In what may be one of the best one-hour explainer videos in the recent history of PBS’ Frontline, producers go inside the no-holds-barred war for control of the Supreme Court. From Brett Kavanaugh to Robert Bork, an investigation of how a 30-year-old grievance transformed the court and turned confirmations into bitter, partisan conflicts.

To produce Supreme Revenge, FRONTLINE interviewed more than three dozen eyewitnesses to some of the most momentous Supreme Court confirmation battles in U.S. history, leading up to the vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh. In all, the film team recorded a total of 42 hours, 26 minutes and 42 seconds of interviews with U.S. Senators and staff, White House advisers, leading journalists, activists, and legal scholars.


From the production transcript:

And the biggest tragedy is that we are now hopelessly divided on the last thing that used to unite us, which is our judicial system. Now there’s nothing that pulls us together. Nothing.

Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Thomas, Alito, Roberts; the Federalist Society and Mitch McConnell now dominate the Supreme Court.

You talk about the Warren Court or the Burger Court or the Roberts Court. We’re living in the era of the McConnell Court now because he did what he did. And it very well could be the McConnell Court for several decades to come.

Watch the episode courtesy of PBS. It may be the most important hour you’ll spend before the next presidential election.


PETER BAKER, The New York Times:
Mitch McConnell doesn’t even wait for the day to end after Antonin Scalia dies to put out a statement saying, in effect, “We’re not going to let President Obama replace him.”

FRONTLINE Season 2019, Episode 14, Supreme Revenge was directed by Michael Kirk; written by Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser; produced by Michael Kirk, Mike Wiser, and Philip Bennett; and produced and reported by Jim Gilmore and Gabrielle Schonder.