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The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Courtby Jeffrey Toobin
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"'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)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A major achievement, lucid and probing." Bob Woodward, co-author of The Brethren
"This is a remarkable, riveting book. So great are Toobin's narrative skills that both the justices and their inner world are brought vividly to life." Doris Kearns Goodwin
"Driven by the author's assured narrative voice, The Nine is as informative as it is fascinating, as insightful as it is readable." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"[A] fascinating inside look at the most secretive branch of government. Toobin writes beautifully, and the book is impossible to put down." Seattle Times
"Readers who share the author's left-of-center outlook will likely delight in Toobin's account. Others, looking for a more nuanced, politically neutral analysis may have to search elsewhere." Christian Science Monitor
"The Nine profiles the often quirky justices that make up the members of our most recent Supreme Court. Toobin's access to the Supremes and to their secret little world is phenomenal." Chicago Sun-Times
"Based on interviews with some of the justices and about 75 of their former clerks, The Nine is anecdotally rich and clearly written." USA Today
Book News Annotation:
Basing his work in no small part on interviews with the justices, Toobin (a CNN senior legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer) has constructed an inside-the-beltway account of the United States Supreme Court under Chief Justices Rehnquist and Roberts. The individual personalities sitting on the bench drive the narrative, in particular the longstanding swing voter Sandra Day O'Connor, and Toobin concentrates his discussion on the more sensationalistic "hot-button" cases decided by the court, such as Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Robert P. Casey, Bush v. Gore, and Lawrence v. Texas. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Jeffrey Toobin is the author of such bestsellers as Too Close to Call, A Vast Conspiracy, and The Run of His Life. He lives with his family in New York City.
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