Advice & Consent: Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, and the Intriguing History of the Supreme Court's Nomination Battles
The televised coverage of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings raised the profile of the Supreme Court in America's collective consciousness, sensitizing the public to the Court's power and deficiencies. The Court was exposed to public view as the last word on abortion, the death penalty, privacy and other major issues of our time. Never again will Supreme Court nominees remain anonymous, nor will Senators be immune from voter rejection because of their decisions on proposed justices.
Simon, author of twelve previous books, an historian and professional journalist, chronicles the often tumultuous role of the Senate in confirmation conflicts. The Thomas and Bork confrontations are not unique in our history. President Washington's battle to get John Rutledge confirmed as Chief Justice (Rutledge attempted suicide after being voted down) was a controversial and bitter fight. Politics and scandals, not legal ability, have surfaced in Supreme Court appointments from the beginning.
Paul Simon, a leading member of the Judiciary Committee, proposes changing the Supreme Court nomination process to reflect new realities and Constitutional intentions. Supreme Court appointments, the most important decisions that the President and Senators make during their careers, affect the lives of all Americans from the cradle to the grave and from abortion to the death penalty.
Advice & Consent emphasizes the Bork and Thomas hearings and reveals the hidden politics that go on behind closed doors. Senator Simon provides his perspective on who was telling the truth in the Anita Hill v. Clarence Thomas hearings, and how he and his Judiciary Committee colleagues handled the explosive issues examined in the hearings.
The history of the Supreme Court is filled with surprises, controversial characters and impeachable offenses. Simon portrays the impeachment trial of "wild" Samuel Chase in vivid detail so that the reader can relive that incredible episode in our history. The author explores dramatic episodes involving Abe Fortas, the first Supreme Court victim of a Senate filibuster, who was saved from the possibility of an impeachment trial by his resignation. Advice & Consent probes the allegations against LBJ's friend Homer Thornberry and covers details of Nixon's rejected appointees, Clement Haynsworth and Harrold Carswell.
Although Simon is a lifelong Democrat he criticizes Presidents and Senators of both parties when he feels they abused the nomination process. He is critical of Franklin Roosevelt's plan to pack the Supreme Court, but applauds certain appointments made by Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford. Simon provides the reader with his vision for the future, his historical perspective and his balanced presentation of the fascinating but forgotten history of appointments to the Court of Last Resort.
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Foreword by Laurence Tribe
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