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Charles Lund Black at 70 has earned his reputation: He is unquestionably among a handful whose scholarship occupies prominence in the library of the law's queen subject. During the past three decades, there have been few constitutional lawyers who have written as provocatively—and none as poetically—as Charles. To attend to his writing is to see public law afresh. No one can read him, for example, on the death penalty, impeachment, segregation or state action without gaining new perspectives on our political morality. And, after a few hours with Structure and Relationship in Constitutional Law, one is bound to understand better the essence of our system of government.
Yet, it is my impression that Charles's book on judicial review (the queen topic of the queen subject) is sometimes cited primarily because it was written by an important scholar, with little reference to, or understanding of, its central insights. The book's teaching, about the well established practice of subjecting governmental action to constitutional examination in the courts, often is neglected. I have just discovered that this is a terrible oversight. The People and the Court would be an important book no matter what its pedigree—the artistic worth of The Man With the Golden Helmet does not depend on its attribution to Rembrandt. Still, it is true that no one but Charles Black could have written his book on judicial review.
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