paper trail

Jeffrey Toobin on the Supreme Court; A new print of the film adaptation of Native Son

Richard Wright, 1939. Photo: Carl Van Vechten/Library of Congress

Irin Carmon, coauthor of Notorious RBG, remembers the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Only someone so stubborn and single-minded, someone so in love with the work, could have accomplished what she did—as a woman, survived discrimination and loss; as a lawyer, compelled the Constitution to recognize that women were people; as a justice, inspired millions of people in dissent.”

For those looking to learn more about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, legal scholar Dahlia Lithwick recommends two books.

At the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin—who has written books about the Supreme Court and about Donald Trump—considers how Democrats should respond if Trump successfully fills Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat. “If the Democrats fail to retake the majority in the Senate in November, their options are few except to grin and bear it. But, if they win the majority and Joe Biden wins the Presidency, there are four major possibilities for retribution—which all happen to be good policy as well. The first is the abolition of the filibuster, which should have happened decades ago. Even in the minority, McConnell will do everything he can to thwart Biden, and the filibuster will be the tool. This antidemocratic relic should be retired once and for all.” Democrats, Toobin argues, should also grant statehood to Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia (with two senators apiece), and increase the number of federal judges. “Finally,” Toobin writes, “the greatest and most appropriate form of retribution involves the Supreme Court itself. The number of Justices is not fixed in the Constitution but, rather, established by statute. If Republicans succeed in stealing two seats—the Scalia and Ginsburg vacancies—the Democrats could simply pass a law that creates two or three more seats on the Supreme Court.”

Richard Wright starred in a film adaptation of his novel Native Son, which was shot in Argentina, finished in 1951, and then became a “missing piece of cinema history.” The Brooklyn Academy of Music will screen (virtually) a restored version of the movie on September 25.

The New York Times’ Alexandra Alter profiles Penguin Random House chief executive Madeline McIntosh and looks at the company’s success in the midst of COVID-19. “People were watching a lot of Netflix, but then they needed a break from Netflix,” McIntosh told the Times. “A book is the most uniquely, beautifully designed product to have with you in lockdown.”

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7 PM EST, the Strand Bookstore will host an online event featuring poet-novelist-essayist Eileen Myles, whose new book For Now has just been published, and poet Ariana Reines. Register here.