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Toobin a lawyer and legal reporter based this book on interviews with the Justices and approximately forty of their law clerks. The book is a narrative of the early years of the Roberts Court which produced a series of 5 to 4 decisions that pitted the Obama administration against the conservative Justices. The book ends with the tie breaking vote to uphold The Affordable Care Act. Toobin reveals the goal of the conservative Justices in rolling back laws on gun rights, abortion, gender discrimination, campaign finance and so on. The Republican Party has controlled the Court since 1953. Toobin looks at how the current makeup of the Court reflects changes in the current Republican party at large, underscoring the fallout created by the departure of the moderate Republican Justices. The most enjoyable part of the book is the human details about the Justices. The book provides a brief biography of each of the justices that has served on the Robert Court. I recently read “The Roberts Court” by Marcia Coyle which covered the same time frame. Coyle went into detail about the cases and the law, Toobin proves more information about the Justice personal life and beliefs than does Coyle. Reading both books provided me with a better understanding of the current court than reading just one of the books. Toobin’s thesis is what he calls the competing visions of Roberts and Obama. Both are intelligent, both products of Chicago, both graduated of Harvard Law School but they have a different view of the meaning of the Constitution. Obama believes the Court should be stable and make gradually changes. Roberts believes in rapid changes to the conservative ideals. I found it interesting that Toobin credits Justice Thomas as the father of the Tea Party. Toobin points out that the Republican Party has made it a priority to put its people into judgeship in all categories of State and Federal courts. Obama has been negligent in appointing Federal Judges. Toobin states a Republican Senator complained “how are we supposed to block appointments if Obama does not appoint them.” Robertson Dean did a good job narrating the book.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed the historical details and the interpersonal relationships on the court. My only complaint was that parts felt like a repeat of Toobin's The Nine. Overall I enjoyed it and learned a few things.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful