Closed Chambers: The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court

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9780143035275: Closed Chambers: The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court

When Closed Chambers was first published, it was met with a firestorm of controversy—as well as a shower of praise—for being the first book to break the code of silence about the inner workings of this country’s most powerful court. In this eloquent, trailblazing account, with a new chapter covering Bush v. Gore, Guantanamo, and other recent controversial court decisions, Edward Lazarus, who served as a clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun, presents a searing indictment of a court at war with itself and often in neglect of its constitutional duties. Combining memoir, history, and legal analysis, Lazarus reveals in astonishing detail the realities of what takes place behind the closed doors of the U.S. Supreme Court—an institution that through its rulings holds the power to affect the life of every American.

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Edward Lazarus, a former Supreme Court clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun, spills the beans on an institution that values silence. Nobody is supposed to understand what happens behind the scenes of the high court--that's why the justices rarely speak to the media--but Lazarus tells all he knows from his time as a top aide to Blackmun in the Supreme Court's 1988 term. There's a lot of legal theory and history, but it's well presented and usually focuses on touchstone issues in U.S. politics; cases involving abortion, the death penalty, and racial preferences receive sustained treatment in these pages. There are gossipy bits, too, revealing unflattering details about several current justices. Sure to be one of the more controversial books of the year. --John J. Miller

From the Inside Flap:

The Supreme Court of the United States is the most powerful court in the world.  It is also the branch of our government most shrouded in mystery, misunderstanding, and myth..  Isolated in a marble temple, supposedly insulated from the pressures of politics, nine unelected Justices are charged with protecting our most cherished rights and shaping our fundamental laws.  They are assisted by roughly thirty-six law clerks each year, the best and brightest  of the nation's young lawyers, who routinely  go on to fill the highest ranks of our government, courts, law schools, and law firms.

Never before has one of these clerks stepped forward to reveal how the Court really works--and why it often fails the country and the cause of justice. In this groundbreaking book, award-winning historian Edward Lazarus, a former clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun, guides the reader through the Court's inner sanctum, explaining as only an eyewitness can the collisions of law, politics, and personality as the Justices wrestle with the most fiercely disputed issues of our time.  Part memoir, past history, and all spellbinding narrative, Closed Chambers provides an intimate portrait and devastating  critique--Justice by Justice--of a court at war with itself and in neglect of its constitutional  duties.

From the conservative Chief Justice Rehnquist's apparent attempt to influence the 1992 election by delaying a crucial abortion case to liberal champion Justice William Brennan's ill-conceived and ultimately self-defeating campaign to sabotage the death penalty, Lazarus's riveting account shows us a Court broken into scheming factions whose members resort to crass political calculations and transparently hypocritical arguments as they discard legal principles for bottomline results.  The Justices further compound this cliquish antagonism by granting excessive power to immature, ideologically driven clerks, who then use that power to manipulate their bosses and the institution they ostensibly serve.

Edward Lazarus took part in the Court's internal battles over the death penalty, affirmative action, abortion, and other momentous issues.  Here, he weaves together past and present to show us in astonishing detail not only the tragic failings of the modern Court, but also what led to them, and why they are so devastating for the nation.  Unprecedented in its revelations and unparalleled in the brilliance of its analysis, Closed Chambers is the most important book on the Supreme Court in a generation.

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Book Description Penguin Books. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 608 pages. Dimensions: 7.8in. x 5.1in. x 1.6in.When Closed Chambers was first published, it was met with a firestorm of controversyas well as a shower of praisefor being the first book to break the code of silence about the inner workings of this countrys most powerful court. In this eloquent, trailblazing account, with a new chapter covering Bush v. Gore, Guantanamo, and other recent controversial court decisions, Edward Lazarus, who served as a clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun, presents a searing indictment of a court at war with itself and often in neglect of its constitutional duties. Combining memoir, history, and legal analysis, Lazarus reveals in astonishing detail the realities of what takes place behind the closed doors of the U. S. Supreme Courtan institution that through its rulings holds the power to affect the life of every American. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780143035275

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