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Edward Lazarus has 1 media appearance.

Jun
14
Edward Lazarus
Booknotes, Sunday, June 14, 1998
Edward Lazarus discusses Closed Chambers: The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court.

Racial integration, abortion, the rights of free speech—the Supreme Court is responsible for handing down decisions that dramatically affect the way we live our lives, but very little is known about what really goes on behind the scenes. Isolated in a marble temple, supposedly insulated from the pressures of politics, nine unelected Justices are charged with protecting our most cherished rights and shaping our fundamental laws. These nine Justices are assisted by approximately 36 law clerks each year. Never before has one of these clerks stepped forward to reveal how the Court really works—all the power, politics, and personalities. Now, in CLOSED CHAMBERS: The First Eyewitness Account of the Epic Struggles Inside the Supreme Court former Supreme Court clerk, Edward Lazarus provides an eyewitness account of the Court's inner sanctum—and explains why the Justices many times fail the country and the cause of justice. Lazarus explains, "What I saw inside the Court—how it worked or failed to work, the strengths and weaknesses of the Justices who presided while I was there, the role of clerks like me—all this left me with an irrepressible sense of disquiet . . . [T]his book is an attempt to give both lawyers and lay people a better understanding of a particularly significant and tumultuous period in the Court's history." As clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun for the 1988-89 term, Edward Lazarus took part in the Court's internal battles over the death penalty, affirmative action, abortion, and other pivotal decisions. In his ground-breaking account, Lazarus explains the collisions of law, politics, and personality over these fiercely disputed issues to reveal a court at war with itself. Feuds, friendships, and feelings are inevitably a part of the process. In CLOSED CHAMBERS, Lazarus contends that the Court "is an institution broken into unyielding factions that have largely given up on a meaningful exchange of their respective views or for that matter, a meaningful explication or defense of their own views." Compounding the Court's internal conflicts, Lazarus details how the Justices can delegate excessive power to young, ambitious, and politically zealous law clerks who, in turn, sometimes seek to manipulate their bosses and influence the law of the land—even on last minute life-or-death petitions for stays of execution. Focusing primarily on death penalty, race discrimination, and abortion rulings, CLOSED CHAMBERS weaves together past and present and shows us with astonishing detail not only the failings of the modern Court, but also what led to them, and why they are so devastating to our nation. "[T]his book is meant as both an indictment—a revelation of how a Court came to lose its essential character—and a hopeful plea that, as a new generation at the Court searches for balance, such character may be restored." CLOSED CHAMBERS will become required reading for every law student. lawyer, and anyone who cares about the lines between justice and politics. —from the publisher's website (timspalding)… (more)
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