PW: The origin of Supreme Injustice was a little different for you: The idea came from Tim Bartlett, your editor at Oxford. What was your immediate reaction when he asked you to do this book—did you already have a firm conclusion about the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore?
AD: I certainly had a firm initial conclusion. I immediately thought it was an outrage, because I knew the history of these justices. I've argued cases in the Supreme Court since 1968, so my initial instinct was that they had cheated, that they had violated their oath of office. So when Tim came to me, I said, 'I have to go back and see if the research supports my instinct.' I read about 500 opinions of these justices covering a period of more than 30 years, and it turned out it was even truer than I'd thought. I had tremendous admiration, particularly for Scalia, and for me it was one of these terrible epiphanies about how clearly he violated his own principles. The other thing that was different for me was that I'd never published before with a university press, and you have to get peer approval. All my proposals had to go to three or four anonymous judges. I got tenure when I was 28—that's a long time ago—and that's the last time I was subjected to peer review. And it's a healthy thing.
PW: You had to explain some complicated legal issues for the general reader. How did you approach that?
AD: That's what I've been doing for years, ever since The Best Defense. I've never adopted legalese as a second language. My theory is, if I can't explain to the general public a complicated legal problem, it's my fault. I try to remember my beginnings—as a street kid in Brooklyn, with parents who didn't go to college. They're very intelligent, but they're not educated. So I learned from a very early age to speak in plain, common English to people who are not as educated as I am. The American instinct for basic justice is very finely honed, all you have to do is explain. This is not E=mc2. This is democracy. If they can't explain it, they're hiding something from you.
PW: Are you concerned about repercussions from your criticism in terms of your ability to argue cases before the Supreme Court in the future?
AD: If there are repercussions against me or my clients, then I will have proved my point that the justices decide cases on the basis of the people involved. If they are true to their oath, there can't be repercussions. So this is a challenge: let's see how true they are to their oaths.
PW: Clearly, there's no remedy for the Court's decision—Bush is the president. So what do you hope will result from the book's publication?
AD: I want to alert the American public to the dangers of an unelected court that makes the law come out their way. I hope that after reading this book, Americans will read Supreme Court decisions much more critically and say, 'we have the ability to understand this and we're not going to let them get away with this.' The other goal I have—and this is more immediate—is to change the nature of who gets put on the Court. We have the wrong people on the Supreme Court. These were middle-level functionaries who could be relied on for their loyalty. This is a perfect time for this, with the Senate in a balance. I'm planning to send a personalized copy of the book to every senator with a letter asking them to look at the parts that deal with judicial selection.