The Marble Palace Blog: New SCOTUS Books Are Coming Over the Backboard

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Thank you for reading The Marble Palace blog, which I hope will inform and surprise you about the Supreme Court of the United States. My name is Tony Mauro. I’ve covered the Supreme Court since 1979 and for ALM since 2000. I semi-retired in 2019, but I’m still fascinated by the high court. I will be happy to receive advice or suggestions for topics to write. You can reach me at [email protected]


For some reason, there has been a torrent of Supreme Court-related books in recent months, as well as some books that are one or more steps away from the topic. There were so many books that it was hard to read them all, or even some. (Yes, I am guilty.)

Below is a brief overview of recent books that are likely worth reading by aficionados and Supreme Court lawyers. Please let me know if I forgot any. Thanks:

Democratic Justice: Felix Frankfurter, the Supreme Court, and the Formation of the Liberal Establishment

By Brad Snyder, Georgetown law professor and author of several other books on the Supreme Court. Blurb: “Conventional wisdom holds that Felix Frankfurter was a liberal lawyer who became – surprisingly – a conservative judge. ours too.

Lady Justice and Dinners with Ruth

By Dahlia Lithwick and Nina Totenberg, consecutively. I’ve brought them together because they have a lot in common: a) Decades of incredible and immeasurable reporting on the Supreme Court. b) I’ve been a big fan of both since the day I met them in the Supreme Court press room decades ago. c) Their books came out last month and both have already made bestseller lists, with good reason. d) Both are must reads, no doubt.

Persuading the Supreme Court: The Importance of Factums in Judicial Decision Making.

By St. Louis University Political Science Professor Morgan Hazleton and Rachael Hinkle at the University at Buffalo. Blurb: “It’s no surprise that parties and outside individuals and interest groups invest about $25 million to $50 million a year to produce about a thousand amicus briefs to communicate information to judges, seeking to influence those decisions. … Persuading the Supreme Court relies on the highly written arguments submitted to the Court to shed light on both their construction and their impact.

American Crusade: How the Supreme Court is weaponizing religious freedom

By Andrew Seidel, Vice President of Strategic Communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Blurb: “Is a fight for equality and for privilege a fight for religious supremacy? A constitutional lawyer dives into the debate over religious freedom, the modern attempt to weaponize religious freedom, and the role of the Supreme Court in this “crusade.”

Regulation and imagination: legal and literary perspectives on fox hunting

Edited by Antonin Scalia Law School Professor Ross Davies, and editor of The Green Bag. Fox hunting may not seem like a Supreme Court story, but Roger Taney (Chief Justice, 1836-1864) was among the politically powerful American fox hunters of the early Republic. Henry Brockholst Livingston (Associate Judge, 1807-23) and Smith Thompson (Associate Judge, 1823-43) are also mentioned.

Introduction to Supreme Court Practices and Procedures

By Thomas Baker, Professor at Florida International University College of Law who served as acting administrative assistant to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. I asked Baker who was the audience for the primer, published by the American Bar Association: “Anyone who wants to better understand life behind the red curtains. My law students of course. But teachers and high school students up. The interested person reading and wondering about the SCOTUS, and the Scotusblog reader whether or not he has a JD”

The Supreme Court’s Practical Answer Book and The Constitution Explained

By David Hudson, Belmont University Law Professor and Freedom Forum First Amendment Fellow. He is the author of more than 40 books on subjects ranging from the Supreme Court and the Constitution to boxing, mixed martial arts, golf, horse racing and basketball. His Supreme Court Answers book offers 600 questions, including – hint, hint – what is the nickname of the Supreme Court building?

Timothy B. Dyk: The Making of a Federal Judge

By Timothy B. Dyk, longtime judge of the US Court of the Federal Circuit, and former law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren. Prior to his judgeship, Dyk had a private practice and a keen interest in the First Amendment. In the book, he recounts the failed effort to encourage the Supreme Court to allow cameras in court.

Medellin v. Texas: international justice, federalism and the execution of José Medellin

By Alan Mygatt-Tauber, Independent Appellate Lawyer who, among other things, created popular montages of lawyers arguing before the Supreme Court. He has authored a book on the Medellin International Law Case as one of the University Press of Kansas’ flagship legal case books that produces a deep dive into individual Supreme Court cases.

Servants of the Damned: Giant Law Firms, Donald Trump, and the Corruption of Justice

By David Enrich, New York Times Economic Surveys Editor. As our Law.com colleague Dan Packel puts it, this book “confuses Jones Day, but the legal industry takes a hit, too.” There are many Supreme Court angles in the book, including Supreme Court internships.

To jog your memory, here are some recent books that were mentioned in the Marble Palace Blog:

Citizen Justice: The Environmental Legacy of William O. Douglas―Public Advocate and Conservation Champion, a new look at Judge Douglas by Mr. Margaret McKeown, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

At the Altar of the Appellate Gods: Arguing before the US Supreme Court by Lisa Sarnoff Gochman, the compelling story of an early Supreme Court attorney by Gochman of the Monmouth County District Attorney’s Office in New Jersey.

Love at Deep Dusk: A Pennsylvania Story, a romance novel, yes a romance novel, by J. Harvey Wilkinson III, Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

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