24 September 2007

NY Times Weekend: Profile of Justice Stevens & Review of 'The Nine'

Fun stuff in this weekend's NY Times Newspaper and Magazine. The Magazine had a long profile of US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens by Jeffrey Rosen (George Washington University), while the Newspaper's Book Section had an engaging review of Jeffrey Toobin's new book The Nine. Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court (Doubleday 2007) by David Margolick. Margolick's review is especially interesting on the secrecy that surrounds much of what the US Supreme Court does. He writes:

"[S]cholars aren’t much help. Many top law professors once clerked on the court; cherishing their relations with the justices, along with the power to pull strings from Cambridge or New Haven or Palo Alto to land similar positions for their students, few dig deeply into court affairs. It all works very neatly; the only ones hurt are the American people, who know little about nine individuals with enormous power over their lives. That is why, every decade or so, an enterprising and intelligent outsider like Toobin can come along and shine a much-needed spotlight on the place."

Margolick concludes:

"When it comes to covering the United States Supreme Court as a living, breathing, human institution rather than as a collection of icons, “The Nine” is state of the art. But it’s an art in need of a renaissance."

Good point.

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