Becoming Justice Blackmun by Linda Greenhouse
Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey

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Synopsis

A Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent with unprecedented access to the inner workings of the U.S. Supreme Court chronicles the personal transformation of a legendary justice


From 1970 to 1994, Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1908-1999) wrote numerous landmark Supreme Court decisions, including Roe v. Wade, and participated in the most contentious debates of his era-all behind closed doors. In Becoming Justice Blackmun, Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times draws back the curtain on America's most private branch of government and reveals the backstage story of the Supreme Court through the eyes and writings of this extraordinary justice.


Greenhouse was the first print reporter to have access to Blackmun's extensive archive and his private and public papers. From this trove she has crafted a compelling narrative of Blackmun's years on the Court, showing how he never lost sight of the human beings behind the legal cases and how he was not afraid to question his own views on such controversial issues as abortion, the death penalty, and sex discrimination. Greenhouse also tells the story of how Blackmun's lifelong friendship with Chief Justice Warren E. Burger withered in the crucible of life on the nation's highest court, revealing how political differences became personal, even for the country's most respected jurists.


Becoming Justice Blackmun, written by America's preeminent Supreme Court reporter, offers a rare and wonderfully vivid portrait of the nation's highest court, including insights into many of the current justices. It is a must-read for everyone who cares about the Court and its impact on our lives.

 

About Linda Greenhouse

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Linda Greenhouse has covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times since 1978 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for her coverage of the Court. She appears regularly on the PBS program Washington Week in Review and lectures frequently on the Supreme Court at colleges and law schools. She graduated from Radcliffe College and holds a master of studies in law from Yale Law School.
 
Published April 1, 2007 by Times Books. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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On his death in 1999, writes New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Greenhouse, Harry Blackmun gave the Library of Congress his papers, “contained in 1,585 boxes that take up more than six hundred feet.” Drawing on this wealth of primary information, Greenhouse turns in a nuanced study of Bla...

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The New York Times

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By the late 1970's, Blackmun's private comments about Burger had grown ''caustic,'' and Greenhouse notes ''the disrespectful way his law clerks felt free -- or even encouraged -- to refer to the chief justice.'' The two old friends changed on the court, Blackmun more than Burger.

May 08 2005 | Read Full Review of Becoming Justice Blackmun: Ha...

The New York Times

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Linda Greenhouse tells a judicial Horatio Alger story and a tale of a remarkable transformation.

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Book Reporter

Justice Blackmun served on the Court until.

Dec 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Becoming Justice Blackmun: Ha...

USA Today

The press labeled them conservatives and nicknamed them "the Minnesota Twins."Becoming Justice Blackmun describes the unraveling of that friendship as Blackmun gradually emerged as the court's most liberal justice.

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