About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin

Jeffrey Toobin has just retired from CNN. He was an excellent analyst of legal affairs. Unfortunately, it is hard not to remember his Zoom meeting in the pandemic where he accidentally exposed himself. I will choose to remember him for the rest of his accomplishments. In 2008 I enjoyed his book, The Nine. He is a good example of why people should get second chances. In my review I did not anticipate Republican senators manipulating the nomination process for the Supreme Court to avoid voting on a Democratic President’s nominee in a presidential election year and voting on a Republican President’s nominee in a presidential year. America is ill-served by such manipulations.


15. - 425.) The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin - A worthy successor to Bob Woodward's The Brethren. Toobin goes through the U.S. Supreme Court Justices from the time of Ronald Reagan through to George Bush. We learn of their personal peculiarities (for lunch every day Souter has a bowl of yogurt and a whole apple including core and seeds) and vanities (Scalia has mounted heads of animals he has shot). While 7 of the last 9 appointments were by Republicans there was great disappointment among conservatives. Several appointments such as Stevens and O'Connor were far more centrist or liberal than they wanted. I did not know that O'Connor was actually the key vote during her 20 some years. Toobin obviously admires her believing she best reflected America because of her understanding of the position of a majority of Americans on issues. Rehnquist was Chief but gave up trying to persuade his more liberal colleagues and focused on efficiently running the Court. I continue to be amazed by the vagaries in the nomination process. Clinton haphazardly run through multiple candidates. George W. Bush abruptly looked to his personal lawyer Harriet Meiers when she was not even a candidate. The decisions on the 2000 Presidential election were as partisan as I feared. At the same time Toobin does point out that even on a recount Gore might not have won. It is clear that the last two appointees (Roberts and Alioto) are true conservatives. Unless Kennedy drifts left there is a reliable conservative core that will dominate the Court even if Stevens retires (he remains an active 87 year old jurist). I think Republicans are about to regret their insistence on avoiding filibusters on judicial appointments needing Senate approval. They appear to have forgotten what will happen to forced up and down votes when they are in the minority in the Senate. Excellent. (Apr. 7/08.)


  1. This does sound fascinating, Bill. It sounds as though it explores the sides of the Supreme Court that a lot of us don't get to see, and that in itself is really interesting. And I have to say that I'm dismayed (although not shocked) at the amount of partisanship going on behind the scenes. You are right that it doesn't serve a country well. I hope that we come to a more productive time when partisanship is not as important as what is right, and right for a country.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I am not surprised that civility is valued at the Supreme Court. Strong disagreements over principle should not extend to personal attacks. On partisanship behind the scenes it has long been a part of the U.S. Supreme Court nominating process. I see no desire by either party to diminish the partisanship.