Book Review


For centuries, judicial decisions were seen as drawn directly from neutral and immutable principles of law by keepers of eternal verities. While our professional societies and educational institutions still cling to this vision, we know better now for the most part. While examining an opinion, few among us would argue with the suggestion that something more than pure truth was afoot when its author penned it. Indeed, even where a court declines to hear a case most of us recognize the existence of a political dimension: not to decide is, of course, to decide-to affirm the existing order. But it is more than a matter of semantics. Numerous factors-political beliefs and affiliations, social policy judgments and personal objectives-may be implicated when a court renders its decision. This was the argument of the Legal Realist movement when it emerged earlier this century. It is an understanding that informs many of that group’s descendents, including the Critical Legal Studies theorists. Indeed, it has been the grist for innumerable studies of the legal profession conducted by social scientists since the Second World War

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