Confirmation Bias: Inside Washington's War Over the Supreme Court, from Scalia's Death to Justice Kavanaugh (Hardcover)

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“Entertaining and shrewd....Hulse is an expert guide through the machinations on Capitol Hill.” --New York Times Book Review

The Chief Washington Correspondent for the New York Times presents a richly detailed, news-breaking, and conversation-changing look at the unprecedented political fight to fill the Supreme Court seat made vacant by Antonin Scalia’s death—using it to explain the paralyzing and all but irreversible dysfunction across all three branches in the nation’s capital.

The embodiment of American conservative thought and jurisprudence, Antonin Scalia cast an expansive shadow over the Supreme Court for three decades. His unexpected death in February 2016 created a vacancy that precipitated a pitched political fight. That battle would not only change the tilt of the court, but the course of American history. It would help decide a presidential election, fundamentally alter longstanding protocols of the United States Senate, and transform the Supreme Court—which has long held itself as a neutral arbiter above politics—into another branch of the federal government riven by partisanship. In an unprecedented move, the Republican-controlled Senate, led by majority leader, Mitch McConnell, refused to give Democratic President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, a confirmation hearing. Not one Republican in the Senate would meet with him. Scalia’s seat would be held open until Donald Trump’s nominee, Neil M. Gorsuch, was confirmed in April 2017.

Carl Hulse has spent more than thirty years covering the machinations of the beltway. In Confirmation Bias he tells the story of this history-making battle to control the Supreme Court through exclusive interviews with McConnell, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and other top officials, Trump campaign operatives, court activists, and legal scholars, as well as never-before-reported details and developments.

Richly textured and deeply informative, Confirmation Bias provides much-needed context, revisiting the judicial wars of the past two decades to show how those conflicts have led to our current polarization. He examines the politicization of the federal bench and the implications for public confidence in the courts, and takes us behind the scenes to explore how many long-held democratic norms and entrenched, bipartisan procedures have been erased across all three branches of government.

About the Author


Carl Hulse is chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times and a veteran of more than three decades of reporting in the capital. He has also served as the Washington editor of The Times as well as the chief congressional correspondent. Carl is a native of Illinois and a graduate of Illinois State University. 

Praise For…


“Carl Hulse has produced an engrossing take on America’s judicial wars…essential reading…[Hulse] fills his book with interviews and history, which people readily share…Confirmation Bias…gets the story right, however disconcerting it may be.”
— The Guardian

“…a gripping tale of insider Washington with implications far beyond the capital and far beyond our own time.”
— Boston Globe

“The book is an absorbing, if dispiriting, look at the maneuverings of inside players like McConnell and Donald McGahn, Trump’s first White House counsel, and outside advocates like Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, who appears to have steered judicial selection as much as anyone at the White House. Hulse, a New York Times correspondent, probes moments of escalation over the years and the backroom machinations of the Trump strategy now transforming the courts and the law. Inevitably, he covers previously reported ground, but Confirmation Bias is an important guide at this crucial time for the stature of America’s judiciary.”
— Washington Post
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062862914
ISBN-10: 006286291X
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: June 25th, 2019
Pages: 320
Language: English