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The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court [Kindle Edition]

Jeffrey Toobin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (376 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
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Book Description

In The Nine, acclaimed journalist Jeffrey Toobin takes us into the chambers of the most important—and secret—legal body in our country, the Supreme Court, revealing the complex dynamic among the nine people who decide the law of the land. An institution at a moment of transition, the Court now stands at a crucial point, with major changes in store on such issues as abortion, civil rights, and church-state relations. Based on exclusive interviews with the justices and with a keen sense of the Court’s history and the trajectory of its future, Jeffrey Toobin creates in The Nine a riveting story of one of the most important forces in American life today.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's not laws or constitutional theory that rule the High Court, argues this absorbing group profile, but quirky men and women guided by political intuition. New Yorker legal writer Toobin (The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson) surveys the Court from the Reagan administration onward, as the justices wrestled with abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty, gay rights and church-state separation. Despite a Court dominated by Republican appointees, Toobin paints not a conservative revolution but a period of intractable moderation. The real power, he argues, belonged to supreme swing-voter Sandra Day O'Connor, who decided important cases with what Toobin sees as an almost primal attunement to a middle-of-the-road public consensus. By contrast, he contends, conservative justices Rehnquist and Scalia ended up bitter old men, their rigorous constitutional doctrines made irrelevant by the moderates' compromises. The author deftly distills the issues and enlivens his narrative of the Court's internal wranglings with sharp thumbnail sketches (Anthony Kennedy the vain bloviator, David Souter the Thoreauvian ascetic) and editorials (inept and unsavory is his verdict on the Court's intervention in the 2000 election). His savvy account puts the supposedly cloistered Court right in the thick of American life. (A final chapter and epilogue on the 2006–2007 term, with new justices Roberts and Alito, was unavailable to PW.) (Sept. 18)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

The Nine is a welcome addition to the spate of recent Supreme Court histories (see Jan Crawford Greenburg's Supreme Conflict, ***1/2 May/June 2007). Informative and authoritative, Jeffrey Toobin's account draws on exclusive interviews with the principals (one critic cited a possible breach of secrecy) and offers colorful anecdotes about the members of the Court. The most important parts of the book explore Sandra Day O'Connor's critical swing votes, Clinton's impeachment hearings, and the Court's role in Bush v. Gore. "The tragedy," Toobin concludes, "was not that it led to Bush's victory, but the inept and unsavory manner that the justices exercised their power." Only David J. Garrow, a Supreme Court historian, faulted Toobin's "debatable opinions" and disdain for various justices. Well written, though chronologically disjointed, The Nine is, overall, a timely and important examination of the Court's past-and its future.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
416 of 437 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Over the years any number of best selling books have been written about the U.S. Supreme Court. If you are an avid reader like myself then you have probably read a few of them. Of all of the books I have read on this subject I found Jeffrey Toobin's new offering "The Nine: Inside The Secret World of the Supreme Court" to be among the very best. As senior legal analyst for CNN and a staff writer for "The New Yorker" Jeffrey Toobin is uniquely qualified to tackle a topic that most Americans know precious little about and frankly find a bit mysterious. Like peeling the skin from an onion Toobin succeeds in revealing just who these justices are and how they have evolved over time. It is a fascinating study.

One notion that "The Nine" certainly reinforces is the conventional wisdom that says there really is no way of predicting how a judge is going to vote on controversial issues after receiving a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court. While it seems that majority of justices remain true to their philosophies after being appointed to the Court, a fairly significant percentage of appointees veer off in totally unexpected directions. Throughout "The Nine" Jeffrey Toobin introduces us to the men and women who have served on the Court over the past two decades. Depending on your point of view you will find some of the justices extremely likeable and others enigmatic. You will also learn who the reliable liberal and conservative votes are and who tends to occupy the center. And Jeffrey Toobin spotlights a number of controversial 5-4 cases where those 1 or 2 "swing" votes would make all the difference.

It is quite apparent that Jeffrey Toobin is a huge fan of the recently retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
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109 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Remarkable Insights into the Recent Supreme Court September 28, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The last several years have delivered a rich harvest of outstanding studies of the Supreme Court. In addition to some highly technical works by political scientists, journalists have contributed studies of remarkable value and insight. I am thinking here of Greenburg's incisive "Supreme Conflict"; Greenhouse's biography of Justice Blackmun; and Biskupic's perceptive study of Justice O'Connor to name a few (not to mention Jeffrey Rosen -- who is a George Washington law professor but who also writes for the popular press and presents PBS programs as well). The good fortune of we "Court watchers" continues in this exceptionally discerning study by Jeffrey Toobin who writes for the "New Yorker" among other publications.

Toobin covers roughtly the period of 1992 through the 2006-07 term of the Court. His focus is similar to that of Jan Crawford Greenburg in "Supreme Conflict": the frustration of conservatives at their inability to secure a Court that would implement their agenda on abortion, public support of religion, and diminution of federalism despite a conservative majority on the Court. But as both books so well explain, all that changed with the coming of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito--as some recent decisions which Toobin discusses in his final chapters indicate. What is interesting is that the same members made up the Court between 1994 and 2005; yet the dynamics of decisionmaking changed dramatically.

To trace this evolution, Toobin discusses the Federalist Society; the Thomas nomination; the pragmatism of Justice O'Connor; Jay Sekulow and his "American Center for Law and Justice";and the perplexing Clinton White House nominations of Justices Ginsburg and Breyer.
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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A grain of salt.. September 21, 2007
Format:Hardcover
As we move toward the 2008 elections, this book sheds light on a vital arm of our government, and important issues framing the debates. Yes, Toobin may be showing his liberal leanings, but is this so unsettling in our free-speaking democratic society? What Toobin does well -- and is so qualified to do so -- is to share his wealth of knowledge and perspective on that all-important yet all-too-secretive government branch. He succeeds in enlightening us -- and probably, regarding some aspects, the justices themselves -- on several influential developments. One, as pointed out by a previous reviewer, being the courts growing dependence on decisions made abroad. The book is readable and informative...take the liberal leanings with a grain of salt..
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61 of 74 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sneering conservatives, rational liberals December 29, 2007
By John
Format:Hardcover
The book is decent, but I just thought that the author spent too much time describing "sneering" conservatives, and not really explaining what they stand for. The moderates on the court are always rational, and the conservatives are primitive and spend a lot of time sneering, etc. This is a bit unfair (I am willing to bet that Scalia is more intelligent and more interesting and amusing than the author states).

I also think Toobin short-shrifts some of the liberal negatives. Clinton-appointee Ginsburg once said that she wanted to integrate prisons, so that men and women prisoners would be housed together, because this would force men to understand women better, etc. This type of utopianism is not mentioned in the book (it is the mirror of the conservative attempt to remake America along the lines of the Christian Right).

I also think that in his discussion of international law, he fails to really present the conservative opposition to using foreign law in the U.S. Our legal system is based on Britain's. I highly doubt for instance, that we would want to import legal notions from Latin America and Europe, where for instance, the Code Napoleon holds sway. In Mexico or Brazil or France or Italy, the state is considered right, and the defendant in a criminal case has the burden of proof to show that he is innocent (!). This would stand our British system on its head (do the liberal justices really want to use such precedents ?). In France, the "terror csar" can hold anyone for 55 hours without charges, just by signing a piece of paper. Even the British have gone a LONG way toward an all-powerful state, and the British have even talked about doing away with trial by jury in criminal cases. I hardly think we want that. And yet, this huge issue is not mentioned in the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST read ...
Read the entire book in 2 days. A great insider look into the U.S. Supreme Court. A must read for any history buff!
Published 4 hours ago by Thomas Smith
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing "secret" is revealed, but still, not bad
Nothing "secret" is revealed in this book. For me, it was a bit of a disappointment; you never truly get "behind the doors. Read more
Published 11 days ago by GetBeethoven
5.0 out of 5 stars ) good deal.
It said it was used, but it was new :) good deal.
Published 26 days ago by nadir
5.0 out of 5 stars Toobin hit a great high note with this work
I am sort of a Supreme Court junkie so I was an easy mark for this book. Provides great incites into the hearts and minds of the Court during the last decades. Read more
Published 1 month ago by S. D. Bartlett
5.0 out of 5 stars Great gift for nonfiction readers
It was a gift and she loved it. Probably will buy it's companion as another gift in the future. Good read
Published 2 months ago by Lorraine Otto
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any civics or government student
The author does a skillful job of balancing the personalities, differing philosophies and mechanics inside the Court, and all the external elements influencing the court. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sam LaFoy
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Toobin winner
Jeff Toobin writes about SCOTUS as if it were a novel. A great read for anyone not just lawyers but for all
Published 3 months ago by Mel
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Well written, very readable, informative, provides insights into the workings of the Court as well as the personal lives of the Justices. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Missy R.
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book on the Supreme Court
The author is one of the most respected commentators on the Supreme Court, and he has written an extremely readable and informative book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jerry Weaver
1.0 out of 5 stars Nine
I started it and tried to donate it to my library. they couldn't take it (room). donating to good will
Published 4 months ago by Summer Dawson
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More About the Author

Jeffrey Toobin is a staff writer at The New Yorker, senior legal analyst at CNN, and the bestselling author of The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court, The Nine, Too Close to Call, A Vast Conspiracy, The Run of His Life and Opening Arguments. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, he lives with his family in New York.

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About what the book says about the occupation of Iraq by the US
It was not mentioned because it was not relevant. The book was about the United States Supreme Court, not the war in Iraq. Saddam Hussein's legal system had no influence on the United States Supreme Court.

I find it amazing how many people think that just because a book does not have an... Read More
Nov 20, 2007 by Andrew Tomchik |  See all 4 posts
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