Wednesday, May 31, 2006
reviewed two new books on Supreme Court clerks for The New Republic (registration required, but worth the two minutes of your time), Courtiers of the Marble Palace: The Rise and Influence of the Supreme Court Law Clerk by Todd C. Peppers and Sorcerers' Apprentices: 100 Years of Law Clerks at the United States Supreme Court by Artemus Ward and David L. Weiden. While he deems both excellent:
"They are depressing to read, though. They put one in mind of Max Weber's image of the "iron cage" of modernity, in which the progressive bringing of all activities under the rule of reason--their subjection, in other words, to the rational methods of bureaucracy--robs life of its romance and its savor. For the implicit theme of both books is the bureaucratization of the Supreme Court. And this bureaucratization seems not to have improved the Court's performance, something that would have left Weber scratching his head in puzzlement."
I found the review worth reading mostly for the history of the institution and the players' roles that Posner provides rather than for the comments on the books themselves, since there is little chance that I will read them (especially given their price, $55 and $39, respectively). Whether you intend to or not, by the time you read this it will probably be too hot to go outside, so give it a read.
(ht Will at Crescat)
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