Eisenhower, who also appointed William Brennan, famously described the appointment of Warren as his most regrettable decision, and the two principals’ individuality, as well as their relationship to one another and to their associate justices, is skillfully and intelligently drawn. This is a cogently written book, especially given the complexity of many of the issues. Simon does great justice to an important segment of a critical period in American history.
What is perhaps most striking is that, with the exception of a few veiled comments in news conferences and oblique statements in their memoirs, Eisenhower and Warren kept their frustrations with each other private ... His efforts to probe Eisenhower and Warren’s relationship reveal that their differences were often more of approach than ends and represented a debate over immediate vs. incremental change ... His efforts to probe Eisenhower and Warren’s relationship reveal that their differences were often more of approach than ends and represented a debate over immediate vs. incremental change ... Simon’s veneration of Warren also creates some noticeable blind spots ... Simon’s book offers a glimmer of hope that the court can and will once again take a stand. For, as Warren’s example makes clear, such a position is not only constitutional but also morally and ethically right, and will allow the justices to join Warren on the right side of history.
Mr. Simon presents a vivid account of how Warren deferred an immediate showdown, schmoozing the Texan Tom Clark, parrying the judicial-restraint theories of former professor Felix Frankfurter, facing down the doubts of the eloquent Robert Jackson (who was perhaps echoing the arguments of his law clerk William Rehnquist) ... The fact is that Eisenhower and Warren were both acting under political constraints—something that Mr. Simon, in his gripping account, describes generously in Warren’s case but somewhat more grudgingly in Eisenhower’s.