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Closed Chambers

The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court


Edward Lazarus (View Bio)
Hardcover: Times Books , 1998; Trade Paperback: Penguin, 2005.

Closed Chambers
Washington Post Best Seller

"The Court needs critics — and members — with Lazarus' intellectual clarity and deep attachment to its best traditions." — Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes's tart description of Supreme Court deliberations 'nine scorpions in a bottle' has seldom seemed more apt than in this scathing tell-all screed about the Rehnquist Court from Lazarus (BLACK HILLS/WHITE JUSTICE, 1991), now an L.A. federal prosecutor. As a clerk of former Justice Harry Blackmun in the 1988-89 term, Lazarus came to feel that infighting between its conservative and liberal divisions had 'corroded [its] institutional culture and driven the Justices to disregard the principles of decision-making deliberation, integrity of argument, and self-restraint that separate the judicial function from the exercise of purely political power.' He focuses on the Court's decisions on capital punishment, race relations, and abortion to demonstrate how comity has become strained." — Kirkus Reviews

"Impeccably researched and impressively documented...will fascinate diehard court-watchers." — Boston Globe

"His tales of cabals, conspiracies and punch-ups among clerks, and his tittle-tattle about justices is fascinating.... Mr. Lazarus's critique of the court's performance is powerful." — The Economist

"CLOSED CHAMBERS gives us excellent and accessible accounts." — The New York Times Book Review

"Ambitious, opinionated, scholarly, gossipy...wonderful. CLOSED CHAMBERS is a crash course in contemporary constitutional law and judicial culture." — Newsday

"A powerful, often shocking report...crucial reading." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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