Justice on the Brink: Twelve Months that Transformed the Supreme Court
December 1, 2021
The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a seismic shift in the history of the Supreme Court, cementing a conservative majority on the bench as the country experienced a pandemic, underwent a divisive presidential election, and witnessed the Capitol insurrection. In her new book, Justice on the Brink, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times writer Linda Greenhouse provides a behind-the-scenes look at the twelve months that reshaped the Supreme Court and the years of conservative activism behind the rise of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
This conversation featured Greenhouse and was moderated by professor Melissa Murray of the NYU School of Law.
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Linda Greenhouse is a Clinical Lecturer in Law and a Senior Research Scholar in Law at Yale Law School. She covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times between 1978 and 2008 and writes a biweekly column on law.
Greenhouse's Full Bio
Linda Greenhouse is a Clinical Lecturer in Law and a Senior Research Scholar in Law at Yale Law School. She covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times between 1978 and 2008 and writes a biweekly op-ed column on law as a contributing columnist. Ms. Greenhouse received several major journalism awards during her 40-year career at the Times, including the Pulitzer Prize (1998) and the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism from Harvard University’s Kennedy School (2004). In 2002, the American Political Science Association gave her its Carey McWilliams Award for “a major journalistic contribution to our understanding of politics.” Her books include a biography of Justice Harry A. Blackmun, Becoming Justice Blackmun; Before Roe v. Wade: Voices That Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court's Ruling (with Reva B. Siegel); The U.S. Supreme Court, A Very Short Introduction, published by Oxford University Press in 2012; and The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right, with Michael J. Graetz, published in 2016. Her latest book is Just a Journalist: Reflections on the Press, Life, and the Spaces Between, published by Harvard University Press in 2017. In her extracurricular life, Ms. Greenhouse is president of the American Philosophical Society, the country's oldest learned society, which in 2005 awarded her its Henry Allen Moe Prize for writing in jurisprudence and the humanities. She also serves on the council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the national Senate of Phi Beta Kappa, and is one of two non-lawyer honorary members elected to the American Law Institute, which in 2002 awarded her its Henry J. Friendly Medal. She has been awarded thirteen honorary degrees. She is a 1968 graduate of Radcliffe College (Harvard) and earned a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School (1978), which she attended on a Ford Foundation fellowship. She is married to Eugene R. Fidell, Florence Rogatz Lecturer in Law at Yale. Their daughter, Hannah, is a filmmaker in Los Angeles.
Melissa Murray is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was a Jefferson Scholar and an Echols Scholar, and Yale Law School, where she was notes development editor of the Yale Law Journal. While in law school, she earned special recognition as an NAACP-LDF/Shearman & Sterling Scholar and was a semifinalist of Morris Tyler Moot Court.
Following law school, Murray clerked for Sonia Sotomayor, then of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Stefan Underhill of the US District Court for the District of Connecticut. Murray is a member of the New York bar.
Murray's Full Bio
Murray teaches constitutional law, family law, criminal law, and reproductive rights and justice, among other courses. Murray’s research focuses on the legal regulation of sex and sexuality and encompasses such topics as marriage and its alternatives, the marriage equality debate, the legal recognition of caregiving, and reproductive rights and justice. Her publications have appeared (or are forthcoming) in the California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Pennsylvania Law Review, Virginia Law Review, and Yale Law Journal, among others. She is an author of Cases on Reproductive Rights and Justice, the first casebook to cover the field of reproductive rights and justice. She has translated her scholarly writing for more popular audiences by publishing in the New York Times, Newsweek, the San Francisco Chronicle, Vanity Fair, and the Huffington Post, and has offered commentary for numerous media outlets, including NPR, MSNBC, and PBS.
In 2013, Murray's article, "What's So New About the New Illegitimacy?," was awarded the Dukeminier Awards' Michael Cunningham Prize as one of the best sexual orientation and gender identity law review articles of 2012. Her article, "Marriage as Punishment," won the Association of American Law Schools' 2010-2011 Scholarly Papers Competition for faculty members with fewer than five years of law teaching. "Marriage as Punishment" was also selected by the Association of American Law Schools' Section on Women in Legal Education as a winner of the 2010-2011 New Voices in Gender Studies scholarly paper competition. In 2010, Murray was awarded the Association of American Law School's Derrick A. Bell Award, which is given to a junior faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system, or social justice. In 2011, Murray was elected to the membership of the American Law Institute.
Prior to joining the NYU faculty, Murray was on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she was the recipient of the Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction. From March 2016 to June 2017, she served as interim dean of the Berkeley Law.