Vanderbilt Law Review

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Book Reviews

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Consensual Government "The Morality of Consent" by Alexander M. Bickel

Reviewed by Ernest van den Haag

Bickel wanted to make the scope of the law comprehensive enough to proclaim the norms that are consensually perceived to be necessary to social life, yet to let individuals and groups pursue their choices without being forced to conform altogether to majority views or being strapped into judicial strait jackets. His work, and the unifying theme of this posthumous collection of essays, very largely consisted of elaborations of his answer to the question: how can we define the province of constitutional interpretation so as to make and keep our law effective with a maximum of consent and a minimum of force? His concern for the legal order on which freedom so largely depends led Bickel to oppose the "legalitarian society"' produced when judicial imperialism absorbs or overwhelms nonjudicial norm-giving institutions.


Ethical Problems of the Legal Profession Lawyers' Ethics in an Adversary System by Monroe H. Freedman

Reviewed by James F. Neal

Dean Freedman recognizes both the purpose of the criminal trial and the tools necessary to that end. The bedrock of the adversary system is the advocate, selected by the individual to present his position, and the belief of the client that he may inform the advocate of the facts in complete confidence. The author emphasizes the high value our system places on this confidentiality in his account of the furor raised in a recent New York case. Two lawyers were told by their client where he had hidden the bodies of victims yet unknown to the police. The lawyers did not divulge to authorities or to the victims' parents the locations of bodies hidden by their client. Even lawyers must remind themselves of the necessity of total confidentiality between attorney and client when a situation as stark as that one is revealed. Yet the New York lawyers certainly acted with complete propriety in retaining their client's confidence. Dean Freedman emphasizes the importance of confidentiality as he works toward his solution of the perjury trilemma.