Like Thurgood Marshall: Justice for All , which St. Louis University School of Law professor Goldman coauthored, this is not a biography but a miscellany: 12 previously published essays, mainly by former law clerks, reflecting on the vastly influential Supreme Court justice who served from 1956 to 1990; a competent, medium-length piece elucidating Brennan's jurisprudence; and the texts of 15 major opinions, both dissents and concurrences, that Brennan authored. The collection provides worthy material for Court watchers: Appeals Court Judge Abner Mikva labels the justice not liberal but ``Brennanist,'' meaning one who influences colleagues and builds coalitions; former clerks uniformly attest to his integrity and concern for others; Brennan's major opinions--in 1960s cases regarding freedom of the press, ``one man one vote'' reapportionment and due process regarding government benefits--emerged from the Warren Court's center. However, this book lacks substantive reflections by Brennan and a biographical report on the forces shaping his life. Gallen coauthored Remembering Malcolm. (Sept.)
Associate Justice William J. Brennan Jr. served on the U.S. Supreme Court for over 30 years, the third longest tenure in the history of the Court. During the turbulent days from the mid-1950s to the early 1990s, Justice Brennan clearly established himself as an ardent and persuasive champion of individual liberty. As a result, he became perhaps the greatest civil libertarian in the history of the Court and also one of the most influential (and often controversial) Americans of the post-World War II era. This is the thesis of Goldman and Gallen's analysis, in effect an encomium, of the life and times of Justice Brennan. The authors focus especially on Justice Brennan's jurisprudence, which stretched from the First Amendment to the Fourteenth, from obscenity in the late 1950s to gender discrimination and flag burning in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, they include some moving tributes to Brennan upon his retirement, tributes that show the man inside the judicial black robe. This surely won't be the last word on Brennan, but to this point it's one of the best. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Stephen Shaw, Northwest Nazarene Coll., Nampa, Id.
Justice Brennan's enduring Supreme Court legacy will be his strengthening of Americans' civil rights and liberties. Goldman and Gallen focus on his most prominent judgments and also show his rarely manifested personal qualities. Their book is divided into three sections. In the first, consisting of reflections on Brennan, two of Brennan's most prominent colleagues--Justices Marshall and White--pay tribute, as do other judges and some journalists, including Nat Hentoff, whose "Playboy" interview of Brennan is especially revealing and moving. The Goldman and Gallen essay that makes up the book's second part clearly describes how Brennan opinions enhanced particular freedoms; for example, to cite just two, his majority opinion in "New York Times" v. "Sullivan", which has been called "perhaps the most important free speech opinion ever written," and the majority opinion in "Craig" v. "Boren", which struck down gender discrimination. The third and longest part contains the actual texts of Brennan's most influential arguments, those mentioned above and 10 others. A fitting celebration of the judge's work.