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The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court Paperback – September 9, 2008
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
He also goes into the Terry Schiavo case.
You'll read the portraits of the justices which gives it a distinctive flavor.
Unfortunately, most everything in the book has been covered extensively elsewhere. In addition, he doesn't tell us how the court actually works.
This is a good book if you've not read much about the court. But if you have a good knowledge of the cases of the last 15 years, save your money. And certainly if you want to know how the court works, you'll want to find another source.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was late finding this, but if you have any interest in politics or our country's legal system, you need to read this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mystery Lover
This book was an excellent selection for our library non-fiction discussion group. It provides great insight into the workings of the Supremes. Read morePublished 3 months ago by L. M. Keefer
It has some nice brief insights into the purpose behind each Justice's appointment, but the author doesn't really go into any depth. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tina
I want to expand my knowledge of American law and legal history by reading several books on the subject. I decided to start with "The Nine. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michael Zucker