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Legal Canons Hardcover – August 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0814798577 ISBN-10: 0814798578

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 444 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814798578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814798577
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,939,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, and the Founder and Director of Yale’s Information Society Project. He is the author of numerous books and the editor of What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said (NYU Press, 2002). He lives in New Haven, CT.



Sanford Levinson is W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Regents Chair in Law and Professor of Government at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author or co-author of many books, including Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance and Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct It).


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By socraticfury on June 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It is unfortunate that this book is not available in paperback, since this collection of 14 essays is solid and addresses a topic that would behoove law students, who are generally poor (though many will soon be rich), to think about.

"Our subject," the editors say in their Introduction, "concerns what is and what ought to be canonical in the study of law." (In fact the editors have made an overly ambitious claim; they are concerned not with the study of law simply, but the study of American law specifically. The self-absorption implicit in their statement is all the more amusing since the editors evidently lean to the Left. But I say that as good-natured ribbing and not as a "J'accuse!"). Note: "the study of law," NOT "the practice of law." Canonicity is of only peripheral concern (if that) to practitioners; this book is targeted to students of the law and not practitioners of the law (the editors do discuss the tension between practice concerns and "timeless problems" on pp.407-10, but that very discussion buttresses my claim).

It is impossible to summarize a book like this so I will simply note some of my overall impressions. As is to be expected from a multi-author collection, Legal Canons is uneven in quality, and the reader will naturally find some topics of more interest, and some authors more to their taste, than others. However, I believe that anyone interested in legal theory can learn something from almost every chapter. I read this book from cover to cover, and although some chapters struck me as boring, none struck me as incompetent. Indeed, I consider it much more likely that my boredom stemmed from my incompetence than that it bespeaks some fundamental shortcoming in the chapters themselves.
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