- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (September 18, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385516401
- ISBN-13: 978-0385516402
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (482 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
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.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
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. In fact, on a couple of occasions he refers to her as "the most important woman in American history". Appointed by Ronald Reagan in September 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor would spend a quarter century on the bench and prove to be the swing vote in a myriad of important cases. Toobin also views Justice Stephen Breyer in a similarly favorable light. Over the past few years conservative politicians and voters alike have been extremely critical of what they perceive as a very disturbing new development at the Supreme Court. There is little doubt that a number of the justices have been increasingly influenced by both international law and by the decisions of courts in other nations in making their decisions and in writing their opinions. Indeed, the members of the Supreme Court find themselves sharply divided on this issue and Jeffrey Toobin explains which members buy into this approach and why. This is a trend that certainly bears watching.
"The Nine: Inside The Secret World of the Supreme Court" certainly qualifies as one of the best books I have read this year. Although Toobin displays his liberal leanings in some of his observations from time to time this is nonetheless an extremely well written, generally balanced and very informative book. Highly recommended!
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. Toobin uses an effective technique of discussing each Justice in detail not all at the beginning of the book, but at the point in the narrative when that Justice is the central actor. Is is obvious that the author has had the assistance of several of the Justices (in this regard, the book reminds one a bit of "The Brethren") including I would surmise: O'Connor (extensively), Breyer, Souter, and possibly Stevens and even Kennedy. He also interviewed more than 75 law clerks. Hence, the reader is privy to some rather remarkable views of the Justices as seen by their fellows--a major strength of the book. Strangely enough, Chief Justice Rehnquist, whom one would assume would be a central character in this drama, earns relatively little attention. In fact, one of Toobin's most interesting assertions (along with the contention that Souter was close to resigning after Bush v. Gore) is that in the later years of his tenure, Rehnquist really lost his fire to remake law and became content to masterfully administer the Supreme and lower courts.
One section of the book is devoted to Bush v. Gore, a topic to which Toobin has devoted an entire book, and it is a superb analysis of that unfortunate episode. In the third section of the book, much attention is paid to Justice Kennedy, a puzzling character at times, but one who has assumed O'Connor's spot as the swing vote. Also of interest is O'Connor's growing frustration with Bush and the GOP, despite her central role in Bush v. Gore. The final section focuses upon the Bush White House and its maneuvers in filling the Rehnquist and O'Connor vacancies, another outstanding job by Toobin. The most interesting concept raised in this discussion is the Roberts' Court view of stare decisis--namely, does it still exist? Geoffrey Stone (former dean of the University of Chicago law school and provost at Chicago) has spoken eloquently and perceptively about this same phenomenon.
The book runs around 350 pages; it has a number of color photographs, 8 pages of notes, and a brief three-page bibliography. By any measure, Toobin has done as insightful and thorough a job in this study as one could imagine. The writing is crisp, does not bog down in legalistic details, and directs its focus where it should--the Justices as a small group together for the long haul and entrusted with making the most fundamental decisions of American democracy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
several of the key cases as well as the history...Read more