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The Oath: The Obama White House and the…
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The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Jeffrey Toobin

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152778,635 (4.16)6
Member:hbgoble
Title:The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court
Authors:Jeffrey Toobin
Info:Doubleday (2012), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Read (2013)
Rating:****
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The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin (Author) (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Well written, easy read, interesting topic and ramifications of the Supreme Court. I'd recommend picking it up
  DrT | Jul 4, 2013 |
Toobin writes another interesting book about the workings of the Supreme Court--this time focused on the Roberts court. The subtitle is a little misleading but the book analyzes the major cases argued in front of the Roberts court. Toobin goes into the personalities of the justices and their philosophies and motives. It is clear that he has strong opinions about various justices but it doesn't detract from the book. A very easily readable summary of recent years at the Supreme Court. The audiobook narrator was very good as well.
  walterqchocobo | Apr 8, 2013 |
A very personal, almost Robert Caro-style look at the personal relationships and political struggles between the Supreme Court and the presidency over the past two years. A very accessible and well-argued introduction to the extreme complexity of these arguments, and their histories. Makes you almost want to apply to be a lawyer or a judge yourself.

I had heard Toobin speak last month, shortly after the President's reelection. He took the occasion not to speak about the past two years, but instead about the future implications of Obama's re-election. He considered it to have broader repercussions, particularly after the defeat of the Tea Party and the broader social change in acceptance of gay marriage, noting that Obama was likely to lead a new 'liberal coalition', as Reagan had brought about his conservative coalition, and FDR his New Deal coalition before him. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Toobin writes another interesting book about the workings of the Supreme Court--this time focused on the Roberts court. The subtitle is a little misleading but the book analyzes the major cases argued in front of the Roberts court. Toobin goes into the personalities of the justices and their philosophies and motives. It is clear that he has strong opinions about various justices but it doesn't detract from the book. A very easily readable summary of recent years at the Supreme Court. The audiobook narrator was very good as well. ( )
  walterqchocobo | Feb 14, 2013 |
THE OATH: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court is more a history of the current Supreme Court than of the relationship between President Obama and the Court. However, that relationship does play a vital part of the book.
Author Jeffrey Toobin provides a very readable and captivating exploration of how and why the current members of the Supreme Court were selected, how they differ from their predecessors, and how those changes have affected our country. He writes, “‘Trial lawyers’...are plaintiffs’ lawyers who tend to represent individuals and skew overwhelmingly Democratic. The ’defense’ bar’ represents corporations, often insurance companies, and are usually Republicans.” He mentions a D.C. Circuit conservative who gave a cash bonus to his clerks if they could find a procedural issue that would allow the court to dismiss a case.
In John Robert’s second year as Chief Justice, the court overturned decades of precedents on abortion, civil procedure, immigration, women’s rights, freedom of speech, the death penalty, and anti-trust. Justice Stephen Breyer lamented, “It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much.”
Toobin examines how a court that at one time was able to work together and compromise on cases became extremely divided as some of the justices, primarily Antonin Scalia, became more political than judicial. Justices who were Republican became more and more disenchanted with the way cases were decided. As some of them left the court, they were replaced by others who held more extreme political views. The Justices appointed by President Obama helped uphold the liberal side, but they were outnumbered by the conservatives. He tells how the Tea Party got started.
There has been a lot of talk about how the Constitution should be read and interpreted. Some justices see it as a living document that should be adjusted to meet a changing society. Others, who call themselves “originalists,” believe they are obligated to interpret it exactly as it was written. Toobin points out problems with that in that there were different interpretations when it was written and sometimes the “originalists” are finding different meanings. One example is the Second Amendment, The Right to Bear Arms. He notes that while many recent decisions claim the Amendment was written for self-protection and meant private citizens could own arms, hand guns were not available. He adds, it that was the purpose, why start by mentioning a militia?
The book covers some of the most important and discussed cases in recent years, such as Roe v Wade and attempts to overturn it, the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay case, and Citizen’s United. He explains how sometimes the final decision has little to do with the merits of the case but hangs on technicalities.
A few times I resorted to Google to read the dissents written by Justice Ginsberg and found them very enlightening (and understood her anger and frustration).
I felt I was in the courtroom sometimes when Toobin was describing how some of the justices acted and how they questioned witnesses. He mentions that Scalia craves attention and will sometimes say or do things primarily to receive it.
He discusses the poor relationship between President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts and provides interesting background on the Chief Justice’s monumental decision in the Affordable Care Act hearing.
At the end of the book, he states that after Obama appointed two women justices, he seemed to lose interest in the federal courts. There were 77 vacancies on the federal bench, Even though the Republicans were blocking all of his nominations, he didn’t bother offering any nominees for 43 of those posts.
As I write this, it is one week and one day before the 2012 election. The next President will be appointing at least one and probably more justices but that issue, which will play a major role in determining the future of our country did not come up in the debates and hasn’t been mention on the campaign trail. How tragic.
THE OATH is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the direction our country is heading (even beyond the Court) and how it got that way.

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  Judiex | Oct 29, 2012 |
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To McIntosh, of course
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(Prologue) "So let me ask you this," Greg Craig said, "does anyone here think he's not the President?"
On February 14, 2008, a man named Steven Kazmierczak opened fire on the campus of Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, Illinois.
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Presents an insider's account of the ideological war between the John Roberts Supreme Court and the Obama administration, tracing several landmark cases and the strong views that will be shaping the Court of the near future.

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