This review was originally published on a now long defunct livejournal account. I am moving it over here as part of a project to get all my writing into one spot.
The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court
OK, I haven’t read All the Presidents Men, (which is a shame and really should be rectified) but of all the Woodward books I’ve read, this is by far the best. As a intellectual investigation into the workings of the Supreme Court, it isn’t much. But as a juicy tell-all of the behind the scenes sausage making in the land’s highest court, it cannot be beat. Woodward can get just about anyone to talk to him, and that is never clearer than in this book. He’s got direct quotes from meetings where there were probably less than a dozen people present. Its amazing.
Here are some brief thoughts on some of the justices features in this book:
Burger – was a tool
Marshall – was a much better lawyer than he was a justice.
Rehnquist – dick.
Douglas –dick, but pretty fucking amazing.
Probably the most fascinating of the justices is Blackmun who goes from an incredibly self-conscious to confident and interesting in the quick couple of years the book covers. If you have any interest in the personalities on the Supreme Court, or the kind of horse trading that goes on there, you have to read this. If not, there’s no reason you’d ever pick it up.
Recommended for the enthusiast.