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Holmes and Reputation: A quick question for David, in light of his comment below -- David, why do you think that "Justice Holmes . . . has seen his reputation plummet"? That's certainly news to me.
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Why Oliver Wendell Holmes's Reputation Has Declined:

For most of the last century, Holmes's greatest defenders and promoters have been left-wing "Progressives." But Holmes's views on a range of issues are now repugnant to the left. Beyond a general solicitude for (some types of) freedom of expression, Holmes had no regard for civil rights or civil liberties. See, e.g., his majority opinion in Buck v. Bell (upholding coercive sterilizaton, which he clearly thought was not only constitutional but a good idea), his dissent in Meyer v. Nebraska (arguing that states should be allowed to ban the teaching of foreign languages), his (unpublished) dissent in Buchanan v. Warley (arguing that banning blacks from buying houses in white neighborhoods is a reasonable regulation of property and should be upheld). A sign of the times is Alschuer's very critical biography, Law Without Values. An even more significant sign of the times is that if I'm remembering correctly, this book received a very positive front page review in the New York Times.

A few on the right, such as Judge Posner, continue to admire Holmes, but Holmes's skepticism, Social Darwinism, commitment to moral relativism, and general contempt for "values" and individual rights is hardly likely to win him any friends among either libertarians or moral traditionalists (see, e.g., this review in National Review). I'd even say that I hear far more criticism of Holmes emanating from every ideological corner than I hear praise.

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  1. Why Oliver Wendell Holmes's Reputation Has Declined:
  2. Holmes and Reputation:
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