Bench Memos

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Toobin or Not Toobin


I probably won’t read Jeffrey Toobin’s new book The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.  I’m certainly not in a hurry to do so.  Maybe in a hammock next summer.  I haven’t even gotten around yet to Jan Crawford Greenburg’s Supreme Conflict, which many have hailed as a really good book.  The Nine seems to fall into the category of the higher gossip, with little of value to add to our store of knowledge.  Judging from David Margolick’s review in today’s NYTBR, Toobin has made himself the willing grindstone of axes wielded by Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, and above all Sandra Day O’Connor. 

A few years ago Justice O’Connor published a soporific little tome called The Majesty of the Law, its title promising what the book delivered, vacuous little essays stuffed full of duck-billed platitudes.  Now Jeffrey Toobin becomes the effective ghost-writer of the first draft of O’Connor’s “secret” memoirs, in which she is revealed as seething with resentments against people who won’t take direction from Her Majesty of the Law.  The really sad thing about O’Connor is that she probably identifies the platitudes and the self-importance as one and the same thing.  Les lois, c’est moi.  What an indecently arrogant human being.


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