I just finished Jeffrey Toobin’s book about the Supreme Court, called The Nine. Wow! What an unexpected treat. If you’re a lawyer you have to read this book, and if you’re not a lawyer but just interested in government then you should read the book too. But, for now let me speak to the lawyers in the audience.
The book follows the shift of the court from the Reagan era forward, showing how it is now on the verge of completing a shift to ultra-conservatism. But the presentation is made interesting by its discussion of key cases that were decided in the past decade—e.g Bush v. Gore and other important constitutional cases. Toobin weaves in, at appropriate points, detailed profiles of each of the Justices. And his examination of the Justices is very personal and touching, or at least for most part. He explains how Sandra Day O’Connor became more centrist than conservative, and how Anthony Kennedy developed an interest in international law (and how that influenced his judicial outlook). David Souter is a quiet man who eschews all use of technology (doesn’t use computers or TVs, and doesn’t have a cellphone) and yet he was the author of the Grokster opinion on file-sharing.
Reading this book is like taking a CLE course in Constitutional Law, except that it’s presented in a highly engaging way. Toobin went to Harvard Law School, so it’s no surprise that he’s adept at explaining the nuances of the law. If you want to see an interview he did recently at Google check this out.