FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT had no shortage of accomplishments. Among the most enduring were his appointments to the Supreme Court. Over his 12 years in office, he put up nine justices—the equivalent of an entire court—and he would have appointed many more, had his "court-packing" scheme not happily collapsed.

富兰克林·德兰诺·罗斯福功勋卓著,其中最持久的功绩应数他对最高法院法官的任命。他在执政的十二年中推举了九名法官——相当于整个最高法院——而且,如果不是他的“法院改组计划”(court-packing scheme)不幸失败的话,他还可能任命更多的法官。

In "Scorpions", Noah Feldman offers a detailed account of the troubles and achievements of Roosevelt's four most notable appointees. All lasted long enough to be party to the unanimous 1954 decision in Brown v Board of Education that ordered the desegregation of American schools. The last survivor, William Douglas, appointed in 1939, did not depart the court until 1975 and still holds the record as the longest serving justice.

在《蝎子》这本书中,诺阿·弗尔德曼详细记述了罗斯福任命的四位最著名的法官的困境与成就。这四名法官的任期足够之长,全都成为那份一致裁定解除美国学校种族隔离政策的布朗诉教育局案的当事人。最后一个去世的是威廉·道格拉斯。他在1939年被任命为最高法院法官,直到1975年才卸任,仍然是法官中任职期限最长记录的保持者。

In contrast to the polished Ivy League law-school types that sit on the court today, Roosevelt's quadrumvirate was a varied lot. Hugo Black grew up in Alabama, attended his state university's law school, and used membership in the Ku Klux Klan as a means to a swift political rise. Robert Jackson (pictured above, third from left, with Roosevelt, left), later chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg war-crimes tribunal, attended just one year of law school.

与今天的最高法院清一色的常青藤法学院的类型不同,罗斯福的“四人帮”要多元化得多。雨果·布莱克在阿拉巴马州长大,就读于该州的州立大学法学院,并且利用三K党成员的身份作为迅速提升政治地位的手段。罗伯特·杰克森(见上图,左数第三位。他左边是罗斯福)——之后成为了纽伦堡战犯审判庭的检察官——只在法学院读了一年。

Douglas, a poker-playing pal of Roosevelt's with a strong independent streak, fed sheep to earn money during a cross-country train journey from his native Washington state to Columbia Law School. Perhaps the only justice with a semi-conventional path was Felix Frankfurter, a Jew whose family emigrated from Austria when he was 12. He worked his way through Harvard Law School, served as its first Jewish professor and built political connections that helped him to reach the highest bench in the land.

道格拉斯是罗斯福的牌友之一,性格十分独立。他在从家乡华盛顿州到哥伦比亚大学的穿越美国的火车旅途中,通过喂羊来挣得盘缠。可能唯一的一位通过半正规路径成为大法官的人就是菲利克斯·法兰克福特。他是犹太人,12岁的时候随家人从澳洲移民到美国。他通过在哈佛大学学习成为第一个犹太人教授,随后建立起的政治关系帮助他坐上了美国最高的法官席位。

Self-made men all, the Roosevelt appointees at first set about "functioning as a team", Mr Feldman writes. Soon, however, strong-willed personalities asserted themselves, and this FDR-era "Team of Rivals" dissolved into a bickering bunch. Some of their feuds badly breached decorum in the secretive court. In 1946 Jackson, stuck in Europe and desperate to become chief justice, made public two extraordinary cables he sent to the president and Congress attacking Black. Jackson never achieved his aim. Others were at loggerheads too; Frankfurter took to calling Douglas, Black and another justice, Frank Murphy, "the Axis".

弗尔德曼在书中写道,罗斯福任命的这四个人都是白手起家,起初他们决心“集体行动”。但是每个人意志强大的个性都使他们坚信自己的主张,最后这支罗斯福时代的“竞争团队”变成了一伙口角不断的人。他们之间一些长期的争斗严重地撕破了这个神秘法庭的稳重与庄严。1946年,杰克森身陷欧洲,不顾一切地想成为首席大法官。他公开了两份发给总统和国会攻击布莱克的非同寻常的电报。杰克森从来没有达到目的,其他人也同样脑袋发昏。法兰克福特把道格拉斯、布莱克和另一名叫法兰克·墨菲的法官成为“邪恶轴心”。

As judges, they made some bad decisions too. The worst, of course, was upholding the executive order Roosevelt signed in February 1942, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbour and not long after the justices began their bickering. The order led to the internment of Japanese-Americans in bleak, remote camps within America, supposedly to help prevent espionage and sabotage. Black's majority opinion found that government authorities had the discretion to act as they saw necessary to protect security. A famous and complex dissent from Jackson argued that whereas wartime did imply special military powers, it was dangerous from a constitutional perspective to have a racial discrimination order that "lies about like a loaded weapon". The internment decision rankled for decades afterwards.

作为最高法院的法官,他们也做出了一些糟糕的判决。当然,最失败的判决就是支持罗斯福在1942年2月日本袭击珍珠港后(也是他们之家开始发生口角后不久后)即刻下达的行政命令。该命令导致了把日本籍美国人关押进美国境内偏远、阴冷的收容所里,认为这样有助于防止间谍和阴谋破坏。布莱克法官撰写的多数意见所持的理由是,当政府机构认为有必要保护国家安全时,它有采取行动的独立裁量权。杰克森著名且难懂的反对意见则认为,尽管战争时期的确包含了特别的军事权力,但是从宪法的角度作出一份具有种族歧视性质的、像“到处乱放的上了膛的武器”一样的裁定是十分危险的。数十年后,人们依然对这个关押决定耿耿于怀。

Redemption came, most notably in Brown v Board of Education, and Mr Feldman gives a compelling account of the back room dealings in the case. Frankfurter, wanting to end segregation but fearing that "judicial activism" would lead to a drastic move by a divided court, successfully pushed his colleagues to stall the decision for two years. In the end, Chief Justice Earl Warren, an Eisenhower appointee, used skill and luck to shepherd the justices into unanimity. Mr Feldman argues that for Black, who became one of the strongest proponents of ending segregation, the decision served as a means of freeing his legacy from Klan baggage.

补救的时候到了,大部分最著名的修正都反映在布朗诉教育局案中。弗尔德曼对该案背后的交易做了扣人心弦的叙述。法兰克福特既希望终止种族隔离又担心“司法激进主义”可能导致意见分裂的法院作出极端的行动,他成功地促使他的同事将此案延后两年判决。最终,艾森豪威尔任命的首席大法官伊尔·沃伦凭借技巧和运气引导大法官们作出了一致判决。弗尔德曼认为,对布莱克而言,成为废止种族隔离的最强烈的支持者之一,是他摆脱三K党历史包袱的途径。

Mr Feldman, a Harvard Law School professor who once clerked for a recently retired justice, David Souter, clearly enjoys the intellectual sport of dissecting opinions coming out of the court. His discussions of Brown, as well as cases about flag salutes and the government's right to seize steel mills in wartime, are nuanced and interesting. He also dwells at length on why these four justices are remembered above Roosevelt's other appointees, singling out their highly distinctive approaches to the constitution, which continue to influence justices even on today's very different court.

弗尔德曼是哈佛法学院的教授,曾经担任过最近刚退休的大法官戴维·苏特的助理。他显然很享受出自最高法院的反对意见中那种智慧的角力。他在书中对布朗案、向国旗敬礼案以及政府在战时接管钢铁厂案的论述细致微妙、丝丝入扣。他还用了大量篇幅详尽地阐释了这四名大法官能够比罗斯福任命的其他法官更让人们留下记忆的原因,还单独论述了他们对宪法与众不同的、时至今日仍对各个法院产生影响的解读。

Frankfurter was the father of "judicial restraint", a philosophy that when he began his service on the court put him in the liberal camp, but which has evolved into a conservative rallying-cry today. Mr Feldman could have devoted a little more space to discussing how this came to pass. Black put forward the theory of “originalism”, meaning that the literal wording of the constitution should form the basis for judicial decisions. Justice Antonin Scalia holds similar beliefs today. Douglas, a mercurial man who once aspired to the presidency, became a free-speech champion. Jackson, shaped by memories of Nuremberg, as well as prior service in the executive branch, was apt to consider the real-world application of his principles.

法兰克福特是“司法克制主义”的奠基人。当他开始任职最高法院时,这个法哲学理论把他推向了自由主义阵营,但该理论今天已经演化成一种保守的集会口号。弗尔德曼本来可以多用些篇幅来这个理论如何一路走来。布莱克提出“原旨主义”理论,意思是宪法的字面含义应当构成司法裁判的基础。今天,大法官奥托尼·斯卡利亚持有类似的信念。变化无常、曾经一度渴望成为总统的道格拉斯变成了言论自由的捍卫者。杰克森受到纽伦堡审判和之前在行政机关工作经历的影响,能够将他的原则理论放到现实世界中去思考。 更多信息请访问:http://www.24en.com/

The main shortcoming of "Scorpions", though, is that each of its four subjects merits a book of his own, as do the landmark court cases, like Brown and the Japanese internment decision. Much ink has been spilled on these four justices before, not least by the men themselves. Jackson, in particular, could write well and produced a wonderful account, published posthumously just a few years ago, of his observations of Roosevelt. But for intellectual heft, it is hard to match Mr Feldman's portrait of America's most inscrutable institution—and the men who, sometimes despite themselves, carried it through one of history's most critical periods.

尽管如此,《蝎子》一书的主要不足是,就像布朗案和日本人关押案这些具有里程碑意义的案例的一样,书中每个主角都够得上单独出一本书来讲述。特别是就在几年前,杰克森就在一本他去世后才出版的书中,把他对罗斯福的观察写得很透彻,描述得也很棒。但是,从展现大法官们的智慧方面来说,杰克森那本书还很难和弗尔德曼的书媲美——描述了美国这个最神秘的机构和一群把这个机构带过历史中最重要的那个时刻的人(尽管有时候并非全靠他们的力量)。