Cardozo on Judging Now In Modern Print

When some people still find it worth debating whether judges make law or simply follow it, we’re lucky to have a modern printing of a most venerable treatment of the subject: Benjamin Cardozo’s The Nature of the Judicial Process is now published in a contemporary format that’s easy on the eyes and the wallet.

As Frank Pasquale noted last month, Tulane Law professor Alan Childress is successfully launching a valuable publishing program featuring modern dissemination methods for classic legal texts. Called Quid Pro books, the imprint’s most recent installation is Cardozo’s timeless work.

As most people know, judges create law, not just follow it. Cardozo’s classic provides among the best expositions of how and why this is so. General readers and legal devotees alike benefit. That’s important today as there continues to be talk, including by our Chief Justice, though in the political forum of confirmation hearings, about how judges are merely like umpires calling balls and strikes.

Certainly, every law student should read Cardozo’s practical and frank masterpiece. At Cardozo Law School for decades, the School gave a copy of the paperback version of this book to members of its incoming class. Thanks to Professor Childress, now schools can give it to students in many different contemporary formats.

Substantively, this Quid Pro edition offers a wonderful new Foreword written by the world’s leading expert on Cardozo, Andrew Kaufman, Harvard Law professor (pictured at right). This offers an insightful introduction to Cardozo the man and the judge. It is a critical biographical sketch.

Prof. Kaufman highlights some of Cardozo’s most important opinions and methods that, from the moment they were written down through today, have enriched substantive law, perspectives on legal method, and the craft of judging. He also positions Cardozo’s thesis in the context of angry debates of his era around legal realism and what judges really do–debates that are equally heated today and to which Cardozo’s insights continue to speak resonantly.

Readers can obtain, for about US$4, digital versions that may be read using all current readers, like Kindle, Nook. The paperback version (about US$13) is published with features far better than any other previous edition, including the early editions published by Yale or the Dover edition. These include type set in a modern style that’s easy on the eyes; pagination that’s tied to the original edition for improved research and citation; and text presented in a format suited to Cardozo’s style that used long paragraphs.

This book is thus hard to beat, offering a great and vital read, with a smart and delightful Foreword, published in a friendly format at a cheap price. One more thing: unlike other editions, it also contains several photographs of Judge Cardozo, some of which are actually flattering!

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. ParatrooperJJ says:

    Glad to learn something about the first hispanic SC justice.