Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs
Jeffrey Toobin on The US Supreme Court
Supreme Court Books
Watch Video
Read Transcript
Comment
May 23, 2008

Legal affairs journalist Jeffrey Toobin joins Bill Moyers on the JOURNAL to discuss how our next president might shape the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, Toobin explains, is not separate from politics as popular imagination supposes.
You know, we talk about Supreme Court Justices often as if they exist in some sort of world apart from politics....And I think a rational view of the Court, is that it is part of politics. It is not separate from -- and the presidential election I think will determine the future of the Court for decades.
The Supreme Court is, by design, the least democratic of the three coequal branches of the Federal government. Appointed by the presidents to life terms, the nine justices wield tremendous power, and decisions of the Supreme Court have dramatically changed the way Americans live time and again. Yet the individual temperaments of justices and the inner workings of the court itself are seldom covered in the media. But you can keep up with what's on the Court's docket — and on decisions which may set precedents for the way we live and work. Below you'll find online resources for following the court's daily activities and exploring its past.

US Supreme Court on the Web
On April 17, 2000, the United States Supreme Court took a tentative step onto the World Wide Web with supremecourtus.gov. The original site contained a mix of practical guidelines, court rules, and historical information. The highest court in the land has continued to take small steps further into the digital era, adding more information to their Web site, even posting a link to streaming video referred to in the 2006 case Scott v. Harris — an unprecedented (and so far unduplicated) move that caught the attention of the legal community.

Though visitors can download the most recent opinions from the Supreme Court Web site, thousands of historical opinions that help define the US law aren't available. Luckily, several universities and private non-profits have stepped forward to fill the gap, and now almost all US Supreme Court opinions are freely available online. They can be a bit tricky to track down, but there are also several research guides available.

Jeffrey Toobin
Jeffrey Toobin is a staff writer at THE NEW YORKER and a senior analyst for CNN. He is a well-known legal journalist and has written profiles of Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas for THE NEW YORKER. His most recent book, THE NINE: INSIDE THE SECRET WORLD OF THE SUPREME COURT spent more than four months on teh NEW YORK TIMES best-seller list and was named one of the ten best books of the year by the NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, TIME, NEWSWEEK, FORTUNE, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, and the ECONOMIST. His other books inlcude TOO CLOSE TO CALL: THE 36-DAY BATTLE TO DECIDE THE 2000 ELECTION and A VAST CONSPIRACY: THE REAL STORY OF THE SEX SCANDAL THAT NEARLY BROUGHT DOWN A PRESIDENT, and THE RUN OF HIS LIFE: THE PEOPLE v. O.J. SIMPSON.

Before joining THE NEW YORKER in 1993, Toobin served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Brooklyn, New York.

Published May 23, 2008.

Guest photo by Robin Holland

Related Media:
The Supreme Court
An unprecedented series and Web Site from PBS that explores the history, impact, and drama of America's Highest Court, The Supreme Court.

John Grisham
Bill Moyers interviews John Grisham, best-selling author of THE FIRM, THE PELICAN BRIEF, and THE RAINMAKER, in a far-ranging conversation that gives viewers insight into the beliefs and background that influenced Grisham's work and provides an unexpected look at his views about the state of the nation.

OSanford Levinson
Is it time to rewrite the Constitution? Perspective from the University of Texas Law School's Sanford Levinson, author of OUR UNDEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTION.


OTough Talk on Impeachment
BILL MOYERS JOURNAL explores the talk of impeachment with Constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, who wrote the first article of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, and THE NATION's John Nichols, author of THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT.
References and Reading:
"The Supreme Court Enters the Internet Age: The Court and Technology" June 1, 2000
"The Supreme Court recently took a major step into the electronic era by unveiling its first Web site on April 17, 2000. The web site gives the public access to the opinions and the daily work of the Court by providing schedules, argument calendars, Court rules, visitor guides, and bar admission forms."

"In McCain's Court"
Jeffrey Toobin decodes McCain's speech on the judiciary in THE NEW YORKER.

Jeffrey Toobin in THE NEW YORKER
List of articles Jeffrey Toobin has contributed to THE NEW YORKER magazine.

Times Topics: US Supreme Court
The collected stories about the US Supreme Court in THE NEW YORK TIMES.

"Toobin on McCain's Speech"
Ed Whelan, blogging for the NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE, takes exception to Jeffrey Toobin's article on McCain.

"Ed Whelan reviews the Nine"
Bill Moyers refers to the NATIONAL REVIEW'S review of THE NINE during the interview.

"Who's Picking Your Judges?"
Some states have found that electing judges by popular vote can have its own pitfalls.

Also This Week:

EXPOSÉ ON THE JOURNAL: CHEMICALS IN OUR FOOD
There may be a potentially dangerous chemical leaching into our food from the containers that we use every day. THE JOURNAL and EXPOSÉ examine why, even though studies show that the chemical Bisphenol A can cause cancer and other health problems in lab animals, the manufacturers, their lobbyists, and U.S. regulators say it's safe.

HELP WANTED! A BILL MOYERS ESSAY
A Bill Moyers essay on the administration's record of resignations.

JEFFREY TOOBIN ON THE POST-ELECTION COURT
Jeffrey Toobin, one of the most recognized legal journalists in the country, discusses what the Supreme Court might look after the 2008 election. Plus, online tools to help you become a court-watcher.

THE REAL MEMORIAL DAY
Bill Moyers on honoring our veterans this Memorial Day. Plus, resources for veterans and families and how to do an oral history of a veteran in your life — to join the collection in the National Archives.

TALK BACK: THE MOYERS BLOG
Our posts and your comments
OUR POSTS
April 16, 2007
Welcome to The Blog...
YOUR COMMENTS
For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

© Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ   
SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES AND PODCASTSEMAIL US