×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion
     

Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion

5.0 1
by Seth Stern, Stephen Wermiel
 

See All Formats & Editions


In this sweeping and revealing insider study, Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel shine a bright light on the life, career, and thought of William Brennan (1906-1997), widely considered the Supreme Court's most influential twentieth-century justice, as well as its greatest liberal and preeminent strategist.

Stern and Wermiel make available for the first time a

Overview


In this sweeping and revealing insider study, Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel shine a bright light on the life, career, and thought of William Brennan (1906-1997), widely considered the Supreme Court's most influential twentieth-century justice, as well as its greatest liberal and preeminent strategist.

Stern and Wermiel make available for the first time a striking new view of Brennan based on what Jeffrey Toobin has called "a coveted set of documents"—Justice Brennan's very personal case histories of the major battles that confronted the Supreme Court during the past half century. Roe v. Wade, affirmative action, the death penalty, obscenity law, and the constitutional right to privacy are among the many controversial and hotly-contested big-picture issues covered in the Brennan annals. But they also provide more intimate glimpses of Brennan's surprising refusal to hire female clerks, even as he wrote groundbreaking opinions relating to women's rights; the complex tension between his commitment to law and his Catholic beliefs; and new details on his unprecedented working relationship with Chief Justice Earl Warren.

Drawing upon Wermiel's rare access to the Brennan case histories, half of which will not be released to the public until 2017, and his more than sixty hours of one-on-one interviews with Justice Brennan himself, the authors have crafted a compelling portrait of a judicial giant, filled with details and insights that will further cement Brennan's reputation as an epic playmaker during the Court's most liberal era.

"An indispensable new biography and major contribution to the history of the Supreme Court. The authors proportion it nicely, interweaving biography, case histories, and details of Brennan's tactical moves into an enjoyable narrative."—The Nation

"Those who want to understand the glory and contradictions of a true progressive jurist should buy this first full-length biography. . . . In it, the authors take us behind Brennan's leprechaun image to show the pain and ambivalence that marked this outwardly joyous Justice's career."—The Atlantic

"Impressively evenhanded and down-the-middle-no easy achievement."—National Review

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Impressively evenhanded and down-the-middle-no easy achievement."-National Review

"Those who want to understand the glory and contradictions of a true progressive jurist should buy this first full-length biography. . . . In it, the authors take us behind Brennan's leprechaun image to show the pain and ambivalence that marked this outwardly joyous Justice's career."-The Atlantic

"An indispensable new biography and major contribution to the history of the Supreme Court. The authors proportion it nicely, interweaving biography, case histories, and details of Brennan's tactical moves into an enjoyable narrative."-The Nation

Publishers Weekly
Congressional Quarterly reporter Stern and Wermiel, who teaches constitutional law at American University, have produced what will likely be the definitive biography of Supreme Court Justice William Brennan (1906-1997), arguably the most influential liberal justice in history. During 34 years on the court, he was instrumental in forming alliances with other justices resulting in majority opinions in such seminal cases as Roe v. Wade and Baker v. Carr (the one man-one vote case that changed America’s political landscape). The book’s strength is Wermiel’s access to Brennan’s private case notes (which are closed to the public until 2017) and dozens of interviews with Brennan himself. The case notes provide a detailed and fascinating account of how the Supreme Court functioned during Brennan’s long tenure (from 1956 to 1990) that easily outshines recent high-profile books purporting to break the Court’s seal of secrecy. Nowhere will readers find a better explanation of how the mix of personality and political philosophy drove, and presumably still drives, the Court. Both legal scholars and general readers will be delighted with this well-written, superbly documented biography, which may make liberals nostalgic for Brennan’s court. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Stern, a Congressional Quarterly reporter, and Wermiel (fellow in law & government, American Univ. Washington Coll. of Law), a former Wall Street Journal reporter, team up to chronicle the career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, who served on the high bench from 1956 to 1990. Working from a repository of newly released documents and interviews with friends, family, colleagues, and Brennan himself, the authors show how he staked a liberal claim in the progressive side of the Warren Court, often invoking civil rights and privacy protections for minorities, women, and the working class. Especially revealing and insightful are revelations about the Court's inner workings, how the justices arrive at their decisions, and the infrequent yet riveting confrontations between Brennan and his conservative counterparts. The book is a historian's guide to the tactics and strategies behind many of the era's battles over the extent of constitutional rights and the legal struggles over such contentious issues as desegregation, affirmative action, school prayer, the death penalty, and abortion. VERDICT Aimed at a scholarly audience, this is highly recommended for academic, law, and larger public libraries.—Philip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Lib., First Judicial Dist., New York

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780700619122
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Publication date:
02/07/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
688
Sales rank:
466,242
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.60(d)

Meet the Author

SETH STERN graduated from Harvard Law School in 2001 and has been a reporter for Congressional Quarterly since 2004.

STEPHEN WERMIEL, for twelve years the Wall Street Journal's Supreme Court reporter, teaches constitutional law at American University Washington College of Law, where he also received his law degree.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waits.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago