The Best Legal Reads of 2017

It’s been a year.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by iStock.

The news moved quickly this year. From the Muslim ban to Mueller, from Garland to Gorsuch, it’s hard to believe so much could happen in 12 months. As we say goodbye and good riddance to 2017, we offer up a dozen stories with staying power.

The president is violating the court orders against his Muslim ban. Here’s how he’s getting away with it.
By Jeremy Stahl, Feb. 2

How Trump Will Dismantle Civil Rights Protections in America
The same way Bush did: by politicizing the DOJ.
By Leon Neyfakh, April 20


A Special Enemy
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was born and bred to torment Donald Trump.
By Leon Neyfakh, May 18

Last Night in Arkansas
What it was like waiting for death with one of the four men executed by the state in April.
By Ibby Caputo, May 19


The Clarence Thomas Takeover
The justice has spent his career pushing a fringy, right-wing ideology. Now, he has an army of acolytes who can make his vision a reality.
By Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern, Aug. 2

My Brother, the Violent Offender
An imprecise, capricious label handed down by the criminal justice system can mark a person for life.
By Josie Duffy Rice, Aug. 14

Trump’s Dred Scott
In a case about the abortion rights of undocumented minors, the Department of Justice evokes the worst Supreme Court decision of all time.
By Perry Grossman and Mark Joseph Stern, Oct. 19


The Democrats’ Next Supreme Court Nominee
Meet Patricia Millett, the hero of the Jane Doe abortion case and a worthy successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
By Mark Joseph Stern, Oct. 25

Incompetence or a Cover-Up?
Georgia destroyed election data right after a lawsuit alleged its voting system might have been hacked.
By Jeremy Stahl, Oct. 27

The Murderer Who Started a Movement
Michael Frederick Griffin’s killing of Dr. David Gunn ignited a war on abortion providers. He could soon be a free man.
By Dahlia Lithwick, Oct. 31

The Cake Is Just the Beginning
Justice Gorsuch’s radical First Amendment theory could sabotage civil rights law.
By Mark Joseph Stern, Dec. 6

He Made Us All Victims and Accomplices
For 20 years, I’ve felt it was too early to speak up about Judge Alex Kozinski. Now I fear it’s too late.
By Dahlia Lithwick, Dec. 13