The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court was by Jeffrey Toobin; it was a New York Times bestseller, written in 2007. The book does a good job of adhering to its title, providing an interesting behind-the-scenes look into the world of America’s highest court. Its focus is on the last fifty years, in particular, which makes it even more pertinent.

Toobinis is also a legal analyst for the New Yorker and CNN has become something of a modern historian. His other books are historical accounts of recent events, such as the OJ Simpson case and the Obama presidency.  This book is his most popular.

Overall, it’s a good read that I would recommend.

Overview

One of Toobin’s main points is that political bias is an integral part of the court – appointees are selected because they openly profess this bias. He points to examples from the Bush and Clinton presidencies, showing how these leaders would chose judges that promoted the respective party ideology.  We’re left with the realization that when it comes to the Supreme Court, partisan politics come first and ethics come second.

Toobin also shows abortion has been the major issue on the Supreme Court for the last fifty years. Judges have been nominated based on how they intended to vote on this topic. Toobin conveniently neglects to mention the Jewish influence on abortion in America (he himself is Jewish) focusing on how the judges reacted to it instead. It’s a bit of tribalist self-protection on his part, obfuscating the culprit in order to further confuse the goyim.

The Background of the Individual Judges is Fascinating

The part that I found the most interesting involved the personal tidbits regarding the various candidates:

  • Anthony Scalia used to carry a pistol while riding the New York Subway; he was also an accomplished piano player.
  • Clarence Thomas used to hang out at NASCAR events, because he loved the sport and nobody recognized him.
  • Sandra Day O’ Conner used to try and play matchmaker for David Souter, who lived alone and expressed little interest in women.

These anecdotal accounts tell us a lot about the individual judges. It becomes clear that these tidbits are more than just superfluous stories – they shine a light on the character of the individuals involved. I felt that I knew the justices in a way that I never did before.

The Style is Clear

Toobin’s style is clear and direct. It was obvious that he was a skilled storyteller, knowing when to mix fact with fluff. He loads the paragraphs/chapters with examples that keep the book moving at a nice pace. The word choice is aimed at the common man. You can learn a lot from Toobin’s writing style, which focuses on keeping the writer engaged.

Summary

Overall, The Nine: The Secret World of the Supreme Court is a good book that should be read. It highlights the interesting background of the various individuals and is written in a clear and engaging style. My  only critique, as I touched on above, is that Toobin presents his religion as perfect and blameless (every mention of Judaism is favorable). It would be comparable to a black writer completing a book, and conveniently making every black character out to be a saint.

Besides that, I give the book two thumbs up.

See Related Article: The Lessons of History by Will Durant

 

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: “The Nine: The Secret World of the Supreme Court” by Jeffrey Toobin

  1. Two things:

    (1) It seems like a massive tragedy that you don’t have a larger audience and aren’t swamped with comments. Hell, I could say the same about my site.

    (2) Your even-handedness in reporting on a Jewish book when you’re not a big fan is admirable. That says you can deal with even unpleasant reality without resorting to whitewashed ideology.

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