Rule of Law? The State of the U.S. Federal Judiciary
One of the enduring legacies of the Trump administration was a remaking of the Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary. In four years, Trump appointed three Supreme Court justices and more than 220 federal judges, shifting the balance not only on the nation's highest court but also on a significant number of appellate courts, as well. Appointments to the federal bench are lifetime, and many of these appointees are relatively young, ensuring decades of influence. From their distinct vantage points, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Slate writer and podcast host Dahlia Lithwick see these shifts as presenting significant challenges for American society.
First elected in 2006, Senator Whitehouse serves on the judiciary committee. He's also the author of The Scheme: How the Right Wing Used Dark Money to Capture the Supreme Court, which chronicles the efforts of major corporations and organizations to fill the bench with hard-line conservative judges. Whitehouse traces this movement from the Reagan administration to the landmark Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to the present. Kirkus Reviews called the book “a maddening indictment of a corrupt and corrupted judiciary.”
Lithwick is Slate's senior legal correspondent and host of the Slate podcast "Ámicus." She is also the author of Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America, highlighting the women who, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, worked to protect the country’s most marginalized groups and safeguard the rights of Americans.
Senator Whitehouse and Lithwick will join one another in conversation at the City Club to discuss their books and the state of the judiciary.
- Dahlia Lithwick Author; and Senior Legal Correspondent, Slate
- Sheldon Whitehouse United States Senator for Rhode Island