Vanderbilt Law Review

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The recent death of Earl Warren reminds us, rather sadly, that the great Chief Justice and "his" Court have been subjected to withering and sometimes vicious and unfair criticism from within the academic circle.' The heart of the criticism (most charitably put) has been that the Warren Court hastily, simplistically, and even unnecessarily attempted to elevate egalitarianism into a high,perhaps the highest, social value and standard for constitutional and governmental decision making. We like to think that we believe in a democracy free for all-that is the way we portray ourselves propagandistically to the rest of the world-but the truth is that most Americans would stop short of an attempt at the agonizingly difficult task of implementing egalitarianism in our land. How many times have I heard my friends, colleagues, and family conclude (sometimes openly, sometimes by inescapable inference) that a "real" democracy was something they neither wanted nor believed in. Thus the Warren Court critics accurately assess the inability and unwillingness of most of the country to "accept" its rulings.

Free Men All: The Personal Liberty Laws of the North, 1780-1861. By Thomas D. Morris. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974. Pp. xii, 253 (with index). $12.50.

Wythe Holt (reviewer)


This is the third published volume of the projected twelve volume Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States. Funded by a bequest from Justice Holmes to the United States and supervised by the Library of Congress, the History constitutes an ambitious effort to subject the Court to a microscopic examination stretching from the origins of the Republic to 1941. The present volume is posthumous, published six years after the death of Professor Swisher, former Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University and author of the most authoritative biography of Roger B. Taney. Although Swisher completed the manuscript before his death in 1968, the past six years have been given over to a protracted final scrutiny by the editor in chief of the Holmes Devise History, Paul A. Freund, who assumed the responsibility for finally editing and shepherding the volume through the press.

The Taney Period, 1836-1864 (The Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States, Volume 5) --Carl B. Swisher. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1974. pp. xvii, 1041. $30.00

Kermit L. Hall (reviewer)