“With Supreme Inequality, Adam Cohen has built, brick by brick, an airtight case against the Supreme Court of the last half-century...Cohen’s book is a closing statement in the case against an institution tasked with protecting the vulnerable, which has emboldened the rich and powerful instead.” —Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor, Slate
A revelatory examination of the conservative direction of the Supreme Court over the last fifty years.
In Supreme Inequality, bestselling author Adam Cohen surveys the most significant Supreme Court rulings since the Nixon era and exposes how, contrary to what Americans like to believe, the Supreme Court does little to protect the rights of the poor and disadvantaged; in fact, it has not been on their side for fifty years. Cohen proves beyond doubt that the modern Court has been one of the leading forces behind the nation’s soaring level of economic inequality, and that an institution revered as a source of fairness has been systematically making America less fair.
A triumph of American legal, political, and social history, Supreme Inequality holds to account the highest court in the land and shows how much damage it has done to America’s ideals of equality, democracy, and justice for all.
Conservative justices are giving the rich more money and power and the rest of America more inequality, discrimination, and jail time, according to this impassioned but one-sided indictment of recent Supreme Court jurisprudence. Journalist and lawyer Cohen (Imbeciles) recaps the Court's rightward drift since the 1969 retirement of Chief Justice Earl Warren as majorities led by Warren Burger, William Rehnquist, and John Roberts have, in his view, turned a cold shoulder to welfare recipients; undermined unions and restricted workers' rights to sue employers for discrimination; abandoned school desegregation; disenfranchised minority voters by gutting the Voting Rights Act and upholding voter ID laws; eroded criminal due process protections and condoned draconian sentencing laws; shielded companies from lawsuits; and overturned campaign-finance laws and boosted the political influence of wealthy donors and corporations. Cohen highlights such questionable Court rulings as a 2003 decision upholding a defendant's 25-years-to-life sentence for shoplifting videotapes, but dismisses the free-speech considerations informing the 2010 Citizens United campaign-finance ruling. His criticisms of the Court often center on its refusal to impose progressive policies such as mandatory busing to integrate schools and basic income guarantees. The result is a blistering critique in which politics overshadow constitutional principles.