The U.S. Supreme Court justices — (first row, from left) Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (back row) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan — pose at the Supreme Court in 2010.
It's a bit less likely now than a week ago that you'll hear people accuse the Supreme Court of being politicized.
That's because this week, the court ended its session with two controversial decisions — neither one of which was decided on the usual and predictable split between the five justices appointed by Republican presidents and the four appointed by Democrats.
But that doesn't make the court any less of a political animal.
NPR's Backseat Book Club is taking a break for the summer months, but we're already making a list of books to read in the fall. Do you have suggestions? <strong><a href="http://www.npr.org/contact/backseatbookclubsummer.html">Share Your Recommendations</a>!</strong>
"Let me just say for the record that I think middle school is the dumbest idea ever invented," laments <em>Wimpy Kid </em>protagonist Greg Heffley. "You got kids like me who haven't hit their growth spurt yet mixed in with gorillas who need to shave twice a day." <a href="http://n.pr/LiWSpO">Click Here To Read An Excerpt From Diary Of A Wimpy Kid<em></em></a>
Credit Jeff Kinney / Abrams
Jeff Kinney is an author, cartoonist and game designer. He lives in southern Massachusetts and has two sons.
We've chosen some popular books for our monthly Backseat Book Club selections, but nothing quite like the boffo best-sellers in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
How popular are these books? Consider the numbers: There are six books, and a seventh is on the way. They've been translated into 40 languages and there are 75 million copies in print worldwide. And it was our 2009 interview with author Jeff Kinney that originally inspired us to start a book club just for kids.
This week, the Supreme Court struck down mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles. Youth Radio's Sayre Quevedo looks at one case in Michigan that may be affected by the court's decision.
We're joined now by our regular political commentators, columnist E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and the Brookings Institution, and David Brooks of the New York Times. Both of you in Aspen, Colorado today for the Aspen Ideas Festival. Gentlemen, welcome.