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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author Jeffrey Toobin takes you into the chambers of the Supreme Court and reveals the complex dynamic among the nine people who decide the law of the land. Just in time for the 2008 presidential election - where the future of the Court will be at stake - Toobin reveals an institution at a moment of transition, when decades of conservative disgust with the Court have finally produced a conservative majority, with major changes in store on such issues as abortion, civil rights, presidential power, and church-state relations. 

Based on exclusive interviews with the justices themselves, The Nine tells the story of the Court through personalities - from Anthony Kennedy’s overwhelming sense of self-importance to Clarence Thomas’s well-tended grievances against his critics to David Souter’s odd 19th century lifestyle. There is also, for the first time, the full behind-the-scenes story of Bush v. Gore - and Sandra Day O’Connor’s fateful breach with George W. Bush, the president she helped place in office. 

The Nine is the book Toobin was born to write. He is a best-selling author, a CNN senior legal analyst, and New Yorker staff writer. No one is more superbly qualified to profile the nine justices. 

©2007 Jeffrey Toobin (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"A major achievement, lucid and probing." (Bob Woodward) 

"This is a remarkable, riveting book. So great are Toobin's narrative skills that both the justices and their inner world are brought vividly to life." (Doris Kearns Goodwin) 

"Absorbing....[Toobin's] savvy account puts the supposedly cloistered Court right in the thick of American life." (Publishers Weekly)  

What listeners say about The Nine

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

This book is about the Supreme Court Justices - not the law. I found this to be a fascinating look into the individual nature of the justices and how their background, personalities, public and public opinion influence their decisions. The book covers many of the more well known cases regarding afirmative action, abortion, death penalty, gay rights, women's right etc. However, the focus is not on the cases but rather how the decisions were made. Insight into why the Chief Justice is so important, how 'liberals' judges like David Souter got nominated by a republican president. Why did the justices intervene in the Gore-Bush election? Which justice cried after the decision? What did the justices think of the Clarence Thomas confirmaion hearings? How did the presidents actually go about choosing a justice? How in the world did Harrier Myers get nominated? These any more topics are covered. if you have any interest in the Supreme Court, you will find this an interesting read (listent).

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Human Group

Jeffrey Toobin sure flat knows how to reveal what the court is really like. In his fine book, "The Nine," the listener comes to know about each high court judge warts and all. Sharp character sketches and descriptions of how the judges work individually and together are great.

Toobin, it seems, has set out to help us understand how the court works from the perspective of those a part of it. He succeeds wonderfully in this task. His portraits of the individual judges extends over a 15 year period allowing for him to introduce key decisions made over that period.

This book is well written and read. It tells how the individual judges work and interact rather than telling how the court works, per se. Therefore, the book will be of broader interest. Listen to it for what it is and you'll not be disappointed.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Pulp Jurisdiction

The Nine is written as a travelogue of the recent to not so recent history of this esteemed panel. It has many interesting facts and anecdotes concerning an 'inside baseball' perspective of the court. The average listener to this type of book however is probably more interested in a more academic approach to the subject. It is not that this title is not enjoyable, much to the contrary, I was quite engaged all the way through...It's just that when I got to the end I wasn't sure that I understood the court any better than I had before listening. What I was hoping for was how the cases were presented to the Justices and how they interpreted the Constitution in their findings. Fortunately Audible has actual Supreme Court hearings downloadable for free...This I found more informative, if a bit less entertaining.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The Nine

A very educational look at how the appointments to the judicial bench influence the laws of the country and how the judges make their decisions. Disturbing in how removed from reality some are. A fascinating look at their culture. I enjoyed this book.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

An entertaining peek behind the red curtain

Any additional comments?

A fascinating look into the inner workings of the Supreme Court. Lots of interesting tidbits about the court, its justices, and how their personalities and politics influence their decisions. Toobin focuses mainly on the justices serving in the 1980's through the appointment of John Roberts as Chief Justice. For casual watchers of the court you will find lots to like - equal parts analysis of some of the more important decisions over the past 30 years, biography, and insider anecdotes - all told within the context of shifting political trends. I found it all very entertaining and informative but those interested in the history of the court or in depth legal analysis of landmark rulings should look elsewhere.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

5 stars for leftys, 4 for others

If you are interested in politics and the court, this book is pretty darn interesting. Toobin is quite liberal, and writes from that point of view. As long as you can accept that, he writes a good tale, and you learn a lot about what drives the justices, albeit from his very left-leaning view of piety.

My biggest complaint is the author's omissions of important parts of arguments, for example, the whole Bush v Gore election. He totally glosses over the strident incompetence of the Florida Supreme Court. Only if you were a news junky at the time would you have the proper context to understand the whole story. He leaves out many details that don't comport with his liberal views; but, I guess we all do that some. Overall, very good book.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Well researched and a great read

It is very scary to read how the Republican Christian Right-wing decided to conquer the Supreme Court - and succeeded. A less known - and quite dirty - part of American history is here brought to light. It is somewhat of a scary science fiction novel to read how ultra-conservative people can influence our daily life. But it is true. Apart from how that swing in majority in the Court was made possible, this is a very good analysis of the Court and how it works. Even the legal parts are well written and analyzed (says this legally trained reader.) Highly recommended!

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • TS
  • 05-12-19

Interesting but biased

While I enjoy the SCOTUS and it’s history a great deal, and certainly learned a good amount from this book, the author’s liberal bias is crystal clear as he tells the story of the court. If you’re looking for a book that will give an evenhanded assessment of the court and it’s justices, this is not the book for you.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Sleep-inducing.

This book has a great narrator, so I can't lay the blame for returning the book on him. Unless you are a dyed-in-the-wool Supreme Court junkie, this book will cure your insomnia within the first few pages. I don't return many books, but this one is going back.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Very long and kind of basic

I'm an attorney, so for me a lot of what was covered in this book was pretty basic, and I got a little bored given its length. I did find some of the behind-the-scenes accounts of the nomination process pretty interesting though. Also, the narrator had an extremely slow manner of speaking, so I recommend playing the book on 1.25 or 1.5 speed.

1 person found this helpful