I'd heard good things about this book, but it's even better than I thought it would be. The author closely examines the history of the contemporary Court, and provides a lot of insight into the personalities and motivations of the justices, as well as those of the presidents who appointed them. His style is that of an animated storyteller, and he's certainly done his homework. Listening to this book is almost as good as sitting next to a guest at a dinner party who has the most marvelous stories and insights. Not for a minute was I bored.
The narrator is excellent.
Well, as advertised "The Nine" is in fact exciting, even riveting and insightful, but what is not advertised is that the author's strong left wing bias is barely concealed. This is sad. The subject matter is of great importance, and the author obviously put a great deal of sweat into into its writing, but unfortunately, it was titled wrong. It would have better been titled "The Nine: A Leftist's View of the Supreme Court". If your leanings are left, you will love this book. If they are right, you will hate it. If, on the other hand you are apolitical as I am, and you read the book to learn more about this major institution of the american government system, you will be saddened and disappointed, bucause the schloarship cannot be trusted.
A fascinating look into the inner workings of the Supreme Court. Lots of interesting tidbits about the court, its justices, and how their personalities and politics influence their decisions. Toobin focuses mainly on the justices serving in the 1980's through the appointment of John Roberts as Chief Justice. For casual watchers of the court you will find lots to like - equal parts analysis of some of the more important decisions over the past 30 years, biography, and insider anecdotes - all told within the context of shifting political trends. I found it all very entertaining and informative but those interested in the history of the court or in depth legal analysis of landmark rulings should look elsewhere.
Understanding the Supreme Court decisions of the last 20 years and the personalities within the court.
This is not fiction, by any stretch of the imagination. It is straight-forward fact and observation. While a fair and through assessment, it also offers some relevant character study, which is cleverly done and sets the scenes for appointment to this elite body. It has some elements of what sounds like a novel, but after some research on my part, it is appears that there is no exaggeration. The humanity, humor, strongly held beliefs of the Chief Justices and how they influence other members of the court is particularly interesting. Above all, while this review is probably dull, the book is not! It is a learning experience, even for the already learned and should be required reading for anyone interested in the law.
Overall this book has an adequate summary of the behind the scenes ongoings in the Court covering the Rehnquist to the Roberts period. Although I often wondered where the information was obtained - how the author had access to comments made during the Court's private conferences.
I take issue with Toobin's constant attack upon the jurists to the right. I would have enjoyed this book much more had the treatment of all of the Justices been handled with the same objectivity. The author clearly expressed this opinion that the jurists on the right are somehow intellectually inferior than the others. I found it quite insulting, inappropriate, and unnecessary. This should have been a neutral reporting of an important period of time of the Court, not an attempt to get even or to take a shot at the right.
High School Reading and English Teacher
The basic premise of this book is that Supreme Court justices' decisions are better understood as the result of personality and politics than of judicial philosophy. The book is a detailed explanation of how the dynamics of nine personalities, and the internal politics of assigning decisions and recruiting "opinions" to build a majority, drives the final outcome of decisions. The work is in the same mode as "The Brethren" by Woodward and Armstrong but deals with a very different time on the court.
The in-depth profiles of each justice are fascinating, detailed, and little gossipy. The author is most interesting when tracing how time on the court changes the justices themselves.
The profile of Scalia is interesting for its depth and respect, especially for a judge whose judicial philosophy the author clearly disagrees with. The profile of Thomas reads as shrill and one-sided. I don't actually know enough to judge the accuracy of the information but the tone is so disdainful, it made me skeptical.
The rest of the justices are addressed with reverent attention, and the author's assessment of their careers is supported by so much detailed information that you will be able to decide for yourself how much you agree.
Overall, the descriptions of the history and the central conflict at the center of each case provide a compelling view of the work of the court and how it ultimately gets done.
Bike commuter: I listen during my ride home. And while walking the dog. And cleaning the house...
I have followed the politics of the Supreme Court for years, and this book really fed my craving for inside info. A great listen!
most engaging reading of an audiobook I've ever had -- I really enjoy Don Leslie's appropriately dramatic narration, which is best when complementing dramatic plots and narratives such as Toobin's relatively creative nonfictional account of the Supreme Court
I agree with others' reviews that Jeffrey Toobin doesn't conceal his bias against judges who base their legal opinions on a strict reading of the constitution. I listened for twenty minutes and had to stop. This is not biographical, but editorial. Shame on Toobin and the publishers for publicizing this book as anything but that. If I could get a refund, I would.