This devastating book details, case by case, how the Supreme Court not just rarely lives up to our lofty expectations, it far more often has upheld discrimination and even egregious violations of basic liberties. The Roberts Court's notorious decisions--including Bush v Gore and Citizens United--are hardly recent exceptions. For two centuries the Supreme Court has been far more likely to uphold government abuses of power than to stop them.
Chemerinsky, one of the country's preeminent constitutional lawyers, shows the Court is made up of fallible people who inevitably base decisions on their own biases and prejudices. He reviews the Court's historic failure in key areas protecting minorities: strong enforcement of the rights of slave owners, the approval of segregation for more than a half century, the upholding of gender discrimination, the refusal to protect the poor from discrimination; its failure to enforce the Constitution in times of crisis, from WWI through 9/11; its consistent favor of business over employees and consumers. What was the Supreme Court intended to do? Why have a Supreme Court at all? And if it is to be kept, what changes can be made to better ensure that it will fulfill the purposes intended by the framers of the Constitution? Only someone with the stature of Erwin Chemerinsky could take on this controversial topic.