Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Supreme Conflict (book review)

New book review from The Movie Snob

Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme Court, by Jan Crawford Greenburg (Penguin 2007). This book covers much the same ground as The Nine, which I reviewed a while back. I liked this one much better, as it is far more objective and impartial than that screed. You certainly don't get the feeling that Greenburg is rooting for the conservative ascendancy marked by the additions of John Roberts and Sam Alito to the Court, but she strives for and maintains a "just reporting the facts" tone that is most refreshing. (She has apparently covered the Court as a journalist since 1994, but that doesn't necessarily lead one to expect an objective book.) Personally, I am rooting for the conservative takeover, so I was outraged to read about the presidential ineptitude that led to the appointment of David Souter and enjoyed her descriptions of the insufferably grandiose Anthony Kennedy. Something else I must comment on--Greenburg barely discusses the Bush v. Gore decision on which Jeffrey Toobin spilled so much vitriol and ink. In Toobin's book, as I recall, he asserts that Gore would have won the election if the Florida recount had gone forward. My own vague recollection of the issue was that subsequent media-funded recounts still showed that Bush would have won, but I was too hazy on the subject to challenge Toobin on that point. Greenburg, however, asserts that the media recounts showed that Bush would have won. I'm not saying she's right, but that matches my fuzzy memories anyway.

Warmly recommended for folks interested in Supreme Court politics.


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