Confirmation bias : inside Washington's war over the Supreme Court, from Scalia's death to Justice Kavanaugh

Published 2019
Item Details

"From the chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, a richly detailed, news-breaking look at the unprecedented political fight over Antonin Scalia's Supreme Court vacancy and the seemingly irreversible dysfunction it triggered across all three branches in the nation's capital--ultimately delivering us Trump, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh. The embodiment of American conservative thought and jurisprudence, Antonin Scalia cast an expansive shadow over the Supreme Court for three decades. His death at a Texas hunting resort in February 2016 created a dilemma for Republican leadership faced with the prospect of yet another Obama Supreme Court nominee, this time one who could tip the ideological balance of the court and alter the course of American history. In [this book], Carl Hulse tells an exclusive account of the rush of events following Scalia's death, including Mitch McConnell's extraordinary snap decision to deny President Obama's nominee so much as a hearing, let alone a vote. The author recounts the unsuccessful Democratic effort to break the Republican blockade on behalf of Merrick Garland, a failure that allowed Donald Trump to exploit the vacancy to entice evangelicals and other leery Republicans to rally support and deliver him the presidency. Newly empowered, Trump and his White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II moved quickly to install Neil Gorsuch on the court. The plan from the start was to have a second judge with a Republican pedigree--Brett Kavanaugh--join Gorsuch at the first opportunity in order to cement a majority conservative bloc. Aided by McConnell and the willingness of Republicans to bend Senate practices, the new administration set out to remake not only the Supreme Court, but the lower courts as well, further roiling the Senate and threatening public confidence in the federal judiciary. With unrivaled access to figures on both sides of the aisle, Hulse revisits the judicial wars of the past twenty years to show how those conflicts have led to our current polarization and resulted in not one but two Trump-nominated conservative justices who could be serving for decades. [This book] is a prodigious look inside the bitter judicial politics that have torn apart the Senate and transformed the modern Supreme Court from an institution that is supposed to rise above partisanship into one that is increasingly an extension of it. History will show, argues Hulse, that Scalia's death and the ugly battles fought in its wake represent an inflection point in American politics, changing the trajectory of three vital arms of our government--the Senate, the presidency, and the Supreme Court--in ways McConnell could not have envisioned that night in 2016."--Dust jacket.

First edition.
viii, 310 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes index.
Calling the play
A death in Texas
"Business to attend to"
"Of course the President is going to nominate someone"
Playing it straight
Pulling a Biden
The Oval
The list: part I
Lack of judicial temperament
Should ideology matter?
The gang's all here
Battle lines
Going nuclear
The list: part II
One horse-sized duck
Nuclear winter
Giving the slip to the blue slip
The Trump judiciary
The Kennedy seat
Golden boy
Advice and dissent
The hearing will not come to order
The paper chase
The letter
"Forever change the Senate and our nation's highest court"
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