• Justice on the Brink

  • The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months That Transformed the Supreme Court
  • By: Linda Greenhouse
  • Narrated by: Beth Hicks
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Politics & Social Sciences, Law
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

“This landmark new book gives us an invaluable perspective on the Supreme Court in democracy’s hour of maximum danger.” (Jon Meacham)

The gripping story of the year that transformed the Supreme Court into the court of Donald Trump and Amy Coney Barrett, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning law columnist for The New York Times

At the end of the Supreme Court’s 2019-20 term, the center was holding. The predictions that the court would move irrevocably to the far right hadn’t come to pass, as the justices released surprisingly moderate opinions in cases involving abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, and how local governments could respond to the pandemic, all shepherded by Chief Justice John Roberts. By the end of the 2020-21 term, much about the nation’s highest court had changed. The right-wing supermajority had completed its first term on the bench, cementing Donald Trump’s legacy on American jurisprudence.

This is the story of those 12 months. From the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the rise of Amy Coney Barrett, from the pandemic to the election, from the Trump campaign’s legal challenges to the ongoing debate about the role of religion in American life, the Supreme Court has been at the center of many of the biggest events of the year, with the liberal justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer outnumbered six to three. Throughout Justice on the Brink, legendary journalist Linda Greenhouse, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her Supreme Court coverage, gives us unique insight into a court under stress, providing the context and brilliant analysis readers of her work in The New York Times have come to expect.

Ultimately, Greenhouse asks a fundamental question relevant to all Americans: Is this still John Roberts’ Supreme Court, or does the court now belong to Donald Trump? 

©2021 Linda Greenhouse (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Linda Greenhouse has written what is, hands down, the best book about the Supreme Court, its inner dynamics, and its place in the nation’s political and social life at least since Alexander Bickel’s classic, The Least Dangerous Branch, written in 1962. Choosing this pivotal moment in the flow of America’s history to open a revealing window into the history and workings of our highest court and a peek into its future and our own was a stroke of genius. Her account of the court from the death of Ruth Ginsburg to the rise of Amy Barrett moves at the pace of a thriller and teaches more about the court as an institution and the law as a discipline than any book of its length has any right to do.” (Laurence H. Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law Emeritus, Harvard Law School)

 “Linda Greenhouse’s surpassing ability to decode the Supreme Court and consummate storytelling illuminate a truly watershed year. This is the book to read and reread for anyone wanting to understand what lies behind this pivotal time for American law and the legitimacy of American institutions.” (Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard University, and former dean, Harvard Law School)

“Linda Greenhouse is a kind of Gibbon of the Supreme Court, a chronicler of such perception and such depth that it is difficult to imagine how we could understand this vital and opaque institution without her. As Americans, we are nearly overwhelmed by coverage of the presidency and of the Congress, but the court remains stubbornly elusive ― except to Greenhouse.” (Jon Meacham, winner of the Pulitzer Prize)

What listeners say about Justice on the Brink

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A Must Read, Then A Must Act.

We need the average American to care more about what has happened to our separation of church and state in this country. At this point in time we are one decision away from being a country that prioritizes religion on all levels. We have a supreme court where the majority of the sitting justices were elected by presidents that didn't win the popular vote. We need to abolish the Electoral College and we need to have the highest court in our land being more representative of the people that live here and not the minority. #ReligionPoisonsEverything

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Supreme Court Compromised

As an avid follower of the U.S. Supreme court rulings, I had to brace myself to read this book. It speaks to the power given to ideology over the rule of law. The assault on voting rights and women’s rights and gay rights became almost unwinnable when Amy Barret replaced the court’s most respected liberal voice. That 7 of the 9 justices are staunch Catholics from elite schools is a red flag to the court’s ability to represent we the people. The book ends with the suggestion that our highest judicial review has already fallen over the brink. Help!

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Learned A Lot!

I struggled to understand because of my nieve and inadequate understanding of the Supreme Court.

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  • SB
  • 01-15-22

Intriguing overview

Linda Greenhouse has clearly witnessed the present SCOTUS and recorded the beginning of a drama to affect the country. Good to see she is still reporting. Look forward to her next effort.