San Diego Law Review

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The ghost of Christopher Columbus Langdell-the dean of the Harvard Law School whom Judge Jerome Frank once called a "brilliant neurotic"-still stalks the law schools. Often it comes to rest int he offices of the law reviews that most law schools think it necessary to publish. Here, Langdell's influence may be seen in almost everything the editors print: the choice of topics, the selection of articles, and particularly the affliction that Karl Llewellyn once called "cititis," the disease of too many footnotes. (The Disease is contagious; it infects the Supreme Court itself, as any issue of the Supreme Court Reporter will reveal. Possibly this is because some of the Justices and most of their clerks have been editors of law journals.) That, of course, is quite familiar, but is it relevant to the theme of legislative motivation in judicial decisionmaking? I think that answer is obvious. In tense concentration upon such minutiae of the judicial process does not lead to the type of understanding so badly needed, understanding not only about the judiciary but about law itself. It is the very antithesis of what should be done.

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