March 5, 2004

Private letters of a private man. I haven't had time to read the morning paper yet. First things first: I had to tend to my blog (and tell the world what I think of The Apprentice) and get my thoughts in order for my Conlaw1 class that meets at 11 (the historical development of commerce clause interpretation). But once class is over, despite the gloomy weather today, I plan to walk down to State Street, get a latte and a sandwich, and plunge into today's NYT. I especially want to read Linda Greenhouse's writing about the Blackmun papers.

I'm starting to get a queasy feeling about some of what I'm reading. Much as I love to know the background to the cases I've studied for so long, the behind the scenes wrangling I've always speculated about, I think it's not quite right to be revealing private letters and notes so recently written, many by persons still living and still active on the Court. I quoted a letter from Justice Souter yesterday, because I found it touching and charming and eloquent, but, really, I don't think it's right that Souter's private letter is available for everyone to read. Souter is a mysterious character and in fact that letter seems to reveal his strong feeling about maintaining the mystery about himself. I can imagine a person committing some wrong that might make us think it's a good thing to deprive them of the private zone they have claimed for themselves, but nothing of the kind can be said about Justice Souter. The man is entitled to be the mystery he chooses to be. Sorry if I added to the deprivation of privacy yesterday, but the letter was in the NYT.

No comments: