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Book Report on "the Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court"

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The Nine

"The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court" is a book written by Jeffrey Toobin who is a Harvard graduate and a senior analyst for CNN. He is also a staff writer at the New Yorker. He has written several articles on controversial legal issues. Cases he has covered include Bush v Gore, Clinton v Jones, and Thomas v Hill. (Anchors and Reporters, 2010). He tells a story of the Supreme Court and the personalities of the nine justices. His writings are based on actual interviews with the justices themselves. Toobin writes of facts as well as gives his own twist portraying the minds and cases of the Supreme Court. Toobin calls Sandra Day O'Connor the central figure in his book because he stated she was the central figure on the court (Toobin, A Conversation with Jeffrey Toobin, 2007). The book reflects many of her decisions and how they were made. Toobin also gives us a feel for the environment of the court, specifically during the "Rehnquist Revolution." He paints a vivid picture of the "assembly line" that was the Rehnquist Court. He discusses relationships between the Justices on and off of the bench. He also relays different situations in the Justices private lives and conveys the impact they have on them at different times in their lives.

Although Toobin discusses many cases, the Supreme Court decided on there are three that are the focus of this report. Clinton v Jones, Grutter v Bollinger and Gratz v Bollinger. The issues surrounding the cases will be discussed as well as how some of the Justices were trying to convince the others to see their side. Toobin has an abundance of information to offer in his book and highlights key points that encircle these cases.

Clinton v Jones

Paula Jones who was formerly known as Paula Corbin accused President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment in 1994. The harassment per Jones had actually taken place three years prior while she was working for Clinton at his Quality Management Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. She claimed the former Governor called her up to his hotel room and commented about her curves while exposing himself and asking her to "kiss it" (Toobin, The Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, 2007). Of course, President Clinton denied these accusations claiming no memory of Ms. Jones or the incident itself. Jones was suing because her superiors in the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission retaliated against her for refusing President Clinton's advances. Clinton retained attorney Bob Bennett to argue that due to his position as president he should be entitled to a stay all of proceedings in the Jones case until he left office (Toobin, The Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, 2007). Toobin describes how the case initially united the Justices against Clinton. He portrays O'Connor as being physically repelled by Jones's allegations. Ginsburg and Breyer who were Clinton's own nominees had to avoid looking like they were in favor of Clinton since he had appointed them. Toobin describes the case as being similar to a trailer-park sitcom rather than a Supreme Court case. Oral arguments were a struggle for Bennett as he tried to argue that the amount of time President Clinton would have to spend on this case would affect his work as president substantially. The Court was not sympathetic with Scalia advising he sees Presidents spent a multitude of time golfing and horseback riding and he was not convinced the Jones case would occupy too much of the President's time. Sandra Day O'Connor asked Bennett what his argument was actually about. Was this about damage control of a political figure? (Clinton V Jones Oral Arguments, 1997). Bennett's argument was not strong. The Court was not convinced the issue of the President's time was legitimate. Therefore, the Supreme Court ruled on January 17, 1998 that Clinton would answer Paula Jones's attorney's questions at a sworn deposition. The events that followed became landmarks in American history (Toobin, The Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, 2007). Clinton lied at his grand jury testimony and Kenneth Starr who was the investigator in the Monica Lewinsky case and the Whitewater Land deal told of Clinton's misconduct during his Jones testimony. The case had initiated so much scandal that the House of Representatives impeached President Clinton on December 19, 1998. Chief Justice William Rehnquist would be presiding over an impeachment trial. In a recent Good Morning America interview, Kenneth Starr stated of the impeachment, "Who is not sorrowful for the entire chapter in American history? However, the law is the law and no one is above the law. It was the decision, and it was an unhappy decision, but it was the right decision" (Starr, 2010). Chief Rehnquist did not have to utter much at all during the proceedings of President Clinton's impeachment trial, although Toobin makes it a point to discuss the new robe he chose to wear to court. He appeared to be copying the costume of the Lord Chancellor from a local production of the operetta. Sandra Day O'Connor is quoted saying "We thought it was joke" (Toobin, The Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, 2007) And when Rehnquist talked of his role in Clinton's impeachment trial he stated, "I did nothing in particular, and I did it very well (Toobin, The Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, 2007). The decision was a relief for President Clinton, although there was not much doubt he would win. Both votes taken of the impeachment supporters were short of the 67 votes they would need to impeach President Clinton. On February 12, 1999, he was acquitted of all charges. Throughout all of these issues, President Clinton's presidency was unaffected. The public viewed him as a man with serious personal character flaws but gave him high approval ratings for the job he was doing as President (Epstein & Walker, 2009).

Grutter v Bollinger

Gratz v Bollinger

In 1997 Lee Bollinger was the president of the University of Michigan. Michigan used a statistical test based on grades and SAT results for most admission decisions. Blacks generally scored lower on these tests than whites. Without the university giving advantages to black students by allowing them to have, a lower GPA and SAT score in order to get in they would have had almost all white students. Barbara Grutter and Jennifer Gratz were both white females that applied to the University of Michigan. Grutter applied to the law school and Gratz to the undergraduate program. Grutter had a 3.8 GPA and a 161 on her LSAT. Gratz's

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