It’s not even been a full year since the absolute sensation that was the confirmation trial of Brett Kavanaugh and boy, were we all tried. With “Spartacus” moments, accusations of gang rape, and questions about beer in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it semed like something out of a movie. But it was real life, and as we all know, it ended with the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh became President Trump’s second Supreme Court confirmation and if Trump wins in 2020, he could get one or two more. So it’s imperative that we reflect on what happened during the Kavanugh trial and what that means for the future of the Supreme Court and future justices. Justice on Trial by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino does just that, with amazing precision and historical insight. If you’re into politics and the court, you need to read this book.
First off, I’d just like us to reflect on what a FEAT it is that this book, which was published in July 2019, even exists so early. Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation trial started in September 2018, and Hemingway and Severino could never have anticipated how contentious it would be, even before the allegations against Kavanaugh from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford were made public. The turnaround time on this book is amazing, especially since it is 300 pages of meticulously researched history and moment-by-moment decision making by the key players, from Trump to Grassley to Collins and McGahn. Everyone’s role is account for in this book.
Secondly, this book reads like a political thriller, something you’d pick up off the shelf and devour on an airplane. There’s backroom decisions, congressmen conferring amongst themselves, leaked emails, the greatest lines from Sen. Graham, and motorcades chased by protestors. Sure, you saw most of this play out firsthand in the media, that’s the issue with such a “current issues book” but this book offers a lot of insight into the decisions being made off CNN and Fox News’ live broadcasts, and provides a lot of historical context for those of us who weren’t alive during the Bork confirmation that is so infamous it spawned a verb.
If you’re into politics and the court, even if you aren’t the kind of nerd that loves reading court opinions, you’ll be entranced by this book. Even as someone who worked as a journalist during the trial (my first day of work coincided with the first day of the confirmation process…) I feel that I learned a lot from this book and it also helped jog my memory about some of the crazier things that happened during the process. Give this book a read!