From renowned political theorist James MacGregor Burns, an incisive critique of the overreaching power of an ideological Supreme Court
For decades, Pulitzer Prize-winner James MacGregor Burns has been one of the great masters of the study of power and leadership in America. In Packing the Court, he turns his eye to the U.S. Supreme Court, an institution that he believes has become more powerful, and more partisan, than the founding fathers ever intended. In a compelling and provocative narrative, Burns reveals how the Supreme Court has served as a reactionary force in American politics at critical moments throughout the nation's history, and concludes with a bold proposal to rein in the court's power.
Pulitzer-winning historian Burns gives a brisk, readable tour of the history of the appointment of Supreme Court justices since 1789. In this respect, the book is fresh and compelling. But Burns (Running Alone) has another aim. Particularly aggrieved by the Rehnquist and Roberts courts, he argues that every president since Washington has sought to fill the Court with justices who think as he does; that judicial review is unconstitutional; that the unelected Court has never been "politically accountable to the American people";and that a courageous president (like Barack Obama, he suggests) should simply announce that, like Andrew Jackson, he won't abide by Supreme Court rulings that invalidate laws enacted by Congress and signed by him. Known for the liberal flags he flies, Burns runs up the radical pennant here. There's no evidence that the American people are as aggrieved over the Court as Burns is. And the term "packing" should be reserved, as until now it has been, for extreme manipulative efforts like FDR's. This is a terrific little book save for its politics run amok.