Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin

As with many of the books here, Jackie read it first and suggested I'd like it. She's right. It concerns the history of the Rehnquist court, the longest running time in U.S. history when the same 9 judges sat on the court. He continues the book after Rehnquist's death until just before the '08 election.

Toobin is a clear writer who handles this topic with judgement and as little bias as can be had considering some of the court's actions sometime call for expressions of outrage or confusion. It documents the steady drift to the right of that court and the self-leveling dynamics from within the court that allowed some justices who could have been considered right of center to move to the center for the sake of common sense. In the end, the steady focus of the extreme right that has taken over the Republican Party finally broke through with today's court being the result.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the conclusion that there is no such thing as a judge who is not an activist. To have the hard core Constitutionalists judges like Thomas and Scalia vote for the Bush administration and against a specific portion of the original Constitution violating the Writ of Habeus Corpus and the skewing of power toward the executive branch just shows that politics speaks louder than the Constitution when it serves a judge's interests. This is a very good book but made me angry all over again reliving the 2000-08 time frame.

1 comment:

Becky said...

Very topical given the recent Supreme Court nomination. Nice review!