The Tenth Justice: The Solicitor General and the Rule of Law

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Caplan's meticulous expose throws a spotlight on a drama hidden from public view. He charges that the Reagan administration has compromised the independence of the Solicitor General, the lawyer who is responsible for recommending which cases should be heard by the Supreme Court and for shaping the government's legal position on cases before the Court. Archibald Cox and Thurgood Marshall are among those who have held the post of Solicitor General, sometimes called the ``tenth justice.'' Caplan maintains that Solicitor General Charles Fried and, before him, Rex Lee, acted as mouthpieces for Reagan, pushing his social agenda, which calls for banning abortion, promoting prayer in the schools and ending school busing and affirmative action. A former White House Fellow and author of The Insanity Defense and the Trial of John W. Hinckley, Jr., Caplan implicates Edwin Meese and assistant attorney general for civil rights, William Reynolds, in the attack on the Solicitor General's traditional role. As Senate debate on Robert Bork's nomination gets under way, this dispassionately written study should make news. First serial to the New Yorker. (October 30)
Library Journal
Caplan offers a fine analysis of major controversies about the role of law and recent Supreme Court decisions. He focuses on the solicitor general (SG), the individual who argues the federal government's position before the court. Caplan details many developments in the Reagan administration's Department of Justice and compares presentations of the Reagan political agenda to the court by the last two SGs. He argues that the legal positions of the SGs have lost credibility because of their recent partisan advocacy and emphasizes key cases. Highly recommended for an understanding of interactions between the executive and judiciary.Steven Puro, St. Louis Univ.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394759555
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/27/1988
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage Books ed
  • Pages: 343

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