ADVERTISEMENT

Excerpt from 'The Oath'

  • Article by: Jeffrey Toobin
  • September 14, 2012 - 11:28 AM

At ten o'clock on Thursday, June 28, the justices appeared as they always do. The three red curtains parted, pulled open by unseen hands, and the nine materialized simultaneously in groups of three: Roberts, Scalia and Kennedy in the center; Sotomayor, Breyer and Thomas on one side; Ginsburg, Alito and Kagan on the other. On this day, they looked as they had never appeared before: haggard, exhausted, spent. Sotomayor was bent with fatigue; Alito needed a haircut; Kagan seemed thin and drawn. (This was partly intentional; she had lost thirty pounds in a year.) Scalia appeared as he did seven years earlier, when he stood by William Rehnquist's casket: bereft, heartbroken, and angry, too.

Even those tortured visages could not prepare anyone for the sound of John Roberts' voice. The brisk midwestern confidence was gone, replaced by a mournful near whisper. This was an unpleasant duty for him. It took a few minutes to find out why.

-- Jeffrey Toobin, describing the scene in June as the U.S. Supreme Court justices gathered to announce their opinion on the Obama health-care plan. From "The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court."

© 2014 Star Tribune