Bestselling author Jeffrey Toobin takes you into the chambers of the most important—and secret—legal body in our country, the Supreme Court, and reveals the complex dynamic among the nine people who decide the law of the land.Just in time for the 2008 presidential election—where the future of the Court will be at stake—Toobin reveals an institution at a moment of transition, when decades of conservative disgust with the Court have finally produced a conservative majority, with major changes in store on such issues as abortion, civil rights, presidential power, and church-state relations.Based on exclusive interviews with justices themselves, The Nine tells the story of the Court through personalities—from Anthony Kennedy's overwhelming sense of self-importance to Clarence Thomas's well-tended grievances against his critics to David Souter's odd nineteenth-century lifestyle. There is also, for the first time, the full behind-the-scenes story of Bush v. Gore—and Sandra Day O'Connor's fateful breach with George W. Bush, the president she helped place in office. The Nine is the book bestselling author Jeffrey Toobin was born to write. A CNN senior legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer, no one is more superbly qualified to profile the nine justices....Continua
The Supreme Court of the US is the last stand against unchecked ambition and panderism in the other branches of the most important government in the world. I've always thought of it as a clinical and sterile operation - nine of the most sophisticated and intelligent people on earth churning out textbook opinions day in day out. Reality is, of course, far from it.
Toobin tells the tale in an analytical yet still gripping prose. My stomach were in knots when he described stories behind some of the most consequential cases decided by the court - hardly the kind of experience I expected from a book about some old people in robes. Through meticulous analysis, Toobin mapped the evolution of the court and its most pressing issues in the last few decades. Above all, it was the nine justices' temperament and, lately, ideology that influenced the court's decisions. The rising importance of ideology reflected the polarization of politics in the pre-Obama era, so it'd be interesting to see how things are changing in these few years.
Having read this book just after Souter's resignation (on an unrelated note, I envy his lifestyle), I now understand the historical and legal context of the latest discourse on new appointments to the Supreme Court (who, given the predictable stance of the current justices, will likely be the critical vote in hotly contended cases). The timing - my reading, Souter's resignation at the beginning of Obama's term - is just perfect. So is the book....Continua
The summer reading of political biopics. Easy to read but with an occasional phrase that requires three readings. Interesting tidbits but barely any insight.
The Nine is a clearly and crisply written account of the contemporary Supreme Court.
The historical and political influences on the Court's decisions and appointments - from the Reagan administration to the Bush Court - provide valuable insight to the significant impact this institution has had, and will continue to have, on American political and social life. The background on the Justices' lives and judicial philosophies makes for fascinating reading.
The political slant of the book is fairly balanced - Toobin clearly has his favorites and O'Connor, who is a moderate conservative, is one of them. The right wing of the Republican party (including the various evangelical coalitions) has made no effort to hide their long-term goal of controlling the judicial philosophy of the Court, so there should be little objection to bringing this movement into a bit of daylight....Continua
It may be worth reading for the handful of anecdotes about the Justices, but maybe not. Toobin's writing style is not very fresh. Also, the psychology is simple, and his legal and political analysis is not very interesting. I was expecting more than a Democrat's psychology-injected play-by-play of decisions about abortion and school prayer. Yawn....Continua