Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The questions these cases pose are: Do lawyers alone have the wisdom to make such sociological and moral decisions as Plessy, Brown, and Roe? Should only lawyers deal with political theory in the way the Supreme Court has in the Legislative Reapportionment Cases? Can only lawyers deal in a definitive way with the troublesome questions concerning the relationship of church and state presented by the Prayer Cases? Although the list of cases may be extended to cover the full range of socioeconomic questions that remain of fundamental importance to this country, the answer to these questions remains the same. No one can argue validly that lawyers have better consciences or better insight into the "great governmental affairs" than do nonlawyers. The work of the Supreme Court is different from that of any other court. It is, as Justice Frankfurter once remarked, "a very special kind of court." The cases that come before the Supreme Court require the Justices to answer questions for which neither law school, legal practice,nor the usual prejudicial career provides the necessary skills. Lawyers do not have a monopoly on governmental wisdom.