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Rodell, Fred M.


RODELL, FRED M. (1907–1980), U.S. legal scholar. Rodell, who was born in Philadelphia, served as a special legal adviser to Governor Gifford Pinchot of Pennsylvania until 1933. From then he taught at Yale Law School (professor, 1939–73) for 41 years. As a teacher, Rodell specialized in constitutional law, labor law, administrative law, federal taxation, and the legal profession.

Rodell is renowned for his cynical assessment of legal articles entitled "Goodbye to Law Reviews," published in 1936 in the Virginia Law Review. Not mincing words, he stated: "There are two things wrong with almost all legal writing. One is its style. The other is its content."

That article notwithstanding, Rodell was a prolific contributor to law reviews and general magazines. He also wrote Fifty-Five Men: The Story of the Constitution (1936); Woe Unto You, Lawyers (1939); and Nine Men: A Political History of the Supreme Court, 17901955 (1955). Regarded as the "bad boy" of American legal academia, Rodell was noted for the ease and clarity of his writing, along with intemperate attacks on those with whom he disagreed. In his highly controversial Nine Men, Rodell developed as his central theme that the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court reach their decisions on the basis of essentially political considerations.

add. bibliography:

K. Vinson, "Fred Rodell's Case against the Law," in: Florida Law Review, 24 (1996); L, Ghiglione, R. Newman, and M. Rodell (eds.), Rodell Revisited: Selected Writings of Fred Rodell (1994); "In Honor of Fred Rodell," in: Yale Law Journal, 84:1 (1974).

[Julius J. Marcke /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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