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John C.P. Goldberg, The Life of the Law, 51 Stan. L. Rev. 1419 (1999) (reviewing Andrew L. Kaufman, Cardozo (1998)).

Abstract: In this review, Professor John C.P. Goldberg examines Professor Andrew L. Kaufman's biography of Justice Cardozo. While Cardozo presents a rich factual picture of its subject's life and legal career, Goldberg argues that it fails to capture the essence of his jurisprudence or satisfactorily explain why Cardozo is considered a great judge. Contrary to the opinions of scholars such as Kaufman and Judge Richard Posner, who each consider Cardozo a different form of Legal Realist, Goldberg argues that Cardozo was among the most accomplished anti-Realist judges of the twentieth century. Goldberg takes issue with Kaufman's thesis that Cardozo merely balanced various competing factors in deciding cases - which does little to explain why Cardozo reached the decisions he did - and with Judge Posner's attribution of Cardozo's fame to his literary prowess. Instead, Goldberg argues that Cardozo believed that the law contained meaningful concepts and that the job of the judge is to apply these concepts. Cardozo's talent for conceptual analysis, his detachment from the world, his acknowledgment of his own limitations, his judicial humility, and his perceptiveness shaped his particular style of judging - that of a pragmatic conceptualist. Ultimately, Goldberg argues that Cardozo's greatness can be explained by his ability to combine astute legal analysis with an awareness of social conditions and changing social norms.