Felix Frankfurter, Hugo Black, Robert Jackson, William O. Douglas—they began as close allies and friends of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who appointed
them to the Supreme Court in order to shape together a new, liberal view of the Constitution that could live up to the challenges of economic depression
and war. Within months, their alliance had fragmented. Friends became enemies. In competition and sometimes outright warfare, the men struggled with
one another to define the Constitution—and through it, the idea of America itself.
This book tells the story of these four great justices: relationship with Roosevelt, with each other, and with the turbulent world of the Great Depression,
World War II, and the Cold War. At the same time, another story emerges from the vicissitudes of their battles, victories, and defeats: a history
of the modern Constitution itself.
Michael Meyerson is Bemis Professor of Law at Harvard. He is the author of four previous books and a contributing writer for New York Times Magazine.