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

A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other: The Deepening Divide Between the Justices and the People By Kevin J. McMahon Cover Image

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


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A data-rich examination of the US Supreme Court's unprecedented detachment from the democratic processes that buttress its legitimacy.

Today’s Supreme Court is unlike any other in American history. This is not just because of its jurisprudence but also because the current Court has a tenuous relationship with the democratic processes that help establish its authority. Historically, this “democracy gap” was not nearly as severe as it is today. Simply put, past Supreme Courts were constructed in a fashion far more in line with the promise of democracy—that the people decide and the majority rules.

Drawing on historical and contemporary data alongside a deep knowledge of court battles during presidencies ranging from FDR to Donald Trump, Kevin J. McMahon charts the developments that brought us here. McMahon offers insight into the altered politics of nominating and confirming justices, the shifting pool of Supreme Court hopefuls, and the increased salience of the Court in elections. A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other is an eye-opening account of today’s Court within the context of US history and the broader structure of contemporary politics.

Kevin J. McMahon is the John R. Reitemeyer Professor of Political Science at Trinity College. He is also the author of Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race (winner of the Richard E. Neustadt Award), and, most recently, Nixon's Court (winner of the Erwin N. Griswold Prize).

Product Details ISBN: 9780226831084
ISBN-10: 0226831086
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: April 12th, 2024
Pages: 400
Language: English
"A cleareyed, depressingly convincing view of a Supreme Court that has abandoned the Republic for other masters."
— Kirkus

"McMahon presents a well-researched, thoroughly annotated examination of the change in the U.S. Supreme Court’s composition over time. . .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."
— Library Journal

“Beautifully written, comprehensive, and understandable, A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other blends empirical analysis with captivating legal historical anecdotes to make sense of the increasing legitimacy crisis that faces the contemporary US Supreme Court.”
— Stephen Engel | coauthor of "Disrupting Dignity: Rethinking Power and Progress in LGBTQ Lives"

“A compelling account of how the Supreme Court lost its connection to the people and risked its democratic legitimacy. McMahon makes a major contribution with innovative measures, rich historical detail, and an original call for reform ‘from the grassroots.’”
— Terri Peretti | author of "Partisan Supremacy: How the GOP Enlisted Courts to Rig America's Election Rules"