First there’s Stephen Breyer, with what Toobin calls his “gregarious good nature.” Odds are he spoke, a fair amount. Then Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “frail” and “shy” and, Toobin says, with only marginal influence on her colleagues. Maybe, but she’d have said precious little. Clarence Thomas, we learn, had gotten old and fat since his famously bloody confirmation battle. No way. David Souter “detested Washington” and “cared little what others thought of him.” Probably not, but he’s quirky enough to have tossed off a tidbit or two. Then Anthony Kennedy, far more worldly and influential than the “conventional, even boring” burgher he first appeared to be. Almost certainly yes.It must be irritating to the nontalkers that some talk and get good press out of it. Except it didn't work for Kennedy. Maybe there are some "flattering adjectives" about him in there, but the overall picture is quite negative. He comes across as grandiose and vain.
Antonin Scalia looked “lost and lonely” that day: absolutely not. Then Sandra Day O’Connor, about to entrust her seat to President George W. Bush, whom she considered “arrogant, lawless, incompetent and extreme.” Her fingerprints — or voice prints — practically leap off the page: how else could Toobin write something so incendiary so confidently? And finally there’s John Paul Stevens, “respected by his colleagues, if not really known to them.” Highly unlikely.
Reading Toobin’s smart and entertaining book, these hunches quickly solidify. Sprinkled throughout are quotes, facts, anecdotes, insights and interior monologues that could only have come from particular justices — most conspicuously, O’Connor, Breyer and Kennedy — along with flattering adjectives about each. Toobin, of course, never names names.
September 22, 2007
So speculates David Margolick. Jeffrey Toobin doesn't say, in his book "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court," but Margolick finds the clues in the text: