• The Most Dangerous Branch

  • Inside the Supreme Court's Assault on the Constitution
  • By: David A. Kaplan
  • Narrated by: Dan Woren
  • Length: 16 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (158 ratings)

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The Most Dangerous Branch

By: David A. Kaplan
Narrated by: Dan Woren
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Publisher's summary

In the bestselling tradition of The Nine and The Brethren, The Most Dangerous Branch takes us inside the secret world of the Supreme Court. David A. Kaplan, the former legal affairs editor of Newsweek, shows how the justices subvert the role of the other branches of government—and how we’ve come to accept it at our peril.

With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court has never before been more central in American life. It is the nine justices who too often now decide the 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 many voters in 2016 made their choice based on whom they thought their presidential candidate would name to the Court. Donald Trump picked Neil Gorsuch—the key decision of his new administration. Brett Kavanaugh—replacing Kennedy—will be even more important, holding the swing vote over so much social policy. Is that really how democracy is supposed to work?

Based on exclusive interviews with the justices and dozens of their law clerks, Kaplan provides fresh details about life behind the scenes at the Court—Clarence Thomas’s simmering rage, Antonin Scalia’s death, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s celebrity, Breyer Bingo, the petty feuding between Gorsuch and the chief justice, and what John Roberts thinks of his critics.

Kaplan presents a sweeping narrative of 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 isn’t partisan: Conservative and liberal justices alike are guilty of overreach. Challenging conventional wisdom about the Court’s transcendent power, The Most Dangerous Branch is sure to rile both sides of the political aisle.

©2018 David A. Kaplan (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“Show[s] how the justices take and rule on cases that they have, in Kaplan’s view, no legitimate role in deciding, and on the basis of legal reasoning that only barely masks partisan goals. The high-profile 5-to-4 opinions Kaplan highlights are deserving targets.”—The Washington Post

“[Describes] the behind the scenes dealing that led to the appointment of the sitting Supreme Court . . . Presented at a level of granularity with which you may not be familiar. It makes for engaging, if not reassuring, reading.”NPR

“Kaplan writes in an engaging fashion throughout this detailed book. . . . The Most Dangerous Branch couldn’t be better.”Associated Press