The Oath

I just finished The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin. it's his follow-up to his best-seller The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. Both are great.

I'm generally not too interested in law, but Toobin is covering only the most interesting cases of the highest court in the land, and I found both books engrossing. For this layman, what's eye-opening and somewhat shocking is just how powerful the nine Supreme Court justices are and how politicized the appointment process has become. In many ways, which nine people make up the Supreme Court should matter much more to the the average American citizen than who is elected President. A President can serve only up to 8 years in that office, but Supreme Court justices have decades to shape American life in the most fundamental ways. In fact, one of the ways it really matters who we elect President is that they get to appoint new Supreme Court justices as previous ones retire or pass away.

I've spoken to some of my friends who work in law, and some disagree with Toobin's legal assessments, but for someone without a deep knowledge of law, the book is written at the perfect level. Call it the "New Yorker" level of insight into a topic, as Toobin is one of their writers and an exemplar of the New Yorker idea presentation style.

Related: Critical Legal Studies