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Seriously, Read a Book!

Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...

Currently reading

The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking
Mike Rohde
The Antidote
Oliver Burkeman
The Kind Worth Killing
Peter Swanson
Data Points: Visualization That Means Something
Nathan Yau
James Buchanan
Jean H. Baker, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court

Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court - Jeff Shesol

So, as it turns out, Franklin Roosevelt hated old people. Ok, maybe that's a lie, but age did play a factor in the bout between FDR and the 'nine old men' (as the justices came to be known during this supreme court debacle). 

My super simple history summary goes something like this: FDR wins in landslide, and the Dems take both houses of Congress. However, there's this whole third branch still to contend with (at least according to the School House Rock classic Three Ring Government) which keeps on striking down New Deal legislation. (This is the part where fans of constitutional law will really get their jollies!) FDR tries to make it mandatory for justices to retire at 70, or at least have like young escort judges or something, but that went as well as attempts to take away old peoples' licenses after a string of farmers markets being mowed down a few years back. 

Here, allow me to illustrate that comparison for you:

The next option, the one that gets all the press, is to "pack the court" (hey, you only need a majority vote, which is easy to get if you toss a few more judges in the mix). Then, a lot more stuff happens, all of which you can read about in this well-written book. It does a great job of giving you an 'evenly baked' view of the issues through case law, biographical glimpses of the key players, social history and some great gossip floating around at the time. 

As mentioned before, this is definitely a great read for fans of constitutional law and/or those curious about the mysterious supreme court of ours. If you enjoyed Jeffrey Toobin's The Nine, then this will be right up your alley.