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Do Great Cases Make Bad Law? - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Do Great Cases Make Bad Law?

Lackland H. Bloom, Jr.


In one of the most quoted statements in American law, Justice Holmes proclaimed that “great cases, like hard cases make bad law.” He explained that this was so because the “hydraulic pressures” of the great case tend to distort the judgments of the justices. By great cases, Holmes seemed to mean those cases that come before the Supreme Court from time to time and capture the attention of the public placing the Court in the vortex of some current public controversy. The purpose of this book is to examine twenty-five great cases that arose throughout the history of the Supreme Court and attempt ... More

Keywords: great case, bad law, opinion, Supreme Court, Holmes, historical context, deliberation, decision

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780199765881
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199765881.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Lackland H. Bloom, Jr., author
Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law