Interview with Michael Waldman
author of "The Supermajority: How the Supreme Court Divided America"
Michael Waldman, author of "The Supermajority: How the Supreme Court Divided America"
Michael Waldman's Website
Michael Waldman is president and CEO of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. A nonpartisan law and policy institute that focuses on improving systems of democracy and justice, the Brennan Center is a leading national voice on voting rights, money in politics, criminal justice reform, and constitutional law. Waldman, a constitutional lawyer and writer who is an expert on the presidency and American democracy, has led the Center since 2005. He was a member of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States in 2021.
Waldman was director of speechwriting for President Bill Clinton from 1995 to 1999, serving as assistant to the president. He was responsible for writing or editing nearly two thousand speeches, including four State of the Union and two inaugural addresses. He was special assistant to the president for policy coordination from 1993 to 1995.
Waldman is the author of the forthcoming book The Supermajority: How the Supreme Court Divided America (Simon & Schuster, June 6, 2023). The court’s 2022–2023 term, he argues, was the most consequential in decades, with decisions such as Dobbs, Bruen, and West Virginia v. EPA reshaping American politics. Waldman explains how the court has gained so much power over Americans’ lives with so little connection to the public will. He shows the supermajority’s dangerous reliance on a newfound, radical “originalism.” He traces the similarities between this court and its most activist and controversial predecessors. And he offers a path forward. Kirkus Reviews called it “a damning account of a Supreme Court gone wildly activist in shredding the Constitution.” Jane Mayer of The New Yorker called The Supermajority “nothing less than a public service.”
Waldman is also the author of The Fight to Vote (Simon & Schuster, 2016, reissued in 2022), a history of the struggle to win voting rights for all citizens. The Fight to Vote was a Washington Post notable nonfiction book for 2016. The Post wrote, “Waldman’s important and engaging account demonstrates that over the long term, the power of the democratic ideal prevails — as long as the people so demand.” The Wall Street Journal called it “an engaging, concise history of American voting practices,” and the Miami Herald described it as “an important history in an election year.”
Waldman is also the author of The Second Amendment: A Biography (Simon & Schuster, 2014). Publishers Weekly called it “the best narrative of its subject.” In the New York Times, Joe Nocera called it “rigorous, scholarly, but accessible.” The Los Angeles Times wrote, “[Waldman’s] calm tone and habit of taking the long view offers a refreshing tonic in this most loaded of debates.” In a Cardozo Law Review symposium devoted to the book, a historian wrote, “The Second Amendment is, without doubt, among the best efforts at melding constitutional history and constitutional law on any topic — at least since the modern revival of originalism two generations ago.”
His previous books are My Fellow Americans: The Most Important Speeches of America’s Presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama (2003, reissued 2010), A Return to Common Sense (2007), POTUS Speaks (2000), and Who Robbed America? A Citizen’s Guide to the S&L Scandal (1990).
His frequent appearances on television and radio to discuss policy, the presidency, and the law include 60 Minutes, All In with Chris Hayes, CBS Evening News, Good Morning America, Meet the Press Daily, Morning Joe, NBC Nightly News, Nightline, PBS NewsHour, and the Rachel Maddow Show, as well as NPR’s All Things Considered, Fresh Air, and Morning Edition. He writes for Bloomberg, Democracy, the New York Times, Politico, Reuters, Slate, the Daily Beast, the Washington Post, and other national publications.
The Book: "The Supermajority: How the Supreme Court Divided America"
ISBN: 1668006065Get the book
An incisive analysis of how the Supreme Court’s new conservative supermajority is overturning decades of law and leading the country in a dangerous political direction.
In The Supermajority, Michael Waldman explores the tumultuous 2021–2022 Supreme Court term. He draws deeply on history to examine other times the Court veered from the popular will, provoking controversy and backlash. And he analyzes the most important new rulings and their implications for the law and for American society. Waldman asks: What can we do when the Supreme Court challenges the country?
Over three days in June 2022, the conservative supermajority overturned the constitutional right to abortion, possibly opening the door to reconsider other major privacy rights, as Justice Clarence Thomas urged. The Court sharply limited the authority of the EPA, reducing the prospects for combatting climate change. It radically loosened curbs on guns amid an epidemic of mass shootings. It fully embraced legal theories such as “originalism” that will affect thousands of cases throughout the country.
These major decisions—and the next wave to come—will have enormous ramifications for every American.
It was the most turbulent term in memory—with the leak of the opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the first Black woman justice sworn in, and the justices turning on each other in public, Waldman previews the 2022–2023 term and how the brewing fights over the Supreme Court and its role that already have begun to reshape politics.
The Supermajority is a revelatory examination of the Supreme Court at a time when its dysfunction—and the demand for reform—are at the center of public debate.