JEFF SHESOL - SUPREME POWER

You may remember that a month ago, Barbara wrote enthusiastically about Jeff Shesol's new book, SUPREME POWER: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court (Norton, $27.95). Well, tonight (Thursday, April 22) you have the opportunity to meet him as he converses with E.J. Dionne about the subject. Shesol's book is a cogent reminder how precarious commitment to the Constitution and civil rights can be, even during the administrations of presidents who seemed to embrace them. Shesol tells in intricate detail how President Roosevelt, in a shoddy and duplicitous maneuver, attempted to manipulate the number of seats on the Supreme Court in an effort to defeat the conservative majority. The President went to great lengths to denigrate the court, tastelessly suggesting that the Gridiron Club was a more appropriate court of appeal. Shosel assesses Roosevelt’s court-packing as the work of an arrogant and delusional president, the same president that we continue to revere because of his avowed dedication to civil rights. Did that make him a bad president? Not at all. Like all great men, he had his own pockets of hypocrisy, and his surreptitious attempt to pack the Court with liberal justices painfully reminds us of the endless need to remain vigilant about our constitutional freedoms even in seemingly safe political environments. This will be a fantastic discussion. Please join us!

-- Barbara & Carla

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