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“Hartmann delivers a full-throated indictment of the U.S. Supreme Court in this punchy polemic." —Publishers Weekly
Thom Hartmann, the most popular progressive radio host in America and a New York Times bestselling author, explains how the Supreme Court has spilled beyond its Constitutional powers and how we the people should take that power back.
Taking his typically in-depth, historically informed view, Thom Hartmann asks, What if the Supreme Court didn't have the power to strike down laws? According to the Constitution, it doesn't. From the founding of the republic until 1803, the Supreme Court was the final court of appeals, as it was always meant to be. So where did the concept of judicial review start? As so much of modern American history, it began with the battle between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, and with Marbury v. Madison.
Hartmann argues it is not the role of the Supreme Court to decide what the law is but rather the duty of the people themselves. He lays out the history of the Supreme Court of the United States, since Alexander Hamilton's defense to modern-day debates, with key examples of cases where the Supreme Court overstepped its constitutional powers. The ultimate remedy to the Supreme Court's abuse of power is with the people--the ultimate arbiter of the law--using the ballot box. America does not belong to the kings and queens; it belongs to the people.
Progressive radio host Hartmann (The Hidden History of Guns and the Second Amendment) delivers a full-throated indictment of the U.S. Supreme Court in this punchy polemic. The court is responsible for "literally billions of dollars of politically poisonous cash flowing from corporations and ideologically motivated billionaires into the bloodstream of our body politic," Hartmann declares, blaming the U.S. Constitution's elevation of property rights "above most everything else"; the justices' lifetime appointments; and the 1803 Marbury v. Madison ruling, which gave the court the power to declare laws unconstitutional. Hartmann sketches the court's contentious decisions, including 1896's Plessy v. Ferguson (which upheld racial segregation) and 2010's Citizens United v. FEC (which granted free speech protections to corporate campaign spending), and alleges that every Republican president since Richard Nixon (with the exception of Gerald Ford) has committed crimes in order to pack the court with conservatives. His suggestions to "break the right-wing stranglehold" on the court include imposing 18-year term limits and introducing cameras to public sessions. Hartmann cherry-picks his examples and vacillates between arguing that the court doesn't reflect popular opinion and is too beholden to it. As a result, this crash course in judicial history is unlikely to change minds.