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52 Ala. L. Rev. 859 (2000-2001)
Louis Brandeis and the Race Question

handle is hein.journals/bamalr52 and id is 873 raw text is: ALABAMA LAW REVIEW

Volume 52                       Spring 2001                        Number 3
Christopher A. Bracey*
American society is deeply fascinated with heroes and celebrities.
Legal academics undoubtedly share in this fascination. The sheer vol-
ume of scholarly work that purports to identify and categorize intellec-
tual heroes in American law evinces an enduring romance with idealized
standard-bearers of legal culture.' Heroes in the law, like their counter-
parts in popular culture, are presented to us in exalted form-superbly
packaged, replete with canonized tidbits of transhistorical wisdom and
exhaustive lists of legendary accomplishments. Images of juridical he-
roes are usually met with rapid genuflection and fairly uncritical accep-
tance by the majority of interested lawyers, students, and academics-an
unfortunate testament to the pernicious consequences of unchecked
hagiography and the overwhelming seductiveness of celebrity skin.
Rarely are celebrated heroes, including those of the intellectual sort,
everything we make them out to be. Exactly who and what these heroes
are, the texture and efficacy of their lives, is often blended away beneath
Visiting Assistant Professor, Northwestern University School of Law. Correspondence
may be sent to c-bracey@northwestem.edu. Although this Article has benefited from the com-
ments of many readers, I am particularly indebted to my colleagues at Northwestern for the many
helpful questions and comments presented during a faculty workshop on this Article. In addition, I
gratefully acknowledge Philip Hamburger, Randall Kennedy, Andrew Koppelman, Jim Lindgren,
Steven Lubet, Len Rubinowitz, and Nomi Stolzenberg for generously providing source recom-
mendations and detailed comments on earlier drafts.
I.  Books and articles that fall into this category are simply too numerous to catalogue here.
However, it is worth acknowledging a relatively recent line of scholarship that purports to rank
the greatest American legal minds. See generally RICHARD POSNER, A STUDY IN REPUTATION
(1990); William G. Ross, The Ratings Game: Factors That Influence Judicial Reputation, 79
MARQ. L. REv. 401 (1996); Bernard Schwartz, Supreme Court Superstars: The Ten Greatest
Justices, 31 TULSA L.J. 93 (1995); Albert P. Blaustein & Roy M. Mersky, Rating Supreme Court
Justices, 58 A.B.A. J. I 183 (1972).

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