The Oath by Jeffrey Toobin
The Obama White House and the Supreme Court

76%

17 Critic Reviews

The freshest portions of “The Oath” tend to deal with interactions among the justices, and the ways temperament and past experiences inform their philosophies and decisions.
-NY Times

Synopsis

From the prizewinning author of The Nine, a gripping insider's account of the momentous ideological war between the John Roberts Supreme Court and the Obama administration.

From the moment John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, blundered through the Oath of Office at Barack Obama's inauguration, the relationship between the Supreme Court and the White House has been confrontational. Both men are young, brilliant, charismatic, charming, determined to change the course of the nation—and completely at odds on almost every major constitutional issue. One is radical; one essentially conservative. The surprise is that Obama is the conservative—a believer in incremental change, compromise, and pragmatism over ideology. Roberts—and his allies on the Court—seek to overturn decades of precedent: in short, to undo the ultimate victory FDR achieved in the New Deal.
   This ideological war will crescendo during the 2011-2012 term, in which several landmark cases are on the Court's docket—most crucially, a challenge to Obama's controversial health-care legislation. With four new justices joining the Court in just five years, including Obama's appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, this is a dramatically—and historically—different Supreme Court, playing for the highest of stakes.
   No one is better positioned to chronicle this dramatic tale than Jeffrey Toobin, whose prize-winning bestseller The Nine laid bare the inner workings and conflicts of the Court in meticulous and entertaining detail. As the nation prepares to vote for President in 2012, the future of the Supreme Court will also be on the ballot.
 

About Jeffrey Toobin

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Jeffrey Toobin has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since January, 1993.Mr. Toobin is also the legal analyst for ABC News and the author of the books, "A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal that Nearly Brought Down a President" (Random House, 2000), and "The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson" (Random House, 1996).  Since joining the magazine, Mr. Toobin has covered legal affairs and written articles on such subjects as Kenneth Starr's investigation of President Clinton, the Paula Jones sexual harassment case, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas,  and the trials of Timothy McVeigh and O.J. Simpson.  His article "An Incendiary Defense," published in the July 25, 1994, issue of the magazine, disclosed for the first time the Simpson defense team's plans to accuse Mark Fuhrman of planting evidence and to play "the race card."Prior to joining The New Yorker, Mr. Toobin served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Brooklyn, New York.  He also served as an associate counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh, an experience that provided the basis for his first book, "Opening Arguments: A Young Lawyer's First Case--United States v. Oliver North."  Mr. Toobin received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1982, and in 1986, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.  In the 1995-96 academic year, he was a fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University.  Mr. Toobin lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.
 
Published September 18, 2012 by Anchor. 352 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy, History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Oct 07 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Oath
All: 17 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Excellent
Sep 01 2012

A skillful probing of the often-discordant relationship between the president and the Supreme Court.

Read Full Review of The Oath: The Obama White Hou... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Oct 22 2012

The freshest portions of “The Oath” tend to deal with interactions among the justices, and the ways temperament and past experiences inform their philosophies and decisions.

Read Full Review of The Oath: The Obama White Hou... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by GARRETT EPPS on Sep 28 2012

Toobin is one of the most talented reporters covering American law. Where else but in “The Oath” would we learn that Franklin Pierce was the only American president ever to “affirm” rather than “swear” the required oath of office...

Read Full Review of The Oath: The Obama White Hou... | See more reviews from NY Times

Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Glenn Altschuler on Sep 22 2012

Toobin has the chops... to take readers inside the court...and parse the principles at stake in cases involving the right to bear arms, employment discrimination and campaign finance reform.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Matt Damsker on Sep 21 2012

...Toobin maintains narrative momentum with his portraits of each justice, their personal and professional journeys, and the odd chemistry that binds them.

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Huffington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Jessica Gresko on Sep 18 2012

Anyone fascinated by the inner workings of the highest court in the land will be delighted.

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The Boston Globe

Excellent
Reviewed by Mickey Edwards on Oct 13 2012

...entertains us and reminds us that it is the interplay between different personalities and agendas that...is often at the heart of the laws we live with.

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The Seattle Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Steve Weinberg on Oct 05 2012

It is Toobin's job to interpret the spin based on his daily observations, the content of the written rulings and other types of evidence. Toobin does his job well.

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The Daily Beast

Below average
Reviewed by Jimmy So on Sep 21 2012

Toobin rationalizes that Roberts made the pro-Obamacare decision to maintain the Court’s reputation. This, however, complicates his thesis that Roberts is a man...who adheres only to the Republican platform.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Jeffrey Rosen on Sep 14 2012

If Toobin were less interested in painting Roberts as a constitutional radical and Obama as a constitutional conservative, he might have explored the subtler...similarities between the two men.

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Chicago Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by John Schmidt on Oct 22 2012

...nothing in the book persuades me that Roberts is in fact such a partisan ideologue in his judicial role, and that characterization is belied by his professional history

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Times Dispatch

Excellent
Reviewed by Jay Strafford on Sep 16 2012

"The Oath" is a work of probity, intelligence and exceptional reporting...written not for legal scholars but for the general public.

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BuffaloNews.com

Below average
Reviewed by Robert Pratter on Sep 16 2012

...there may be internal differences within the Supreme Court, but Toobin steps over the line in advancing the hypothesis that this is a case of politics with a capital "P."

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Book Forum

Excellent
Reviewed by Jack Rakove

...even if one balks at Toobin’s depiction of the cour...The Oath delivers a bracing survey of the court’s key decisions and divisions.

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The Agony Column

Excellent
Reviewed by Rick Kleffel on Oct 18 2012

...Toobin can write the sort of books that historians will consult in the decades that follow, and that readers can immerse themselves in at this moment.

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Everyday eBook

Good
Reviewed by Joe Muscolino

If you’re dulled by the prospects of a heavy read, fret not...Toobin writes in an accessible style that never makes reading a chore.

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It's A Free Country

Good
Reviewed by Jami Floyd on Sep 22 2012

In The Oath, Toobin vividly portrays these two dominant personalities as they engage in a political battle to determine the course of American history.

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Reader Rating for The Oath
74%

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