Edward Lazarus (” Lazarus Rises“) appears to have forgotten a fundamental legal and socialconcept that most people understand:� You have to be able to trust yourneighbor — either because he is honest or because the cost of lying,cheating, or stealing is greater than the benefit he would get from doing so — or it’s back to the state of nature.� That is why people who have clerked at the U.S. Supreme Court (I have not) are so ticked off at him.

The clerk-justice (and clerk-court) relationship is one traditionally based on trust, which means there’s been no need to waste personal orinstitutional resources on incentives to prevent the parties from screwing each other at the first opportunity.� The promise is enough.� Interests are aligned; integrity is assumed.� That doesn’t mean the court community engages in a group hug every morning before starting work, but it does mean its members can trust each other to attend to the work at hand in an open and honest fashion, knowing that there is no personal or institutional price to pay for frankness.� Lazarus reports on this special work environment, which inevitably reveals deep personal and philosophical differences, with horror.

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