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Closed Chambers: The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court Paperback – April 26, 2005
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The book combines the clerk-driven content of "The Brethren" with documentary evidence from the Thurgood Marshall papers and a more sophisticated analysis of the legal issues. It provides a more complete view of Chief Justice Rehnquist's work style and why he has been so much more effective than Chief Justice Burger at effectuating the conservative legal agenda. It shows how the troubling developments of that period, such as the cert pool, have grown into monsters. It looks briefly at the newest justices (Thomas, Ginsberg, Breyer) and accurately characterizes Ginsberg so as to explain her frequent alliance with Rehnquist.
The book, despite its publicity, tells no tales out of school. It is much less chatty than "The Brethren." Its tone follows Justice Blackmun into sentimentality. With news reports missing or giving less space to the ideological battles occasionally revealed by the court's decisions, lay followers of the court should make a point of reading this book.
Several complaints of Lazarus' 'unfair' attitudes are evinced: Lazarus focuses on abortion, discrimination, and death penalty 'snapshots' from a legal historical perspective then turns to the inner workings of the court.
Shallower readers more interested in Grisham or other fiction might object to Lazarus' description of the Scottsboro case: a legal reader wouldn't begin trying to understand death penalty litigation without that critical starting point. Lazarus describes death penalty obstructionists as dueling with death penalty hawks - such as law clerks who threw parties when executions were carried out, while Marshall/Brennan clerks conducted vigils.
After Woodward/Armstrong's scathing reviews of Blackmun in 'The Brethren,' one cannot fault Lazarus for striving to resuscitate Blackmun's career. After all, the man read deeply, thought profoundly, and cared tremendously about his legacy (which comes down, for better or worse, to Roe v. Wade).
And this drives the large number of deprecatory reviews: people who hate Roe v. Wade will hate anything written about Blackmun with the slightest degree of fairness, deriding the author unfairly and underscoring his claims that closed, prejudiced (or at least, pre-judged) minds dominate, and only a few are willing to stand up to them.Read more ›
The book offers little, if any, gossip and much legal reasoning. The history of the death penalty litigation occupies the greater part of the book, and is given in rich historical detail.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Exactly what I expected. Significantly useful for my angloamerican law studies.Published 2 months ago by Edoardo Palazzolo
I finally got around to reading this book nearly 10 years after I bought it. Man, did I miss out. The book is extremely easy to read and well written. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Edward J. Barton
The Supreme Court is a body that is so important, but about which so little is known. Even, I think, the intelligence agencies are more public about the manner in which they... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Ameripen
A very interesting read geared toward lawyers based on the legal issues that are discussed. Without that background, I'm not sure it would be as interesting.Published on June 19, 2014 by Denise
This book is an important look at how the nation's highest court, and one made up of unelected individuals, influences our lives. Read morePublished on December 15, 2011 by Michael D. Chlanda
In this first-hand account through the lens of Supreme Court Clerk of Justice Blackmun from 1988-89, Edward Lazarus,
growth of "federalism. Read more
Lazarus does a great job explaining complex legal issues without dumbing them down and Justice Blackmun really comes alive on these pages. Read morePublished on October 6, 2009 by Touffu
Edward Lazarus's Closed Chambers is a master work; and joins Bernard Schwartz's Super Chief as the two best books I've read to date about the Supreme Court. Read morePublished on July 22, 2008 by James Denson