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In March 1977 I gave the Oliver Wendell Holmes Lectures at the Harvard Law School. The theme of those lectures (and of the forthcoming book based on them, The Common Law Function in the Age of Statutes) was the increasingly frequent assertion by courts of power over statutes in order to counter the "petrification" of law with which our "orgy of statute making" has burdened us. In the book I canvass many possible approaches and solutions to the problem, but the one to which I clearly am most partial is the candid acceptance of the power of courts to treat certain statutes as having no more, and no less, authority than common law precedents. One may imagine my surprise and delight to learn some months after I had delivered the lectures of Senator Davies' proposed bill.

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