Becoming Justice Blackmun

Becoming Justice Blackmun Harry Blackmun’s Supreme Court Journey by Linda Greenhouse

Goodreads Description

Through the lens of Blackmun’s private and public papers, Greenhouse crafts a compelling portrait of a man who, from 1970 to 1994, ruled on such controversial issues as abortion, the death penalty, and sex discrimination yet never lost sight of the human beings behind the legal cases. Greenhouse also paints the arc of Blackmun’s lifelong friendship with Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, revealing how political differences became personal, even for two of the country’s most respected jurists.

My Review

Blackmun is famously known for this majority opinion in Roe v. Wade. This court case would be the beginning of his transition from a conservative judge to the Courts’ most liberal judge. Linda Greenhouse writes a wonderful biography on Blackmun. It encompasses all of his life, parts that would play a major influence on the decisions he made while on the bench.

There were parts in the biography where Greenhouse would mention the Court case he was working on, but didn’t elaborate on what he decision was and I was very curious to see what he had decided. It’s a well written book but can be difficult to get into at the beginning. Once you get past Blackmun’s early life and into his life when he was the Appeals court.

What is the most interesting, and well written part of the biography is Blackmun’s work and turmoil over writing the decision for Roe v. Wade. I chose this book because I wanted to learn more about the Justice who has become synonymous with women’s rights and a champion for them, and with the latest election coming up I wanted to understand more about it. I really recommend this book for anyone who enjoys politics, Supreme Court history or wants to know more about the Justice who authored Roe v. Wade.

4/5 stars.

4 Purple Stars


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