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Toobin's look at the inner workings and personalities of the U.S. Supreme Court seeks to remove the air of mystery that surrounds the deliberations and decisions of the court. "The Nine" looks at roughly 15 years of court history, focusing largely on the individual justices. Toobin's idea is that the public should understand the behind-the-scenes workings of the Court; despite the popular idea that the Court is a group of disinterested bystanders only interested in interpreting the law, the Court is made up of justices chosen through a very politicized process and for very political reasons. He makes an effort to show the link between the justices' backgrounds and their legal views, and presents quick thumbnail sketches of their personalities and attitudes - all things that influence their decisions.
"The Nine" was on the New York Times best-seller list for over four months, and was named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review. It received the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for Non-fiction, and the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association.