Eight legal correspondents and two law professors submit workmanlike essays on some major decisions of the 199293 Supreme Court. Editor Smolla (Marshall-Wythe School of Law at William and Mary College; Free Speech in an Open Society, 1992) had a fine idea: Assign top Supreme Court cases to top Supreme Court reporters and gather their reflections to provide a sense of constitutional ``process'' for a single year. But the result is a drab, myopic collection, too technical and bloodless for lay Court-watchers, yet too superficial and pedantic for lawyers. The essays, notably uniform in style and perspective, fail to do justice to some inherently fascinating subjects: hate-speech laws, habeas review of death-penalty cases, age discrimination, warrantless drug searches. Occasionally the reporters include a revealing bit of gossip (such as Anthony Kennedy's distaste for Antonin Scalia's ``slashing'' internal memoranda, known as ``Ninograms''), but the more common practice here is to insert, sometimes irrelevantly, a boilerplate mini-bio of a justice casting a critical vote. Two essays stand out: Writing on the Zobrest case (in which the Court found no First Amendment problem in providing a state-appointed interpreter for a deaf student attending a religious school), Knight-Ridder reporter Aaron Epstein briskly explores the facts and speculates knowledgeably about future church/state issues facing the Court. And Stephen Wermeil, former Supreme Court correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, contributes a humane, lucid account of a Georgia teen suing her school district for damages when the school's football coach sexually harassed her. Smolla's editorial comments, however, are redundant, patronizing, and oddly worshipful of Scalia (``a magnificent conservative''). A yawner from the Fourth Estate.
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