Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 49

WORTH READING

A SUPREME SHIFT
TO THE RICH & RIGHT

Review by Ronald Goldfarb

Penguin Random House

Supreme Court's social and political roles have
moved demonstrably right, and Cohen takes
readers along that sad ride to the present in
chapters examining cases involving the legal
status of welfare, crime, justice, equality in
schools, voting, campaign financing, and corporation rights.

I

n his sweeping yet detailed study
of the transition from the Warren
Court to the Roberts Court,
Adam Cohen, a lawyer-journalist
who briefly worked at the
Southern Poverty Law Center and
the American Civil Liberties Union,
makes a strong case that the
"Supreme Court has played a
critical role in building today's
America in which income
inequality is the largest it has been
in nearly a century."
Reading like a Bernie Sanders speech, Supreme
Inequality demonstrates how in the past halfcentury the Court has moved away from its
onetime commitment to the middle class and
the poor in favor of the wealthy and powerful.
"For five decades, the Court has, with striking
regularity, sided with the rich and powerful
against the poor and weak in virtually every
area of the law," Cohen writes. Since the Warren
Court's relatively brief reign (1953-1969), the

"Social welfare is not the solver of issues of
intractable economic and social problems,"
Cohen concludes in his tour of modern
constitutional law. Worse, he adds, the recent
Supreme Court invented new advantages for
wealthy individuals and corporations, rolling
back the progress the nation made in the
1960s. In National Federation of Independent
Business v. Sebelius (2012), Chief Justice John
Roberts cautioned that "the Commerce Clause
is not a general license to regulate an individual
from cradle to grave" (saving, by his vote, the
Affordable Care Act).
In recent decades post-Robert Bork, presidents
have appointed justices with "an ideological
mission," and, with few exceptions that Cohen
describes, these appointees have delivered
what they were sent to do. As a result, in the
past half-century Supreme Court rulings "have
coincided almost exactly with a period in
which economic inequality in the United States
has soared to near-historic levels," writes
Cohen.

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Not only is Cohen's scholarship impressive, but
he is also an excellent storyteller whose book
will appeal to lawyers, scholars, and educated
lay readers. His tales of insider politics in the
selection and promotion of Supreme Court
justices take readers behind the scenes of
politics and law, making for an edifying read.
Cohen concludes that "when it comes to the
law, and its many consequences for society, we
are all living in Nixon's America now." Sadly, his
possible update surely will note that the Trump
era makes Nixon's look good.
Ronald Goldfarb is an attorney, author, and
literary agent and is of counsel to Redmon, Peyton
& Braswell LLP in Alexandria, Virginia.

https://osioffices.com (202) 600-7777
manager@osioffices.com

JULY/AUGUST 2020

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WASHINGTON LAWYER 49


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Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Election Coverage
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
When Law Firms Go Remote feature
Disaster Preparedness for Lawyers feature
Staying Afloat feature
Privacy Rights During a Pandemic Feature
Hamilton's Enduring Legacy feature
Annual Report
Taking the Stand
The Learning Curve
On Further Review
Member Spotlight -
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Women's Suffrage special section
Speaking of Ethics
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Election Coverage
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 10
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - When Law Firms Go Remote feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Disaster Preparedness for Lawyers feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Staying Afloat feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Privacy Rights During a Pandemic Feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Hamilton's Enduring Legacy feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Annual Report
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 38
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Member Spotlight -
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Women's Suffrage special section
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover4
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