Learned Hand: The Man and the Judge / Edition 2

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Billings Learned Hand was one of the most influential judges in America. In Learned Hand: The Man and the Judge, Gerald Gunther provides a complete and intimate account of the professional and personal life of Learned Hand. He conveys the substance and range of Hand's judicial and intellectual contributions with eloquence and grace. This second edition features photos of Learned Hand throughout his life and career, and includes a foreword by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Gunther, a former law clerk for Hand, reviewed much of Hand's published work, opinions, and correspondence. He meticulously describes Hand's cases, and discusses the judge's professional and personal life as interconnected with the political and social circumstances of the times in which he lived.

Born in 1872, Hand served on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He clearly crafted and delivered thousands of decisions in a wide range of cases through extensive, conscientious investigation and analysis, while at the same time exercising wisdom and personal detachment. His opinions are still widely quoted today, and will remain as an everlasting tribute to his life and legacy.

The greatest judge never to be named to the Supreme Court, Learned Hand was considered the peer of Justices Holmes, Bradeis, and Cardozo. As a federal judge for more than half a century, Hand left an unequaled legacy of opinions and addresses. Now a distinguished scholar makes first use of Hand's private papers to detail his life and thoughts. Photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A great constitutional scholar tells us about the life and work of a great judge. Gunther's insights into Hand's approach to law are deep, and the story of Hand's life is truly engaging. Anyone interested in the most important figures of American law should read this book."
--Mark Tushnet
William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

"Gerald Gunther was one of the twentieth century's greatest constitutional scholars, and he considered this book to be his most important work. Taking more than twenty years to write, it is a testament to its subject and its author. Gunther shows us why Hand, in decisions made over fifty years, was a great but flawed judge who perhaps deserves to be ranked second only to John Marshall in his enduring influence on American law. No book teaches us more about judging and how to write about it than this magisterial biography."
--Michael J. Gerhardt
Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor, UNC-Chapel Hill Law School

"Fifteen years after it first appeared, Gerald Gunther's Learned Hand still sets the gold-standard for judicial biography. Comprehensive, historically precise, and psychologically astute, this monumental book rewards reading and re-reading. As a study of how ideas are born and expressed through real lives, it is a model of readable scholarship. Through it, Professor Gunther proved once and for all that historical narrative is indispensable for understanding our Constitution and laws."
-- Noah Feldman
Bemis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stanford Law School professor Gunther, a former clerk to Hand (1872-1961) with exclusive access to his mentor's papers, ably portrays the man, perhaps the most important jurist not to serve on the Supreme Court, and explains his work. Christened Billings Learned Hand (the product of family surnames), the teenaged Learned studied philosophy at Harvard, and came by his long-held belief in judicial restraint as a Harvard Law student. Becoming a federal district judge in 1909, Hand in 1917 wrote an unpopular but ultimately influential opinion supporting free speech in a case involving the Masses , a revolutionary organ. Rising to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in 1924, Hand helped improve judicial procedures, wrote numerous worthy opinions, gained respect as a skeptical liberal and helped found the prestigious American Law Institute, an organization aimed at improving the law. Besides describing Hand's cases, Gunther tells of the judge's personal life, his political dabblings and his popularity. The book's only drawback is its length; an abridged version could still assay Hand and reach many more readers. Photos not seen by PW. History Book Club alternate. (May)
Library Journal
Gunther, professor of law at Stanford University Law School and a former law clerk to Judge Learned Hand and Chief Justice Earl Warren, has given us something long overdue-a treasure trove of information and insight into arguably the greatest jurist never to be named to the U.S. Supreme Court. Based in large measure on his access to Hand's private papers, this work provides a critical analysis and evaluation of this ``skeptical liberal'' who helped shape U.S. law and society for a good portion of this century. Gunther proves convincingly that the demise of first-rate, brilliant judicial biography is exaggerated: in his hands, Judge Hand vividly comes to life not only as an American jurist but as an American philosopher probing the human condition. Critical, comprehensive, and objective, this is scholarship at its finest; it belongs in every scholar's library. Highly recommended.-Stephen Shaw, Northwest Nazarene Coll., Nampa, Id.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195377774
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/24/2010
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 724
  • Sales rank: 820,843
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald Gunther (1927-2002) was a professor of constitutional law for almost 50 years, at Stanford University and Columbia University. Before writing Learned Hand: the Man and the Judge he authored Constitutional Law, during his lifetime the most widely used textbook in its field.

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Table of Contents

Foreword to Second Edition



Chapter 1 The Early Years 1

Chapter 2 Learned Hand and Frances Fincke 61

Chapter 3 From Wall Street Lawyer to Federal District Judge 85

Chapter 4 The Marriage and its Tensions 145

Chapter 5 The Peak of Political Enthusiasm: Herbert Croly, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Progressive Years 161

Chapter 6 Promotion to the Second Circuit 231

Chapter 7 The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the 1920s and 1930s: Hand as First Among Equals 237

Chapter 8 Achieving National Renown During the Nation's Complacent Years, 1919-1928 293

Chapter 9 The Hoover Years and Hand's Missed Chance for Promotion to the Supreme Court 355

Chapter 10 The New Deal 371

Chapter 11 The Road to War and the Break with Lippmann 409

Chapter 12 The Chief Judgeship and World War II 431

Chapter 13 The Last Chance for a Supreme Court Appointment: The 1942 Vacancy 475

Chapter 14 The Postwar Years, the Cold War, and McCarthyism 493

Chapter 15 Active Retirement from "Regular Active Service" 551

Notes 587

Index 687

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