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Conference Proceeding

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Supreme Court justices, by and large, are a pretty dull and anonymous lot to the average man. An occasional Holmes may become a legend on a Civil War record, a Back Bay claque, longevity, and flowering moustachios. An occasional Hughes may become familiar by running for the presidency and sporting a full-rigged beard. But the nine men in their marble temple, even when they are Dred Scotting or anti-New Dealing or desegregating, usually make the news en masse; it is not they but the Court that has done this wonderful or terrible thing; and who is that character sitting second from the left? Namelessness springs in part, of course, from the Garbo-like withdrawal that almost all the Justices affect, once they are Justices. But there is something more. These are the ultimate among egg-heads; their world is a world of sheer thinking; they write in and of the ratiocinations of law. Indeed, the law—save for frolics and detours on the same intellectually stratospheric level—is generally their life.

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