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Unpublished Paper
Book Review: SUPREME POWER by Jeff Shesol. New York: W.W. Norton Press, 2009.
ExpressO (2010)
  • Craig L. Jackson


Jeff Shesol’s latest book, SUPREME POWER, is a detailed account of the Roosevelt Administration’s efforts to forge fundamental change in government policy during the Depression, and the obstacles to that change coming from the Supreme Court. Many readers have noticed similarities between the Roosevelt story as portrayed by Shesol and the current administration leading many to consider whether the experiences of the 1930s can be instructive for the current political/economic climate. Underlying policy, whatever the era, is law and a concurrent inquiry to the policy lessons is whether or not the Roberts Court is likely to be as critical in the success or failure of the Obama Administration’s initiatives as the Hughes Court was in the 30s with regard to the programs of the Roosevelt Administration.

The review is descriptive while at the same time supplies the legal doctrinal background to some of the complex legal issues that created the conflict between the Presidency and the Judiciary. This was a conflict so intense that the President attempted to alter the structure of the Court to accomplish what many assumed were economic policy goals essential to the survival of the Union. The intensity of those beliefs then raise important issues for the present day. The review attempts to describe the details and draw out the similarities which seemingly is the theme of the author, in his extensively researched book.

Publication Date
July 23, 2010
Citation Information
Craig L. Jackson. "Book Review: SUPREME POWER by Jeff Shesol. New York: W.W. Norton Press, 2009." ExpressO (2010)
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