Chapter 1: The Federalist War of Ideas
The first chapter in The Nine explains the struggle for a conservative identity in a political sense, especially in issues dealing with the Supreme Court. For much of the 1900s, the Supreme Court was extremely liberal, and so was the mindset for many Americans. This began to change with the election of President Reagan and with conservatives beginning to think that the Constitution should be interpreted by a jurisprudence of original intent. The chapter talks about the formation of the Federalist Society, a conservative group of lawyers led by Steven Calabresi, and their impact on U.S. politics. It also delves into the Supreme Court nominations of Sandra Day O’Connor, William Rehnquist, Anthony Kennedy, and Antonin Scalia by Reagan, and of David Souter and Clarence Thomas by George H. W. Bush.
This chapter does a great job depicting the evolution of the Supreme Court from a heavily controlled liberal court to a heavily conservative court. The transformation of conservative ideals regarding the Constitution from one of judicial restraint to one of jurisprudence of original intent is very interesting. I also enjoyed the detailing of the beginning of the Federalist Society, which has greatly influenced American politics from its creation at Yale. The Federalists believed that in order to change laws that they disapproved with, such as Roe v. Wade, they needed to have different representation on the Supreme Court. So they used their influence in the Reagan administration to nominate judges with the same Federalist beliefs. The change in the Court continued through the Bush Administration, as two more justices were replaced. The face of the Supreme Court had severely changed, with only one true Democrat on the Court, Byron White.
Chapter 2: Good Versus Evil
This chapter talks about the four retired justices were alive at the same time and continually visited the Court. It talks about how Burger created the Federal...