DavidE, July 10, 2014 (view all comments by DavidE)
Toobin's analysis and insight of the US Supreme in The Nine is brilliantly written. The book provides a glimpse into the world of the US Supreme Court and the personalities behind it. It is a must read for anyone interested in the US judiciary system.
erickson.bruce, October 2, 2007 (view all comments by erickson.bruce)
An eloquent and insighful insider's account of how the Supreme Court works and how it is driven not only by the Constitution and precedent but also by personality and politics.
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Elaine, September 23, 2007 (view all comments by Elaine)
In a nutshell, the message of this extremely interesting and well-written book is that the Supreme Court has enormous power over our lives and yet we typically know very little about the 9 men and women who constitute the court. Toobin provides us with portraits of each of the justices who served during recent years. Some were drawn through what seem to be extensive interviews while others were pieced together from their aides and observations. He underscores the well-known fact that once they are appointed to the Court (for life) a justice may turn out to be something other than expected. We've known that, but his clear assessments serve to make it more concrete.
One interesting (and surprising to me) portrait that emerged was that of Sandra Day O'Connor who Toobin obviously admired greatly. In fact he elevates her to the most important woman in American history. I don't think I buy that - obviously important but what about all those who came before her, like the suffragettes, who allowed her to have any real role? I also found it interesting that her role in the 2000 election didn't entirely sour Toobin in her.
But overall, this is a fascinating look at the "Supremes" written by someone with the perfect combination of impeccable credentials and interesting literary style.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by 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)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Bob Woodward, co-author of The Brethren,
"A major achievement, lucid and probing."
by Doris Kearns Goodwin,
"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."
by Michiko Kakutani, New York Times,
"Driven by the author's assured narrative voice, The Nine is as informative as it is fascinating, as insightful as it is readable."
by Seattle Times,
"[A] fascinating inside look at the most secretive branch of government. Toobin writes beautifully, and the book is impossible to put down."
by Christian Science Monitor,
"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."
by Chicago Sun-Times,
"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."
by USA Today,
"Based on interviews with some of the justices and about 75 of their former clerks, The Nine is anecdotally rich and clearly written."
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