Nine and The Brethren, The Most Dangerous Branch takes us inside the secret world of the Supreme Court. David A. Kaplan, the former legal affairs editor of Newsweek, shows how the justices subvert the role of the other branches of government—and how we’ve come to accept it at our peril. Never before has the Court been more central in American life. It is now the nine justices who too often decide the biggest issues of our time—from abortion and same-sex marriage to gun control, campaign finance, and voting rights. The Court is so crucial that many voters in 2016 made their choice based on whom they thought their presidential candidate would name to the Court. Donald Trump picked Neil Gorsuch—the key decision of his new administration. The newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh—replacing Anthony Kennedy—is even more important, holding the swing vote over so much social policy. With the 2020 campaign underway, and with two justices in their ’80s, the Court looms even larger. Is that really how democracy is supposed to work? Based on exclusive interviews with the justices, Kaplan provides fresh details about life behind the scenes at the Court: the reaction to Kavanaugh’s controversial arrival, the new role for Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas's simmering rage, Antonin Scalia's death, Ruth Bader Ginsburg's celebrity, Breyer Bingo, and the petty feuding between Gorsuch and the chief justice. Kaplan offers a sweeping narrative of the justices’ aggrandizement of power over the decades—from Roe v. Wade to Bush v. Gore to Citizens United. (He also faults the Court for not getting involved when it should—for example, to limit partisan gerrymandering.) But the arrogance of the Court isn't partisan: Conservative and liberal justices alike are guilty of overreach. Challenging conventional wisdom about the Court's transcendent power, as well as presenting an intimate inside look at the Court, The Most Dangerous Branch is sure to rile both sides of the political aisle.
The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice
Author: Joan Biskupic
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
Category: Biography & Autobiography
"I knew she'd be trouble." So quipped Antonin Scalia about Sonia Sotomayor at the Supreme Court's annual end-of-term party in 2010. It's usually the sort of event one would expect from such a grand institution, with gentle parodies of the justices performed by their law clerks, but this year Sotomayor decided to shake it up—flooding the room with salsa music and coaxing her fellow justices to dance. It was little surprise in 2009 that President Barack Obama nominated a Hispanic judge to replace the retiring justice David Souter. The fact that there had never been a nominee to the nation's highest court from the nation's fastest growing minority had long been apparent. So the time was ripe—but how did it come to be Sonia Sotomayor? In Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice, the veteran journalist Joan Biskupic answers that question. This is the story of how two forces providentially merged—the large ambitions of a talented Puerto Rican girl raised in the projects in the Bronx and the increasing political presence of Hispanics, from California to Texas, from Florida to the Northeast—resulting in a historical appointment. And this is not just a tale about breaking barriers as a Puerto Rican. It's about breaking barriers as a justice. Biskupic, the author of highly praised judicial biographies of Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, now pulls back the curtain on the Supreme Court nomination process, revealing the networks Sotomayor built and the skills she cultivated to go where no Hispanic has gone before. We see other potential candidates edged out along the way. And we see how, in challenging tradition and expanding our idea of a justice (as well as expanding her public persona), Sotomayor has created tension within and without the court's marble halls. As a Supreme Court justice, Sotomayor has shared her personal story to an unprecedented degree. And that story—of a Latina who emerged from tough times in the projects not only to prevail but also to rise to the top—has even become fabric for some of her most passionate comments on matters before the Court. But there is yet more to know about the rise of Sonia Sotomayor. Breaking In offers the larger, untold story of the woman who has been called "the people's justice."
This is a compelling, introspective account of the life of Isabella Tanikumi, who takes her readers on a journey through various phases of her remarkable life- from her family's survival during the devastating earthquake of 1970 in Huaraz, Peru, to the trials of overcoming heartbreaks of her youth. Conquering personal insecurities led to exploring the reaches of her intellect while facing the tragic, and untimely death of her beloved sister, Laura. Despite language barriers and the consequent obstacles of fitting in, Tanikumi wittily narrates her struggles with her assimilation into American life and culture. Forging many enduring friendships most notably with Julie, who rescued her from the depths of grief. Tanikumi also interweaves a dialogue with her long lost love Eduardo. This novel tacitily and expressly addresses Eduardo as a salient recipient of her reflections. Ultimately, Tanikumi is able to share her gratitude and joy as well as her insatiable thirst for life