Closed Chambers

Closed Chambers

Closed Chambers
Edward Lazarus has written the book Closed Chambers based on his own experiences, interviews with sources such as other former clerks, and memoranda from the chambers of the justices, as well as other accessible sources. He discusses the evolving role that political ideology has played in the decisions of various cases in the areas of civil rights, abortion, and the death penalty. He focuses specifically on the Rehnquist Court of the 1980?s. Lazarus criticizes both liberal and conservative Justices for sacrificing judicial review for the pursuit of political agenda, and collegiality and debate for machiavellian tactics.
Lazarus portrays the modern Rehnquist Court as bitterly divided into factions. There are the Justices like Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas who are considered jurisprudentially “conservative,” as well as those like Blackmun, William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall, and John Paul Stevens who are jurisprudentially “liberal” (Blackmun, Marshall and Brennan have left the court, but they were on the bench during many of the events Lazarus describes). The members of the different factions, says Lazarus, tend to vote on the important cases based on political preference, without fulfilling their obligation to justify their conclusions with well-reasoned opinions. The bad blood between the

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