I enjoyed reading this book about the supreme court. It gave a personal look at the judges and how that effects their votes.
I teach Business, Economics, and English at a university in Tokyo. My interests are in politics, economics, and philosophy. I hold a BA in English Literature, and an MA in Political Science.
This was an excellent book with loads of information. The major problem I have is that it's not really organized very well. I was happy to see that the politics were kept largely to the side...though it's clear the writer doesn't like the Right.
The book slightly touches on Alito and Robert's appointments, but spends more time on the previous nine. This book is full of Supreme Court history and lore, but the author struggled with perspectives. The perspective of precedents in the court's history or the perspective of the judges and their appointments.
I would get this book again if I had too...even if it were a few hours longer, I enjoyed it that much. I would recommend it as reading before next year's primaries.
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.
Toobin has good material. The research is thorough. However, as in his OJ book, his biases and attempts at analysis undermine the book rather than make it more interesting. I say that even though I share his political and social leanings. His thinking is that of an outsider who misunderstands the perceptions and motivations of those he watches. As someone who spent many years practicing law, my reaction while reading/listening to the book was often that he just didn't "get it." Instead he "gets it" about 50% of the time. It's the writing of someone who is well educated in the law but not in the behavior of the humans in the courts and in cases. Nonetheless, the facts he describes are fascinating, and it's easy enough to separate out and ignore his speculation and opinion.
I think Toobin could write a very good book if he made a conscious effort to write a "neutral" book, with the assistance of an editor that insisted on that principle. He understands the mechanics of the law and our legal system. His writing, in other books, and elsewhere, is clear and easy to read. He's a good reporter who simply does not have good insight about the cases and institutions he covers. The next time he gets an advance to tackle some interesting case or legal institution, he should stick to the facts.
Jeffrey Toobin gives the reader an incredibly detailed and intimate look into the lives, transition, and evolution of the Supreme Court and its Justices. Toobin breaks down decisions and conflict to the very bone, teasing the reader with dialogue between Supreme Court Justices that happens right in their chambers. All the way up to the end, the reader is given mass amounts of information as the story of the Supreme Court, the Nine, and Justice progresses up to a close present.
Toobin's description of the case Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000) is incredible. Toobin shows one of the Supreme Court's greatest flaws through this case by ripping away the Justices' aura of being untouchable and shows their true human nature as they make a grave mistake by taking the case. This case has truly shaped how the Supreme Court throughout the 2000's progressed.
Don Leslie, the narrator, is a magnificent voice that brings energy to a very information heavy read.
Understanding the Supreme Court decisions of the last 20 years and the personalities within the court.
Avid general reader with a fondness for British and Irish Writers and world history.
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.
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.
I listen on my commute home.
I have followed the politics of the Supreme Court for years, and this book really fed my craving for inside info. A great listen!