Judis was born in Chicago. He attended Amherst College and received B.A. and M.A. degrees in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1969 he was a founding editor of Socialist Revolution (which was later renamed Socialist Review and then Radical Society before ceasing publication in 2009). In the 1970s he was a founding editor of the East Bay Voice. Judis started reporting from Washington in 1982, when he became a founding editor and Washington correspondent for In These Times, a democratic-socialist weekly magazine.
In 2002, he published The Emerging Democratic Majority (co-written with political scientist Ruy Teixeira), a book arguing that Democrats would retake control of American politics, thanks in part to growing support from minorities and well-educated professionals. Its title was a deliberate echo of Kevin Phillips' 1969 classic, The Emerging Republican Majority. The book was named one of the year's best by The Economist.
- William F. Buckley, Jr.: Patron Saint of the Conservatives (1988)
- Grand Illusion: Critics and Champions of the American Century (1992)
- The Paradox of American Democracy: Elites, Special Interests, and the Betrayal of the Public Trust (2000)
- The Emerging Democratic Majority (with Ruy Teixeira) (2002)
- The Folly of Empire : What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson (2004)
- Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict (2014)
- "Senior Editor John B. Judis". The New Republic. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- TNR biography
- TNR article: For a New Nationalism, by Judis and Michael Lind (article 10 of 27)
- Video (and audio) of conversation with John Judis and David Frum on Bloggingheads.tv
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