Fireside Chats | The Court at War: FDR, His Justices, and the World They Made
Join us in-person in the library or online as Fireside Chats host Paul Sparrow converses with Cliff Sloan, author of The Court at War: FDR, His Justices, and the World They Made, the inside story of how one president forever altered the most powerful legal institution in the country, with consequences that endure today.
By the summer of 1941, in the ninth year of his presidency, Franklin Roosevelt had molded his Court. He had appointed seven of the nine justices—the most by any president except George Washington—and handpicked the chief justice. But the wartime Roosevelt Court had two faces. One was bold and progressive, the other supine and abject, cowed by the charisma of the revered president. The Court at War explores this pivotal period. The justices’ shameless capitulation and unwillingness to cross their beloved president highlight the dangers of an unseemly closeness between Supreme Court justices and their political patrons. But the FDR Court’s finest moments also provided a robust defense of individual rights, rights the current Court has put in jeopardy. Sloan’s intimate portrait is a vivid, instructive tale for modern times.
Cliff Sloan is a professor of constitutional law and criminal justice at Georgetown University Law Center. He has argued before the Supreme Court seven times. He has served in all three branches of the federal government, including as Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, and is the author of The Great Decision: Jefferson, Adams, Marshall, and the Battle for the Supreme Court. His commentary on the Supreme Court and legal issues has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and other publications, and on television and radio networks.
President Franklin Roosevelt broadcast his first Fireside Chat on March 12th, 1933, just eight days after his inauguration. During his 12 years in office he delivered dozens of Fireside Chats, guiding America through the Great Depression, and guiding a global audience through the horrors of World War Two. FDR’s Fireside Chats were a new form of political communication, using radio to connect with Americans in an intimate setting – right in their living rooms. His compelling and persuasive broadcasts encouraged Americans to believe in democracy and its future. Paul Sparrow, a nationally recognized expert on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the former director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, hosts this series of programs that build on the foundation laid by FDR’s Fireside Chats, and find their relevance to our world today.
This series is moderated by Paul Sparrow, a nationally recognized expert on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the former director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. He has written articles and blogs on them, and has appeared on the CBS Evening News, CNN, CSPAN, the History Channel, and the Washington Post’s Presidential podcast.
We invite you to support the author by purchasing a copy of their book from Browseabout Books by clicking HERE. Call-in orders are accepted at (302) 226-2665 or you can stop by the store to purchase a copy. For store hours, please visit their website. Each copy purchased comes signed. Books will be available for sale and for signing at the event.
NOTE: this session is available to attend in-person or through Zoom. You MUST REGISTER and indicate which you prefer.