The Champion

January-February 2013 , Page 58 

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Book Reviews: Two Books Offer View of High Court

By John Wesley Hall

Read more Book Reviews columns.

The Partisan: The Life of William Rehnquist

By John A. Jenkins
Public Affairs (2012)

The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court

By Jeffrey Toobin
Doubleday (2012)

Two books about the Supreme Court came out this fall, and both of them were a slap in the face. When finished with each, I was sad. In each, the revelations were profound: The Supreme Court is just another political institution, except we can’t reject those politicians at the polls.

I came to law school, packing my rose colored glasses, thinking of the Supreme Court as this venerable, untouchable, incorruptible institution. It is, after all, the ultimate arbiter of constitutional questions in our democracy. It was an example to me, a mere uninformed citizen, of the “shining city on a hill,”1 an institution of intellectual and political purity. So my civics teachers led me to believe in high school and college.

But what did they know? Had they ever studied any Supreme Court cases? Apparently not. As we all do in l

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