The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library
A couple of years ago we published a blog post here about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her recent passing has revived interest in her life and career, and in addition to the books discussed in that post you can learn more about her through documentaries like RBG and feature films like On the Basis of Sex.
But Justice Ginsburg’s recent passing has also ignited popular conversations about the Supreme Court itself and the ways in which justices are nominated, confirmed, and treated in the political ecosystem of Washington. As usual, the Library’s got books for that.
Bob Woodward, a journalistic institution and himself a recent grabber of headlines for his latest book about the Trump White House, wrote a widely read book, The Brethren, about the Supreme Court between 1969 and 1975; it’s available through the Search Ohio network. For all its influence, however, it’s not an extremely well-regarded book, either among Supreme Court titles or within Woodward’s ouvre. His characterizations of the justices as petty, scheming, and egotistical finaglers make the most elevated legal thinkers in the land come across as a mix of the Greek gods and the cast of a reality show.
There are, however, authors who’ve made the Supreme Court a specialty and are more successful at it.. One is Joan Biskupic, whose biographies of the justices Scalia, O’Connor, and Roberts create an intersecting portrait of the institution and its personalities:
Another author is Jeffrey Toobin, whose The Nine is a classic and compelling depiction of the recent Court.
Jeff Shesol’s Supreme Power chronicles FDR’s acrimonious relationship to the Supreme Court and the plans he hatched to try and make it friendlier to him.
Ohio author Wil Haygood tells the compelling story of Justice Marshall’s confirmation process, which almost makes recent hearings seem nearly civilized by comparison.
And then there’s a whole catalog of books about the lives and work of individual justices. A few standouts: