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Supreme Ambition

Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover

The Washington Post journalist and legal expert Ruth Marcus goes behind the scenes to document the inside story of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation battle and the Republican plot to take over the Supreme Court—thirty years in the making—in this “impressively reported, highly insightful, and rollicking good read” (The New York Times Book Review).

In the summer of 2018 the Kavanaugh drama unfolded so fast it seemed to come out of nowhere. With the power of the #MeToo movement behind her, a terrified but composed Christine Blasey Ford walked into a Senate hearing room to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault. This unleashed unprecedented fury from a Supreme Court nominee who accused Democrats of a “calculated and orchestrated political hit.” But behind this showdown was a much bigger one. The Washington Post journalist and legal expert Ruth Marcus documents the thirty-year mission by conservatives to win a majority on the Supreme Court and the lifelong ambition of Brett Kavanaugh to secure his place in that victory.

The reporting in Supreme Ambition is full of revealing and weighty headlines, as Marcus answers the most pressing questions surrounding this historical moment: How did Kavanaugh get the nomination? Was Blasey Ford’s testimony credible? What does his confirmation mean for the future of the court? Were the Democrats outgunned from the start? On the way, she uncovers secret White House meetings, intense lobbying efforts, private confrontations on Capitol Hill, and lives forever upended on both coasts.

This “extraordinarily detailed” (The Washington Post) page-turner traces how Brett Kavanaugh deftly maneuvered to become the nominee and how he quashed resistance from Republicans and from a president reluctant to reward a George W. Bush loyalist. It shows a Republican party that had concluded Kavanaugh was too big to fail, with senators and the FBI ignoring potentially devastating evidence against him. And it paints a picture of Democratic leaders unwilling to engage in the no-holds-barred partisan warfare that might have defeated the nominee.

In the tradition of The Brethren and The Power Broker, Supreme Ambition is the definitive account of a pivotal moment in modern history, one that will shape the judicial system of America for generations to come.

Melina Mara

Ruth Marcus, a syndicated columnist for The Washington Post and deputy editor of the editorial page, has covered every major institution in Washington, including the Supreme Court, the White House, and Congress, and has written about judicial confirmation battles stretching back to Robert Bork in 1987. A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary in 2007.   

Melina Mara

Ruth Marcus, a syndicated columnist for The Washington Post and deputy editor of the editorial page, has covered every major institution in Washington, including the Supreme Court, the White House, and Congress, and has written about judicial confirmation battles stretching back to Robert Bork in 1987. A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary in 2007.   

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