ILLINOIS JUSTICE: The Scandal of 1969 and the Rise of John Paul Stevens.

ILLINOIS JUSTICE: The Scandal of 1969 and the Rise of John Paul Stevens.

By Kenneth A. Manaster. Univ. of Chicago Press. 332 pp. $27.50

Read Time:
2m 57sec

ing for antibiotics, and when the United States is forging partnerships with Russia and China, we are in uncharted waters. Mead’s book demonstrates just how starkly the world has changed.

—Jonathan Rosenberg

The Scandal of 1969 and the
Rise of John Paul Stevens.

By Kenneth A. Manaster. Univ. of Chicago Press. 332 pp. $27.50

In this account of an obscure, threedecade-old political scandal, Manaster crafts a compelling morality play around a theme that’s more timely than ever: the often unseemly, but sometimes noble, intersection of law and politics. An attorney with a supporting role in the original events, Manaster provides a well-researched history of a 1969 scandal involving two Illinois supreme court judges. An up-and-coming Chicago litigator named John Paul Stevens investigated the allegations for a court-appointed commission. His effective work, which ultimately led to the resignation of both judges and significant reform of the Illinois legal system, helped him gain appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 1970 and then to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1975.

The Stevens connection may give this fine book its national significance, but the story of Illinois politics in the 1960s, "a culture that thrived on the fruits of influence and the enjoyment of clout," is compelling in its own right. The cast of characters is sometimes overwhelming but always fascinating. We have the original complainant, Sherman

H. Skolnick, a thorn in the side of the political establishment with his frequent accusations of corruption in the justice system. There are reporters competing to break the story, plus disturbing indications that the culture of influence led the Chicago Daily News to downplay the allegations. There are the state supreme court justices, Ray Klingbiel and Roy Solfisburg, under investigation for accepting bank stock from a lawyer whose criminal appeal was before them. Any good scandal has a supporting cast of wheeler-dealers and hangers-on, and they are all here as well. Finally, there are the attorneys who sat on the special commission and those who conducted the investigation. The 1969 experience, Manaster observes, influences Justice Stevens’s work on the Supreme Court today.

After our experience with independent counsel investigations that take years to complete, as Justice Stevens notes in the foreword to the book, it seems remarkable that the special commission in this case completed its work in just six weeks, the deadline set by the Illinois supreme court. Certainly there are differences between the two types of investigations, not the least of which is that independent counsel are charged with prosecution as well as investigation, while this commission had only the duty to investigate and report. But perhaps there is a lesson here. The criminal law may be the most complicated and least satisfying tool for addressing abuses of the public trust.

The Illinois supreme court justices were not prosecuted for their lapses. But they were forced to resign, and the public learned about the intricate web of influence in the justice system of the state. One finishes the story believing that this was enough.

—Katy J. Harriger

Religion & Philosophy

THE RECKLESS MIND: Intellectuals in Politics.

By Mark Lilla. New York Review Books. 216 pp. $24.95

This elegant little book is a victim of its own success. Moving briskly from one denunciation to another, taking sure aim at a gallery of 20th-century intellectuals who entangled themselves in practical matters, Lilla, a professor on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, leaves readers convinced but unhappy. His suggestion that intellectual flirtation with politics all too often leads to pathological results—tyran-

Winter 2002 123

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