Anthony Franze, author and lawyer who’s represented clients in nearly 40 cases before the Supreme Court, shares his five favorite Supreme Court mysteries.
Photo by Kristina Sherk
With the U.S. Supreme Court in the news again—including this month’s partisan divide over the president’s latest high court nominee Neil Gorsuch—we thought it would be fitting to identify some of the top Supreme Court-related novels. And who better to make the picks than Anthony Franze, a lawyer who’s represented clients in nearly 40 cases in the Supreme Court, and author of novels set in the nation’s highest court. His latest, The Outsider, is about a Supreme Court law clerk who must use his knowledge of high court history and precedent to help catch a killer, a book the Associated Press called a “winning novel.” Franze shares his five favorite Supreme Court mysteries.
The Pelican Brief
When people think of John Grisham, the first book that comes to mind is The Firm, his breakaway hit about a young lawyer hired by a firm that was in deep with the mob. But for my money, his follow-up packed a bigger punch. The Pelican Brief opens with the murder of two Supreme Court justices, one killed at a porno movie house. A young law student discovers a link between the murders, and the story moves at a rocket pace from there. The film adaptation, starring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington, wasn’t bad either.
The Tenth Justice
Before he set his sights on history, Brad Meltzer wrote about a Supreme Court law clerk who was on the fast track to success until he inadvertently shared a classified secret with the wrong person. In The Tenth Justice, Meltzer pulled back the curtain at the Supreme Court like no one had before, and wrote a touching story of friendship along the way.
Lawyer-turned-bestselling-novelist Phillip Margolin has the distinction of both writing about—and arguing before—the Supreme Court. He put his experience to good use in Supreme Justice, a story about a plot to influence an appeal before the high court, one that could expose secrets at the highest levels of government. Classic Margolin.
Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller returned in this 2016 bestseller. Heller is hired to help the Chief Justice of the United States stave off an explosive story by a gossip website claiming that the chief had liaisons with a high-end call girl. I’d read a grocery list if Finder wrote it, so the high court intrigue was a special treat.
You couldn’t get a more ripped-from-the-headlines story than Tom Rosenstiel’s Shining City, a novel set amid a Supreme Court nomination battle. The veteran journalist skillfully used his contacts and years as a Beltway observer in this fly-on-the-wall view of power Washington. A fun mystery, and master class in the modern nomination process.
Anthony Franze is a lawyer in the Appellate and Supreme Court practice of a prominent Washington, D.C. law firm, and author of critically acclaimed novels set in the nation’s highest court, including The Advocate's Daughter, and his March 21, 2017, release, The Outsider (St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur).