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Cardozo: A Study in Reputation Hardcover – 1 Sep 1990
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From the Back Cover
In this ambitious book, Richard Posner confronts these questions in the case of Benjamin Cardozo. The result is both a revealing portrait of one of the most influential legal minds of our century and a model for a new kind of study---a balanced, objective, critical assessment of a judicial career. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Richard A. Posner is Circuit Judge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Attempting to create a new genre of social science, Judge Posner smoothly integrates the drives that formed Cardozo as a man with the strictures of the law that define a judge. Analysis of the opinions, along with the briefs of the arguments, show that he was a good judge because he was able to reach correct results even when the specific facts of cases seemed to predict a legal anamoly. That quality produced case law that remains hard to reconcile, and the result has been attacks on the decisions as inconsistent. Judge Posner recognizes those weaknesses, but rather than contorting his logic in reconciling them explains that a man's reputation is typically based on either his high points or his low ones. In Cardozo's case, his death after only six years on the US Supreme Court limited the high points to controversial cases, such as MacPherson and Hynes. Judge Posner speculates that had Cardozo, like Holmes, had a full career as a Supreme Court justice the subjective standard for measurement of his reputation would have shifted away from the decisions as a state judge.
Although those state court opinions continue to dominate Torts textbooks, Cardozo's critics have injured his reputation by suggesting that he was merely a flamboyant local judge. Judge Posner shows that their slurs have not reached the ears of leading jurists. However, the ordinary person is apt to adopt those reputationary revisions without actually reading Cardozo's opinions and relating them to the specific cases and the development of American common law. Thus, Judge Posner creates a bridge, somewhat like Justice Cardozo, between arcane legal studies and the conduct of the people that law governs.
I 'd rate this book the one MUST READ book if you are thinking about law school. This is what law school is about: Struggling with how to promote social welfare by interpretation and rulemaking.