Thursday, January 15, 2009

Review: The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin

The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin

Description:In The Nine, 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.

I must start out by saying that this is not a book that I would normally choose to read. It was my book club book for this month that the group voted on. With that said, this is definitely a book that took me out of my comfort zone and I am very glad that I read this book. Mr. Toobin goes into great detail of the inner workings of the Supreme Court justices, their backgrounds as well as their personal and political beliefs. He interviewed "the nine" justices (Rehnquist, Stevens, O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer), plus the most recent two (Roberts & Alito). He also interviewed their clerks and added great details of Court History to blend the information. Toobin goes into great detail to show the controversies that have affected the court on both sides of the liberal and conservatives on the court. This book was a reminder that all members of the Supreme Court, the highest body in the United States, are appointed by the current President and confirmed by the Senate. Also, the President selects individuals who share his idealogical views. Toobin shows how these choices affect major decisions faced by the courts. This book does cover controversial issues that have come before the court including segregation, abortion, gay rights and affirmative action. It was a thought provoking and engaging book and it reminds us of what the constitution stands for and how much has changed in our own society since then. It was not a quick read, at least for me, and it is definitely dry reading at some points. If you don't have a legal background, you just may find yourself needing a dictionary at your side. Also, using google searches for background information will be helpful. I would recommend this book for those interested in history and legal issues and for those of us who should know about what is going on in our own government!

About the Author: Jeffrey Toobin, a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1993 and the senior legal analyst for CNN, is one of the most recognized and admired legal journalists in the country. (Information from the authors website, for more information go HERE. )


  1. That's out of my normal comfort zone, too, but it sounds very interesting. I may have to give it a try.

  2. This is way out of my comfort zone. Any book that requires the use of another book i.e. dictionary, is a passer for me.

    Your review is very well written.

  3. Great Review Bonnie... It sounds really interesting and enlightening. Certainly not my typical read. I would like to read this one. I will let you know if I get around to reviewing it. Thanks. I hadn't heard of the book until your blog.

  4. I applaud you for making it all the way through!! I don't think I could do it!!

  5. I too often forget about non-fiction....I think I would LOVE this one!

  6. I loved this one, although I did have to look a few things up! I've always been fascinated by the Supreme Court.


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