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David A. Kaplan, former legal affairs reporter of Newsweek, will discuss his new book, The Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Court’s Assault on the Constitution, in conversation with Burt Neuborne, the Norman Dorsen Professor of Civil Liberties and founding Legal Director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School.
The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, and the recent confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, have reminded us that the Court has never before been more central in American life. The justices have often ruled on the most controversial issues of our time—from abortion and same-sex marriage, to gun control, campaign finance and voting rights. The Court is so crucial that, according to polls, many voters in 2016 made their choice of presidential candidate based on whom they thought a candidate would name to the Court.
Kaplan’s new book is based on his exclusive interviews with the justices and dozens of their law clerks. He and Neuborne will discuss what Kaplan argues is the justices’ aggrandizement of power over the decades — from Roe v. Wade, to Bush v. Gore, to Citizens United, to rulings during the 2017-18 term. But the arrogance of the Court, he stresses, isn’t partisan: Conservative and liberal justices alike are guilty of overreach, a topic Kaplan and Neuborne will also address.