The Agenda

The Agenda
How a Republican Supreme Court Is Reshaping America

What will a conservative Supreme Court do with its power?

From 2011, when Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, until the pandemic made inaction untenable, Congress enacted hardly any major legislation outside of the tax law President Trump signed in 2017. In the same period, the Supreme Court dismantled much of America’s campaign finance law, severely weakened the Voting Rights Act, permitted states to opt-out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, weakened laws protecting against age discrimination and sexual & racial harassment, and held that every state must permit same-sex couples to marry. This powerful unelected body, now controlled by six very conservative Republicans, has and will become the locus of policymaking in the U.S.

Ian Millhiser, Vox’s Supreme Court correspondent, tells the story of what those six justices are likely to do with their power. It is true that the right to abortion is in its final days, as is affirmative action. But Millhiser shows that it is in the most arcane decisions that the Court will fundamentally reshape America, transforming it into something far less democratic, by attacking voting rights, stripping power from agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Labor, granting vast legal exemptions to religious conservatives, and putting corporations above the law. The Agenda exposes a radically altered Supreme Court whose powers extend far beyond transforming any individual right—its agenda is to shape the very nature of America’s government, redefining who gets to have legal rights, who is beyond the reach of the law, and who chooses the people who make our laws.

“Ian Millhiser offers a perfect short read for a key moment in U.S. constitutional history.” —The Guardian


Read Nicholas Lemann’s Letter to the Reader for The Agenda

The Agenda
  • ISBN: 9781734420760
  • Price: $15.99
  • E-book ISBN: 9781734420777
  • On Sale: March 30, 2021
  • Pages: 143

Praise

“Writing clearly and succinctly, Millhiser dissects many of the worst opinions the modern court has rendered about voting rights, administrative law, religion and forced arbitration. After reading his cogent arguments, it becomes perfectly obvious why he thinks it's necessary to end ‘with a note of alarm’ ... [A] great short book.” The Guardian

“In this short and very accessible work … he makes a strong case that Americans should be worried about what a Supreme Court shaped no small part by Donald Trump’s three appointees—Trump, who was defeated by Hillary Clinton by almost 3 million votes—will mean for the future of our nation and our democracy.” The Washington Post

“The Supreme Court, with its 6-3 Republican majority, is potentially an existential threat to the Democratic Party’s national ambitions—and, more importantly, to liberal democracy in the United States…. A cogent, timely warning about the fragility of American democracy.” Kirkus Reviews

“An engaging, accessible and well-informed statement of progressive anxieties about what the Supreme Court’s newly strengthened conservative majority may do.” SCOTUSblog

Coverage

The Supreme Court’s coming war with Joe Biden, explained — Vox

Republicans Have an Ambitious Agenda for the Supreme Court — New York Times

Republicans got the Supreme Court they wanted: That will change America forever — Salon

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About the author

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he focuses on the Supreme Court, the Constitution, and the decline of liberal democracy in the United States. Before joining Vox, he was a columnist at ThinkProgress. He is the author of Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, published in 2015, and his writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, American Prospect, and the Yale Law & Policy Review. He received his J.D. from Duke University and clerked for judge Eric L. Clay of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.  @imillhiser