[in chronological order]

The Passive Virtue as Means, Not Ends

– Stephen I. Vladeck, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSblog (August 21, 2012).
Excerpt: The summer after the Supreme Court’s 2011 Term seems a strange moment to reflect upon Alexander Bickel’s The Least Dangerous Branch – and his Harvard Law Review foreword on the “passive virtues” that preceded it. After all, “passive”… More

Learning about the Supreme Court

– Barry Friedman, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSblog (August 20, 2012).
Excerpt: What enduring value does Alexander Bickel’s now-classic The Least Dangerous Branch have today? In what ways does it or should it speak to us? One is tempted to answer: Virtually not at all. The Least Dangerous Branch was a profoundly conflicted… More

Alexander Bickel Has Left the Building

– Sanford Levinson, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSblog (August 20, 2012).
Excerpt: This is the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Alexander Bickel’s The Least Dangerous Branch, by any measure one of the most influential books on constitutional theory published since World War II. Bickel died extremely prematurely, but… More

How I Spent My Summer of 1961

– Sanford Jay Rosen, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSblog (August 17, 2012).
Excerpt: It is trite but true to say “you had to be there” to understand what was going on in 1962 when The Least Dangerous Branch (“TLDB”) was first published. Overt race, gender, disability, and age discrimination and homophobia were rife in… More

An Affectionate, but Contrarian, Remembrance

– Richard A. Epstein, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSblog (August 17, 2012).
Excerpt: There is little question that The Least Dangerous Branch counts as one of the most important books in constitutional law scholarship ever. Written some fifty years ago, it should not be understood, however, as a timeless constitutional doctrine, but… More

Bickel and Bork beyond the Academy

– Roger Pilon, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSblog (August 16, 2012).
Excerpt: A spirited debate over judicial review was unfolding in the legal academy when Alexander Bickel’s The Least Dangerous Branch appeared in 1962. Often abstract, arid, and abstruse, the cottage industry that followed will likely be the focus of… More

“It’s Alexander Bickel’s Fault”

– Erwin Chemerinsky, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSblog (August 16, 2012).
Excerpt: Modern constitutional theory began with Alexander Bickel’s The Least Dangerous Branch and its declaration that judicial review is a “deviant institution” in American democracy and that there is a “counter-majoritarian difficulty” in having… More

Bickel’s Principled Prudence

– Adam J. White, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSBlog (August 15, 2012).
Excerpt: In writing The Least Dangerous Branch, Alexander Bickel famously drew the title from Alexander Hamilton’s assurance, in Federalist 78, that “the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political… More

On Rereading “The Least Dangerous Branch”

– Floyd Abrams, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSblog (August 15, 2012).
Excerpt: For me, rereading The Least Dangerous Branch (TLDB) is to return my first days in Yale Law School – and Alex Bickel’s first days as well. We both entered Yale in the fall of 1956, he as a professor, and I as a student. By alphabetical serendipity… More

Certiorari – At the Bar of Law or Politics?

– Kathryn A. Watts, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSblog (August 14, 2012).
Excerpt: The Supreme Court’s docket during the October 2011 Term covered a wide range of highly charged, hot-button topics, including television indecency, warrantless GPS surveillance, state regulation of immigration and, of course, the Affordable Care… More

Too Principled to Stand on Principle?

– Louis Michael Seidman, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSblog (August 14, 2012).
Excerpt: At the dawn of the American constitutional tradition, John Marshall wrote in Marbury v. Madison (1803) that “[q]uestions in their nature political . . . can never be made in this court.” He then proceeded to craft a brilliant political document… More

Looking Back while Moving Forward

– Ronald Collins, "Online Alexander Bickel Symposium," SCOTUSblog (August 13, 2012).
Excerpt: His name was Alexander Mordecai Bickel (1924-1974). He was one of the great constitutional scholars of his day and the author of The Least Dangerous Branch: The Supreme Court at the Bar of Politics (TLDB), which was published fifty years ago this… More

The Lost Greatness of Alexander Bickel

– Adam J. White, Commentary (March 2012).
Excerpt: When Yale Law School’s Alexander Bickel died in 1974, George Will declared him “the keenest public philosopher of our time”—and rightly so. In his seminal 1962 book, The Least Dangerous Branch, Bickel argued that although the Supreme Court… More

In Praise of Alexander M. Bickel

– Nelson W. Polsby, Commentary (January 1, 1976).
Excerpt: In The Morality of Consent, the late Alexander M. Bickel begins the task of constructing a liberal political philosophy that avoids the optimistic authoritarianism afflicting so much of contemporary liberal thought. In Bickel’s view, there is a… More

Alexander M. Bickel, Political Philosopher

– Robert H. Bork, Supreme Court Review 419 (1975).
Abstract: It is hardly surprising that with his book The Morality of Consent Alexander M. Bickel moved from constitutional scholarship into explicit political philosophy. That would seem a natural, indeed almost an inevitable, progression for scholars of the… More

Alexander Bickel, Public Philosopher

– George F. Will, in The Pursuit of Happiness, and Other Sobering Thoughts, Harper & Row, 1978. Originally published “The Roots of Watergate,” The Washington Post, December 27, 1974.

Alexander Mordecai Bickel

– Charles L. Black, Jr., Yale Law School, Faculty Scholarship Series, Paper 2603, (1974). Originally published in The Yale Law Journal 84:2 (December 1974).
Excerpt: To an intellectual, courage commands intellectual honesty. There were many times in Bickel’s life when the opinions to which his thought led him did not make him popular among the people with whom he would naturally have wished to be popular.… More