David Kaplan: The Most Dangerous Branch of Government


Manage episode 216374691 series 2359906
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How important has the Supreme Court become in American life? From gun rights to personal relationships, from money in politics to healthcare, whether it’s access to abortion, the voting booth or even our borders, the Supreme Court increasingly dominates how we work, live, and play – it defines, quite often, what kind of country we are. You could argue that it was the deciding factor for millions of voters in the last Presidential election – potentially the deciding factor in the election itself. And this week, of course – between anonymous New York Times op-eds and Bob Woodward book drops – the Senate held confirmation hearings for our likely next Justice, the one who many believe will turn this purple Court decidedly red for the next generation. How did this happen? In Alexander Hamilton’s words, the Court would be based “neither on force nor will, but merely judgment.” While the president “holds the sword” and Congress “commands the purse,” the court would be “the least dangerous branch.” How did it all change? How have we we’ve transitioned our toughest political issues into judicial ones? That's the question and American challenge that David A. Kaplan addresses in his new and outstanding book, “The Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Court's Assault on the Constitution.” In writing the book, Kaplan talked with a majority of the sitting Justices – incredible access. He tracks the shifts, outlines how the Justices took more and more political power, and explains why that is flat out dangerous for our country. Also, as we discuss, Kaplan top-ticked it in terms of timing – who else has been able to perfectly time a Supreme Court book with a Supreme Court confirmation? Even if you don’t like his analysis, which I think you will, you’ve got to admire his commercial sense.