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The Oath

New Yorker writer and CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin offers an astute and thorough analysis of the relationship between the Obama White House and the John Roberts-led Supreme Court.

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The Oath
By Jeffrey Toobin
Knopf Doubleday
352 pp.

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From the tragedy at Sandy Hook to the Affordable Care Act to same-sex marriage, it looks as though every major news event and issue of consequence these days involves the Supreme Court in meaningful way.

For the longtime court follower Jeffrey Toobin, the timing couldn’t be better for The Oath, his astute and thorough analysis of the relationship between the Obama White House and the John Roberts-led Supreme Court. Fittingly, Toobin, a staff writer at The New Yorker and an analyst at CNN, begins his account with the 2009 oath of office rendered – and botched – by Roberts while swearing in Obama as the 44th president.

The story of the oath ceremony, and a subsequent encore aimed at removing any doubt about the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency, demonstrate the author’s penchant for making a larger point (the strained Obama-Roberts interactions) while offering brisk historical perspective. As for the latter, how many Americans could recall that George Washington never took the oath of office (the Supreme Court didn’t exist at the time) or that Oliver Ellsworth was the first chief justice to handle the task in 1797 (for John Adams)?

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