A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other: The Deepening Divide Between the Justices and the People

Univ. of Chicago. Apr. 2024. 400p. ISBN 9780226831084. pap. $24. POL SCI
McMahon (political science, Trinity Coll.; Nixon’s Court) presents a well-researched, thoroughly annotated examination of the change in the U.S. Supreme Court’s composition over time. Broken into historical timelines with context, the striking contrast between Antonin Scalia’s career (once held as the needle of conservatism) and today’s bench (including three Trump nominees) becomes obvious. The research is supported by a profusion of charts that demonstrate how nomination criteria and political platform loyalty have changed over time, moving justices farther away from the beliefs of their constituents and communities. The book makes it easy to understand the mood of the country in any given era, as it is clarified by the inclusion of relevant cases, headlines, and election results. The visuals when describing the ramifications of a numerical minority are especially effective at demonstrating how a small group of people can wield vast political influence.
VERDICT McMahon’s exemplary ability to explain the changes in party politics, ideologies, and political practices helps readers to visualize the monstrous philosophical gap between the judges and their electorate. This confirms his thesis that judicial independence is creating judicial isolation, to the detriment of the country. The book will appeal to voracious consumers of political thought and current events.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing