Theodore Sedgwick Distinguished Lecture Series - The Court at War: FDR, His Justices, and the World They Made (In Person)


The Filson Historical Society Mon, Feb 12 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM


Presented by the University of Louisville’s Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute in collaboration with the Filson Historical Society.

By the summer of 1941, in the ninth year of his presidency, Franklin Roosevelt had molded his Court. He had appointed seven of the nine justices—the most by any president except George Washington—and handpicked the chief justice. But the wartime Roosevelt court had two faces. One was bold and progressive, the other supine and abject, cowed by the charisma of the revered president. In his new book The Court at War, Georgetown University Law Center Professor Cliff Sloan explores this pivotal period and shares the inside story of how one president altered the most powerful legal institution in the country, with consequences that endure today. In an instructive tale for modern times, Sloan discusses the cast of characters that made up the justices—from the mercurial, Vienna-born intellectual Felix Frankfurter to the Alabama populist Hugo Black, and from the western prodigy William O. Douglas, FDR’s initial pick to be his running mate in 1944, to Roosevelt’s former attorney general and Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Jackson.

Cliff Sloan is a professor of constitutional law and criminal justice at Georgetown University Law Center.  He has argued before the Supreme Court seven times.  He has served in all three branches of the federal government, including as Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, and is the author of The Court at War: FDR, His Justices, and the World They Made and The Great Decision: Jefferson, Adams, Marshall, and the Battle for the Supreme Court.