"The Nine" – An Excellent Read

The first book I selected to read on my new Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader was Jeffrey Toobin‘s The Nine, a superb history of the major cases and figures of the Rehnquist Supreme Court from 1992 to 2005. The book confirms the obvious: the systematic evolution of the court from the liberal days of Chief Justice Warren Burger to the most conservative panel in over a century under John Roberts. It is sobering the learn how so few key individuals guided the change beginning with Reagan’s inauguration in 1981. Troubling, too, is how overtly political the appointments have become and how closely the Reagan/Bush appointees follow the party line. Two personalities stand out in particular in this regard. Justice Scalia has what I can only characterize as a weird literalist view of the Constitution while Justice Thomas seems like a deeply troubled, close-minded, disinterested (and probably incompetent) jurist.

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