The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America

Book description

Thom Hartmann, the most popular progressive radio host in America and a New York Times bestselling author, explains how the Supreme Court has spilled beyond its Constitutional powers and how we the people should take that power back.

Taking his typically in-depth, historically informed view, Thom Hartmann asks, What if the Supreme Court didn't have the power to strike down laws? According to the Constitution, it doesn't. From the founding of the republic until 1803, the Supreme Court was the final court of appeals, as it was always meant to be. So where did the concept of judicial review start? As so much of modern American history, it began with the battle between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, and with Marbury v. Madison. 

Hartmann argues it is not the role of the Supreme Court to decide what the law is but rather the duty of the people themselves. He lays out the history of the Supreme Court of the United States, since Alexander Hamilton's defense to modern-day debates, with key examples of cases where the Supreme Court overstepped its constitutional powers. The ultimate remedy to the Supreme Court's abuse of power is with the people--the ultimate arbiter of the law--using the ballot box. America does not belong to the kings and queens; it belongs to the people.

Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Contents
  5. Introduction: A Rebellion against the Monarchy
    1. In the Beginning . . .
    2. A Suicide Pact
    3. Corporate America Seizes the Court
  6. Part One: The Hidden History of Judicial Review
    1. The Founders’ Vision
    2. The Glue That Binds Us Together
    3. A Bold Experiment
    4. Debating the Supreme Court
    5. Where Does the New Buck Stop?
    6. The Power Grab
    7. Whoever Controls the Law Controls the Country
    8. Jefferson: “The People Themselves”
    9. Who Decides What the Constitution Means?
    10. The Powell Memo and the Court
    11. Partisan Politics in “Original Intent”
    12. Originalism Is Joined by Textualism
    13. One True Spokesman
    14. Clear Preferences versus Ambiguities
    15. The Corruption of the Court Itself
    16. Fossil Fuels Seize the Court
    17. Right-Wing Takeover and Corporate Handouts
    18. The Constitution Afflicts the Afflicted and Comforts the Comfortable
    19. The Constitution Protects Property and Its Owners
    20. The Constitution Protects Killers and Slave Owners
    21. The Constitution Prefers Property Rights to Human Rights
    22. The Constitution Protects Takers, Not the Taken
  7. Part Two: The Hidden History of the People and the Court
    1. The Supreme Court versus Labor
    2. Haymarket and Allgeyer: The Public Turns against Labor and the Court Follows
    3. The Great Depression: The Public Embraces Labor and the Supreme Court Follows
    4. FDR Tries to Pack the Supreme Court
    5. The Court Devastates Union Rights
    6. The Supreme Court versus Civil Rights
    7. “Separate but Equal”: Created by the Court, Ended through Popular Struggle
    8. The Road to Plessy
    9. Charles Houston and the Long Slog to End Jim Crow
    10. Brown: The Supreme Court Overrules Itself
    11. How Roe Empowered the Right
    12. The Supreme Court and the Environment
    13. Local Zoning Law as Early Environmental Law
    14. Protecting the Environment Goes Federal
    15. The Planet’s Future on Trial
    16. In Nature’s Trust
    17. Our Children’s Trust
    18. A New Hurdle to Climate Justice
    19. How Communities Fight Back
    20. How Idealogues and Partisans Seized the Court: From Nixon to Trump
    21. Reagan and the Court
    22. George H. W. Bush Avoids Prosecution
    23. George W. Bush and the Court
    24. An Astroturf Resistance in Florida
    25. Trump and the Court
    26. If We’d Had Clean Elections
  8. Part Three: To Save the Planet, Democratize, and Modernize the Supreme Court
    1. Regulating the Number of Justices on the Court
    2. Term Limits
    3. Cameras in the Courtroom
    4. The Constitutional Amendment Remedy for an Out-of-Control Court
    5. The Last Resort: Strip the Courts
    6. The Roberts Plan to Strip the Courts
    7. Court Stripping in the 20th Century
    8. A Planetary Emergency
    9. Taking Democracy Back from the Court
  9. Notes
  10. Acknowledgments
  11. Index
  12. About the Author

Product information

  • Title: The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America
  • Author(s): Thom Hartmann
  • Release date: October 2019
  • Publisher(s): Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • ISBN: 9781523085972