Justice Holmes Rocks:

As this seems to be WDYTOJOWH week at the Volokh Conspiracy — “What Do You Think of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes?” — I thought I would risk annoying Ilya and David B by saying that I’m a big fan of Holmes. He was a marvelous legal thinker for his day, a true intellectual, and a gifted writer.

  Granted, I don’t agree with Holmes about everything. But then I’ve never agreed with anyone about everything, and I’ve never come close with those who had the misfortune of living a century ago. Plus, I’m not sure that the degree to which someone agrees with me is a reliable indicator of how great they are. Whether different people really should be fans of Holmes (liberals, conservatives, left-handed people, etc.) is a question I’ll leave to others to debate. But looking at his work as a whole, I find a great deal to admire in it. One of the Great Justices, in my view.

  For readers interested in getting to know Holmes better, I particularly recommend The Essential Holmes, Selections from the Letters, Speeches, Judicial Opinions, and Other Writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.. Excellent stuff.

  UPDATE: For a few quotes from The Essential Holmes that I posted at this blog way back in July 2003, see here.

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