Back during the spring sales conference, Doubleday announced a new book by Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst and author of The Nine. Most of the time I nurture my English major side and read fiction, catching up on non-fiction via audiobooks in the car. I was a History major in college too, though, and there are certain topics that turn me into a junky jonesing for the crack rock of, say, books about the Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of my heroes. I'm pretty sure that Elena Kagan would like to have dinner with me. I loved The Nine, a history of the Rehnquist era Supreme Court, because Toobin is the master of writing about complex legal issues for non-lawyers. Also, he doesn't pander. He's smart and he writes for smart people, but he doesn't lose his readers with jargon. Jeffrey Toobin educates, and he's a great teacher. His new book, The Oath, had me giddy, but there was a problem: Toobin was waiting for the end of the Supreme Court term before completing his new book.
probably a great dinner date
|Those are some ominous|
clouds in the background.
|Even the leaders of tomorrow know|
that the Yankees suck today.
The Oath examines the parallel ascents of Barack Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts, and offers a history of the Supreme Court over the last two Presidential terms. The Supreme Court of Rehnquist's era, characterized by moderate Republican leadership and Sandra Day O'Conner as the swing vote, no longer exists. Four new justices--Roberts, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan--now sit on the bench, and the new lines have been drawn. There's no such thing as a moderate Republican anymore, and the new Court advocated rapid changes to laws while Obama urged caution and restraint. In effect, Obama is the conservative here. He's fighting to keep the court from rolling back decades of legal decisions (Roe v. Wade was passed before I was born and it's still the nation's biggest point of contention) while the new tone of the Court suggests major changes with long lasting repercussions.
|That's a Harry Carey mask (Cubs), an Astros|
foam paw, and an ugly Yankees shirt.
To say The Oath is timely is an understatement. Gun control. Women's rights. Healthcare. The Tea Party. Campaign finance reform. Corporations-as-people. These are the issues upon which the Supreme Court is ruling. The Court is a microcosm of the country as a whole (except populated by much, much smarter people); the issues dividing the nation are represented among these nine people. And as I said, Toobin is the master at bringing forth the drama and significance of legal decisions so that non-lawyers can relate to what's at stake. I can't wait to talk about it with other people...this fall, when everyone else gets to read it.
Anyone need Yankees crap? I am accepting offers....