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Cardozo the Craftsman, 6 University of Chicago Law Review 1 (1938)


THE last opinion of Benjamin Nathan Cardozo has taken its place in the Reports. His contribution to the endless fabric through which the law is shaped to the needs of the land is done. There is nothing that he can add or subtract from a miscellany of utterance scattered across the pages of many legal volumes. The record is complete and closed;' yet it is impossible to assess the exact quality of his work or with certainty to assign his place in the great tradition. For in his decisions a jurist offers only one of the elements out of which a judgment upon him is to be distilled. The great web of the law gives character to his accomplishment; and, as the future sets its pattern, provides the perspective against which his craft is defined. The jurist performs; and the law and posterity give worth to his contribution. He can only do and abide the event.

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