Academic journal article Harvard Law Review

Recent Publications

Academic journal article Harvard Law Review

Recent Publications

Article excerpt

HENRY FRIENDLY: GREATEST JUDGE OF HIS ERA. By David M. Dorsen. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 2012. Pp. xiii, 489. $35.00. Proclaimed "the most powerful legal reasoner in American legal history" (p. xiii) by Judge Richard Posner in his foreword to this remarkable biography, Judge Henry Friendly of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has achieved lasting renown in the legal profession as a giant of the appellate bench and a first-class scholar. His continued influence is evidenced by frequent Supreme Court citations to his writings and the prominent roles now occupied by many of his former clerks (including Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.). In this biography, David Dorsen draws on rich and varied sources--including argument transcripts, opinions, articles, oral histories, private correspondence, and interviews with clerks, family, staff, and peers--to illuminate Judge Friendly's formative experiences, years in private practice, interactions with clerks, and formidable achievements on the bench. Dorsen pays particular attention to Judge Friendly's creative, brilliant, and distinctive style of judging, and he divides the chapters addressing Judge Friendly's judicial career by legal subject matter rather than by chronology. The reader is thus treated to a fine-grained and enlightening exploration of Judge Friendly's methods of legal reasoning across a range fields, an approach especially well suited to a subject famed for his avoidance of grand theories and his genius for deeply pragmatic and commonsensical judging. …

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