We have lived in an era of crusades, ideologies and causes. We whose lives extend into a second generation look back on causes and leaders of causes which were with us but not with those of the second generation. Such is not the fate of Justice Holmes. He continues, if only a subject of controversy. Two reasons for the continuity are apparent at once. He wrote well: “Worships language and forgives . . . Everyone by whom it lives,” and he wrote on law and justice—universals which interest everyone and which have inspired teachers from a time extending back through Aristotle and Plato.
There is another reason for a continuing interest in Justice Holmes. It is not so apparent in our era. Time may develop it clear and sharp. We are conscious of it, though, through our inability to classify Justice Holmes. Some regarded him as a liberal, others have been sure that the Justice was a radical, and still others treated the Justice as a source of social and political mischief. This irritation may have found its source in the difficulty that arises when we look for a category that fits. What later generations may see clear and sharp is an objectiveness of mind that became notable in the Northern Securities litigation, and which leaves Justice Holmes in our era as a man without a cause. I propose to develop this thought by comparisons and contrasts with men who were working during that period; then I shall refer to the quality in the Justice’s work.
Perlie P. Fallon,
The Mystery of Justice Holmes,
37 Neb. L. Rev. 442
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol37/iss2/6