Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey

Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey

by Linda Greenhouse

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Overview

"A fascinating book. In clear and forceful prose, Becoming Justice Blackmun tells a judicial Horatio Alger story and a tale of a remarkable transformation . . . A page-turner."—The New York Times Book Review

In this acclaimed biography, Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times draws back the curtain on America's most private branch of government, the Supreme Court. Greenhouse was the first print reporter to have access to the extensive archives of Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1908–99), the man behind numerous landmark Supreme Court decisions, including Roe v. Wade.

Through the lens of Blackmun's private and public papers, Greenhouse crafts a compelling portrait of a man who, from 1970 to 1994, ruled on such controversial issues as abortion, the death penalty, and sex discrimination yet never lost sight of the human beings behind the legal cases. Greenhouse also paints the arc of Blackmun's lifelong friendship with Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, revealing how political differences became personal, even for two of the country's most respected jurists.

From America's preeminent Supreme Court reporter, this is a must-read for everyone who cares about the Court and its impact on our lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805080575
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/04/2006
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 546,876
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

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.

Read an Excerpt

Becoming Justice Blackmun

Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey
By Greenhouse, Linda

Times Books

Copyright © 2005 Greenhouse, Linda
All right reserved.

ISBN: 080507791X




From Becoming Justice Blackmun:
Planned Parenthood v. Casey was argued on April 22, 1992. As in the Webster case three years earlier, it was not clear from the discussion at the conference whether Roe v. Wade itself was really on the table. But while there was uncertainty as to the details, Blackmun knew he would be writing a dissent.
Rehnquist circulated a twenty-seven-page draft majority opinion on May 27. "Wow! Pretty extreme!" Blackmun wrote in the margin of the first page. All the Pennsylvania law's provisions were upheld. Further, Rehnquist said the Court had been "mistaken in Roe when it classified a woman's decision to terminate her pregnancy as a 'fundamental right.' "
Then, suddenly, everything changed. Two days later, a handwritten note arrived from Anthony Kennedy. "Dear Harry, I need to see you as soon as you have a few free moments. I want to tell you about some developments in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and at least part of what I say should come as welcome news."
When the two met the following day, Kennedy revealed that he, O'Connor, and Souter had been meeting privately and were jointly drafting an opinion that, far from overruling Roe, would save it-not in its details, but in its essence. The constitutional right to abortion would be preserved.


Continues...

Excerpted from Becoming Justice Blackmun by Greenhouse, Linda Copyright © 2005 by Greenhouse, Linda. Excerpted by permission.
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