The Nine

The Nine

by Jeffrey Toobin

Overview: 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..

Sharon Weiss (11/26/19): The Nine, as its subtitle states, takes you inside the secret world of the Supreme Court. I knew that the decisions rendered were based on the political leanings and judicial philosophies of the justices, but this book gives you so much detail about each justice through its 2007 publication date. I knew Sandra Day O’Connor was a trail blazer as the first female justice, but I didn’t realize how much her swing votes affected the ultimate outcome of so many decisions and how much she influenced other justices. The book provides a brief biography of each justice so the reader can understand each justice’s point of view. We also learn how justices influence each other and seek to change the other justice's point of view. We learn about the role of the law clerks in preparing material for review and determining which cases are accepted for review.

One of the most disturbing themes of the book is how much political factions influence the selection of each justice and the conservative groups who want to reverse Roe v. Wade, affirmative action and the prohibition of prayer in school. As we all surmised, most of the justices received their education at the top Ivy League schools even though many have traditional middle class backgrounds. Some of them lead fairly normal family lives while others live in their ivory towers. This is a must read for anyone interested in the law.
Rating: *****

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