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The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the…

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court (2007)

by Jeffrey Toobin

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Highly recommend. This book answered a question I've wondered about for years! : when O'Connor was appointed I remember being so disappointed with "the first woman on the bench" because I thought she was going to be a Reagan Yes-Woman but, later, it turned out that she had some very moderate opinions, and though I never bothered to research my musings, I always wondered what happened. O'Connor turned out to be a very thoughtful and somewhat progressive judge and seemed like a "good" judge (good being that we made progress in the country, not the inane attitude of some of the other judges that we must go back to Man Rules Woman and that's that).

I'm still afraid for the future of Roe v. Wade but, maybe, if Hillary gets elected, we actually can get some moderate judges into the system so that progress won't be impeded and this insane push of the religious ultra-right-wing to make the USA a theocracy will be stemmed for a long long time. ( )
  marshapetry | Aug 10, 2016 |
Ostensibly this is a book about the Supreme Court's most recent era of stability--the 10 year long period in which no new Justices were appointed (approx 1994-2005). Even for those familiar with major court rulings during the period this is a helpful text, as it situates the Justices politically and personally within the context of the rulings, and provides sharp and (generally) fair analyses of the same.

But the real claim of the book goes much deeper, and builds slowly: Toobin calls into question the purported independence of the highest court of the land, and, doing so, calls our putative democracy--dependent on the strict separation of powers--into question. If Supreme Court Justices are political appointees, how is the independence of the Judiciary not compromised? While it is clear that Justices' lifetime tenure allows for slowly "evolving" political viewpoints to shift from conservative toward the liberal side & vice versa, there is no mistaking that they are ideologically informed. On Toobin's view, the Presidential nomination procedure entails that the Court is, as it stands, far from independent--indeed it is simply another (perhaps more civil?) arena in which political war is waged. ( )
  reganrule | Jun 9, 2016 |
The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court – Jeffrey Toobin
Audio version read by Don Leslie
4 stars
Non-fiction books can be dry as dust for reading and worse for listening. Not so with this book of recent judicial history. I was completely interested to the point of sitting in my driveway to finish a chapter. Toobin details major decisions of the Rehnquist court beginning with Roe v. Wade. I was especially interested in his reporting of the judicial selection process and in his perspective on the different personalities of the court. I’ve put Toobin’s more recent book, The Oath on my ‘to read’ pile and now I’m interested in finding biographies of some of the past and current justices. I agree that Toobin writes with a liberal bias, but overall, I think his reporting was balanced and delivered with respect.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Informative and entertaining. Great recent history of the supreme court. ( )
  AllInStride | Apr 20, 2016 |
I was hoping this would be a history of the court, but it was really about how the court affected America since the 1980s. It was fascinating to hear about the internal politics and ideology of the justices. They each reflect the best and the worst of America: partisanship and pluralism, credulity and sophistication. We talk about the conservatives and liberals on the bench, but the justices are more complex than just simple labels. Some of them defy labels. They are placed in their seats by politics and sometimes very politically active, yet in their best moments they are somehow above all of that.

Toobin's thesis was that the conservatives saw they were losing influence in the court in the 1970s and started a movement to change that. It worked to some extent, but with the polarization of liberals and conservatives, moderates are left with the deciding vote. Namely Sandra Day O'Connor, and to a lesser-extent Anthony Kennedy. ( )
  richjj | Jan 27, 2016 |
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Prologue, The Steps
The architect Cass Gilbert had grand ambitions for his design of a new home for the Supreme court—what he called "the greatest tribunal in the world, one of the three great elements of our national government."
Chapter 1, The Federalist War of Ideas
For a long time, during the middle of the twentieth century, it wasn't even clear what it meant to be a judicial conservative.
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Nice fluid style, imminently readable. Sheds a lot of light on an institution that we don't hear much about, aside from their decisions.
Haiku summary
Judicial power

Lies not in the Chief Justice

But with the swing vote.


Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385516401, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:23 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

As the Supreme Court continues to rule on important issues, it is essential to understand how it operates. Based on exclusive interviews with the justices themselves and other insiders, this is a timely "state of the union" about America's most elite legal institution. From Anthony Kennedy's self-importance, to Antonin Scalia's combativeness, to David Souter's eccentricity, and even Sandra Day O'Connor's fateful breach with President George W. Bush, this book offers a rare personal look at how the individual style of each justice affects the way in which they wield their considerable power. Toobin shows how--since Reagan--conservatives were long thwarted in their attempts to control the Court by some of the very justices they pressured Presidents to appoint. That struggle ended with the recent appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and Toobin relays the behind-the-scenes drama in detail, as well as the ensuing 2007 Court term.… (more)

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