RaveThe Washington PostBudiansky sets out to revive Holmes’s reputation and relevance as a model of intellectual humility for our polarized age. And his readable, lively and engaging biography is so successful that it persuaded me, a Holmes skeptic, to give the Yankee from Olympus a second look ... Today, when progressives, conservatives and libertarians are all turning to the courts to overturn the judgments of legislatures, and when Twitter mobs on the right and the left attack each other with the moralistic certainty that Holmes deplored, Holmes’s intellectual humility, and his willingness to question even his own deeply held premises are humbling and inspiring. And at a time when progressives and conservatives alike are so sure of their own premises that America is more polarized than at any time since the Civil War, the \'skeptical humility,\' as Budiansky puts it, that Holmes took from the war seems more elusive, and more urgently needed, than ever.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...as Richard Brookhiser’s fine new biography, John Marshall, makes clear, the polarization of the age of Marshall matched (or even surpassed) our current battles over the composition of the Supreme Court ... As Brookhiser’s compact and balanced account makes clear, Marshall famously transformed the judicial branch into one fully equal to the president and Congress in stature and legitimacy ... although Brookhiser’s biography reminds us that American politics has always been polarized, today the polarization threatens to transform the deliberations of the court.
Jane Sherron de Hart
RaveThe Washington PostRuth Bader Ginsburg: A Life marks the first full-length biography of the justice ... RBG resisted sharing extensive reflections on her life with De Hart, and the book does not contain her candid thoughts on the future of the Supreme Court and the Constitution. Nevertheless, De Hart has written an excellent biography based on archives and interviews with colleagues and friends: In its comprehensiveness, range and attention to detail, this is a vivid account of a remarkable life ... De Hart’s chapters on the landmark cases Ginsburg argued, which were the original core of her book project, are detailed and accessible.