Author Topic: The Warrin’ Court  (Read 216 times)

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The Warrin’ Court
« on: December 11, 2023, 03:46:16 pm »
The Warrin’ Court

REVIEW: ‘The Court at War: FDR, His Justices, and the World They Made’ by Cliff Sloan

Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court April 1940 (Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress)

Ilya Shapiro
December 10, 2023

When I first learned there was a new book out about the Supreme Court during the Second World War, I was intrigued but apprehensive. We seem to be living through yet another surge in interest in the last war that all Americans felt good about, with Band of Brothers rereleased on Netflix. But what does that have to do with the nine robed gentlemen—Sandra Day O’Connor wouldn’t arrive till 1981, though the first female clerk, Lucile Lomen, happened to serve in 1944-45—at the "marble palace" on One First Street?

This would be about the military trial of the German saboteurs washed up on Long Island, right? Plus the "case that will live in infamy," approving the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast? And maybe a smattering of rulings upholding New Deal economic policies as essential to the war effort? Well, yes, the unusual Ex parte Quirin—ruling first, reasoning months later, after the executions—and the discredited Korematsu are the alpha and omega of Cliff Sloan’s The Court at War, and there’s one (but only one) chapter on industrial policy. But this isn’t a compendium of the Court’s military-related jurisprudence, or at least not exclusively that. Nor is at an earnest series of vignettes about aged lawyers rolling up their sleeves, buying bonds, and otherwise behaving as good citizens on the home front—though Justice Frank Murphy did go so far as enlist in the Army reserves.

Instead, it’s a story of a nation at war told through the lens not just of its High Court but of justices selected almost entirely by its wartime president. By the time of Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt had appointed seven of the nine justices and made an eighth their chief. That’s why this book is at base a hagiography of FDR himself, emphasizing that, even as the justices famously fought among themselves, most of them maintained deep loyalty to their patron.

No government in the 12,000 years of modern mankind history has led its people into anything but the history books with a simple lesson, don't let this happen to you.