After a restrained 2017 term in which the Supreme Court muddled through most of its work with just eight justices, the court roared back to life with a momentous term in 2018. With Donald Trump's first appointment to the bench, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, finding his footing and swing-vote Justice Anthony Kennedy preparing for retirement at the close of the term, the Court took on a series of cases that touched on some of the most contentious issues in contemporary American life—and in almost every case gave Americans a glimpse of where the court is likely to keep shifting over the coming years: further to the right.
In American Justice 2018, journalist Todd Ruger examines the most monumental of these controversial decisions—including those involving religious freedom and minority rights, partisan gerrymandering, President Trump's travel ban, privacy in the digital era, sales tax for online retailers, and apparent tensions between the First Amendment and the collection of union dues. Ruger deftly analyzes how each of these decisions fits into the history of the court—and what the opinions and dissents reveal about the shifting ideological configuration of the institution. Along the way, Ruger reflects on how the term's polarizing docket will shape the future of the Supreme Court and the legacy of individual justices.
"Todd Ruger has made sense of an important and complex term of the Supreme Court. In clear and accessible language, he ably tells the story of the Court's most important rulings while also analyzing its shifting dynamics, including the ascent of Justice Gorsuch and the departure of Justice Kennedy."—Tony Mauro, Supreme Court correspondent for the National Law Journal
"Todd Ruger's American Justice 2018 reads like a political thriller, tracing in lively, smart writing a consequential year that included the first full term of a new Supreme Court justice and a creeping politicization that showed the Court susceptible to the same forces roiling the rest of Washington. Ruger's crisp style, deep knowledge of the Court, and gimlet eye for detail make this volume both essential and accessible."—Julie Mason, host of the Press Pool on Sirius XM's POTUS channel
"Todd Ruger comprehensively chronicles a momentous Supreme Court term that culminated in the dramatic retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Ruger expertly illustrates how Kennedy—as the Court's pivotal vote over the last decade—cast a shadow over a year in which the Court weighed cases on hot-button issues ranging from gay rights to political gerrymandering. Ruger's detailed and engaging account fuses the human stories behind the Court's biggest disputes with clear-eyed analysis of how the rulings shaped the law and how the justices are responding to unique challenges prompted by the presidency of Donald Trump."—Lawrence Hurley, Reuters