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In Chambers: Stories of Supreme Court Law Clerks and Their Justices (Constitutionalism and Democracy) Hardcover – March 5, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Constitutionalism and Democracy
  • Hardcover: 472 pages
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press (March 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813932653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813932651
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Filled with telling anecdotes illuminating the personalities of Supreme Court justices, these essays also show how the institution of the Supreme Court law clerk has developed. Law clerks—and their employers—come through in these essays as human beings working in an extraordinary environment.

(Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law School author of A Court Divided: The Rehnquist Court and the Future of Constitutional Law)

In Chambers is a worthy successor to the editors’ landmark books on law clerks in the Supreme Court. The contributors’ essays present vivid and informative depictions of the interactions between justices and clerks, and in the process they tell us a good deal that is new about the Court and its personnel. People with an interest in the Supreme Court will enjoy and learn from this valuable book.

(Larry Baum, The Ohio State University author of The Supreme Court )

As we learn more about how the once and still secretive Supreme Court functions, the role of law clerks becomes increasingly important in understanding the inner dynamic as well as the nuts and bolts of the judicial process on high. Todd Peppers and Artemus Ward have given us not only a fascinating view of the world of the clerks and their justices but one that will be essential to future historians working to explicate the nation’s most important tribunal.

(Melvin I. Urofsky, Virginia Commonwealth University author of Division and Discord: The Supreme Court under Stone and Vinson, 1941–1953)

"This new collection of essays, including some by former clerks, takes readers inside justices’ chambers for a look at clerkship life.... [T]he best parts of the book are the behind-the-scenes descriptions of life at the court: Justice Hugo Black cooking breakfast for the two clerks that lived with him during the 1953 term, Justice Byron White engaging in in-office golf putting competitions with his clerks, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist putting together NCAA betting pools and taking walks outside the court with his clerks.... [A]n impressive and comprehensive book."

(Associated Press)

Peppers and Ward have edited a wonderful collection of essays.... The essays in this volume, most of which have not been published before, highlight the important role that clerks play on the Court. They also do an extraordinary job of revealing the human face of the Court.... Highly recommended.

(CHOICE)

[A]n excellent book... It's interesting for many different reasons, not the least of which as a reminder of how much of a bastion of elitism the Court has always been. You should read it if you are interested in legal history, or in learning more about the way the justices lived and worked, or even if you want to know why the Court still sometimes acts as though it were the 19th Century.

(The Atlantic Monthly)

About the Author

Todd C. Peppers, Henry H. and Trudye H. Fowler Associate Professor of Public Affairs at Roanoke College and a Visiting Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law, is the author of Courtiers of the Marble Palace: The Rise and Influence of the Supreme Court Law Clerk. Artemus Ward, Associate Professor of Political Science at Northern Illinois University, is the coauthor, with David Weiden, of Sorcerers’ Apprentices: 100 Years of Law Clerks at the United States Supreme Court.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ronald H. Clark VINE VOICE on February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the most interesting books on the Supreme Court I have ever read, and I have been reading them for the past 45 years or so. Within the last ten years or so, increasing attention has come to be paid to the Court's law clerks and their important role in the functioning of the institution. Originally, the focus of interest was whether the clerks exercised too much influence on the decision-making processes of their Justices. A much richer perspective was developed individually by the two editors of this volume, in separate books I reviewed on Amazon. That perspective entails examining such issues as how are the clerks selected, what responsibilities do they assume, and how they interact with their respective Justice and the other Justices as well. The many authors of these essays lay it all out in fascinating detail. The authors are either former clerks writing about their own Justice, or students of the Court who are conversant with the growing literature on the clerks

First up is a discussion of the creation of the clerk position by Justice Horace Gray between 1882 and 1902, continuing his practice from his service on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Gray had to pay his clerks out of his own pocket; eventually, Congress funded a position for each Justice. The clerk's role underwent serious development beginning in the 1920's, and that is where the essays begin with Holmes, Brandeis, Cardozo (by his biographer, Andrew Kaufman), and Stone (written by the amazing Bennett Boskey, still practicing here in Washington in his mid-90's). These all are great essays; what a way to kick off the volume!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ajf on September 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An apt title, as this collection of mini-memoirs puts you right in the Supreme Court chambers (and sometimes at home) with the Justices and their clerks.

The book is an insightful look into the inner workings of the Court...worth the time for anyone interested in the legal process at the top of the pyramid.
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Format: Paperback
A thoroughly enjoyable read, complete with several surprisingly humorous and touching anecdotes about the Justices and their relationships with their law clerks throughout history. Not something everyone will find interesting, including most lawyers (especially most lawyers?). But for someone interested in the Court as an institution or curious what law clerks do there and elsewhere, it's worth checking out. A special tip of the cap to contributing author Kevin J. Worthen, for his touching, humorous, and wonderfully written tribute to the late Justice Byron White.
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By sparks on February 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you like to read about the back court doings of the Supremes you will find this book interesting and certainly not as expensive as the ridiculously priced "Courtwatchers" published recently by Rowman and Littlefield which I would also like to peruse but not at the asking price.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jan G on November 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although Jeffery Toubin is considered the "expert" on the Supreme Court,this book adds a fresh perspective and things Mr. Toubin didn't know.I highly recommend this to anyone interested in the Supreme Court and behind the scenes knowledge.
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