Sunday, December 21, 2008

Book Review

My (now old) review is of Jeffrey Toobin's "The Nine : Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court". The paperback edition was released in September this year, and it has seen a significant rise in sales as of the past few weeks.

I've been shelving this title in the Law section for many months, and I finally found the fortitude to read it. Non-fiction books usually take me longer than fiction ones because of their depth and high levels of knowledge retention. However, Toobin's writing is very fluid and does not ramble on for several pages, as some (or many) books do.

Aside from all the minor details of my reading preferences, I enjoyed the book for the significant amount of information it laid upon me. I didn't know that the justices hardly ever spoke to each other; that 7 of the 9 justices have been appointed by Republican presidents; that Sandra Day O'Connor made her female law clerks do salsa dancing in the morning before work; that Justice David Souter nearly resigned over the Bush v. Gore debacle; that Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are hardcore "constitutional literalists" (meaning that they interpret every law with what the founding fathers intended at that time in history; for them, the law does not change with time). There are many other things I learned from it, but it would be unfair of me to mention them here. Also, as with all non-fiction/history books that I read, I tend to be overwhelmed with new knowledge, and therefore, I easily forget a good portion of what I read. It happens. Get over it.

On the (somewhat) plus side, there are now 3 justices that are likely to retire during the incoming administration's tenure (i.e., President-elect Obama would have the opportunity to appoint 3 new justices to the bench during a democrat controlled congressional period). The reason why I say it is "somewhat" on the plus side is because the presumed outgoing justices would be among the "liberal" group of U.S. supreme court justices. That is to say, it would not tip the court in a liberal favor (by much).

1 comment:

  1. That book floats in the universe of things I want to eventually read.

    With the politicization of the Supreme Court in the post-Bush v. Gore America, I imagine that it might be even harder to put liberals on the bench than it was before.