Damon's Reviews > The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin
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's review
Jan 24, 2008

really liked it
Recommended for: Those who care about our country
Read in January, 2008

This book gives a nice overview of the Supreme Court justices of the last 20 years and their major decisions. It is a light, enjoyable read with enough information to keep the reader interested, but perhaps doesn't go into as much depth about some subjects as I would like. The description of how the Court shifted to the right, then to the left, then took a hard right with the Bush (W) nominations was laid out nicely, and the process (or lack of) that went into Bush's and Clinton's nominations was especially interesting. My one main complaint about the book is that Toobin writes it in a way that leaves no doubt that he carries the belief that the Court's right-leaning justices are loonies and the left-leaners are angels. I think that the book would be better if an attempt was made to write it in a more neutral manner (his conclusions would come out without being blatant), but perhaps Toobin knew that he was writing primarily for those who would share his political beliefs.
All in all, I walk away from this book glad I read it as it gave me a good idea of how the court is and has been operating. I hate to say that I went into this book thinking that the majority of the justices really try to do what is right rather than just make decisions that are based on their political beliefs, and I came away from it with the impression that this was almost exactly wrong. Most troubling for me to read about was Justice O'Connor's role in the Bush v. Gore decision, as her role up to this point of swing voter have me the impression that she was pretty immune to the political bias.
The important message to be learned from this book and its description of political bias on the court, it seems, is that judicial nominations are perhaps the most powerful thing the President does and therefore great care must be taken in choosing our country's leader.
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