Author News and Book Reports
Edmund Morris, Noah Feldman, and Jeffrey Toobin judge two Roosevelt Supreme Courts with today
CNN legal reporter and author of The Nine (Anchor Reprint Edition; September, 2008), Jeffrey Toobin (click here for videos of his appearance at the 2007 Miami Book Fair International) made an appearance at the 2010 BookExpo America trade convention to host a discussion with Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning biographer Edmund Morris and Harvard law professor and author Noah Feldman regarding the two 20th century Roosevelt presidencies and their Supreme Court Justices compared to today's Court and politics. Toobin began the discussion with Edmund Morris, who introduced the final Book in his award-winning trilogy detailing the life and times of Theodore Roosevelt, Colonel Roosevelt (Random House; November, 2010), followed by acclaimed Harvard professor of international law Noah Feldman's intro of his history of the 'battles and triumphs' of four of Franklin Roosevelt's Supreme Court Justices Scorpions (Twelve; November, 2010). Morris then recounted 'Teddy' Roosevelt's remarkable life post-presidency, which began when he was just 50 years old and ended ten years later at the age of 60, after a year of hunting in Kenya, whereuponhe had become the most famous person on earth, and couldn't resist running for the White House again in a historic third-party Bull Moose Party campaing, during which, at one point, he was nearly assassinated, yet gave his campaign speech anyway, declaring, 'It takes more than that to kill a bull moose.' Feldman next drew an ironic, nuanced portrait of one of FDR's most controversial Supreme Court Justice, Felix Frankfurter, an immigrant who came to public notice for his advocacy for justice in the historic case of Italian immigrants and self-proclaimed anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, but who later, as Supreme Court Justice advocated judicial restraint and state's rights, yet was in the majority opinion in the famous school de-segregation case, Brown v. Board of Education. Feldman then told the surprising, perhaps even shocking, story of Hugo Black's rise from Ku Klux Klansman to U.S. Senator and finally to Supreme Court Justice during the FDR administration, where Black became famous for his racial liberalism. Morris and Feldman then compared TR's pro-healthcare, anti-corporate, pro-individual, pro-activist, anti-privilege court of Oliver Wendell Holmes with FDR's New Deal advocate, and little known Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, whom current Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito have both singled out as their model. Morris and Feldman wrapped their interview with Toobin by comparing the two Roosevelts with the 'Barack Obamas and Sarah Palins' of today. The authors then took questions on the nature of political opposition in the Roosevelt erasvs. today; the life and times ofSupreme Court Justice William O. Douglas; and the role of religious views in the make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court.