Before he joined the editorial page staff of the Washington Post in 1997, Wittes covered the Justice Department and federal regulatory agencies as a reporter and news editor at Legal Times. His writing has also appeared in a wide range of journals and magazines, including Slate, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, Policy Review, and First Things.
Last week I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
It's an eclectic mix actually. I read a steady diet of legal opinions, since I write almost exclusively about law. As we are coming up on the end of a Supreme Court term, I am spending a fair bit of time -- and will be spending more in the coming weeks -- keeping up with the institutional output of the courts.Read Wittes's recent article, "The Supreme Court's Shift on Abortion is Not What You Think," The New Republic, April 30, 2007.
I am also currently working on a book about the legal architecture of the war on terror. As a result, I have been reading the rather voluminous literature that has developed around that. Specifically, I've been reading the documentary compilations, The Torture Papers and The Torture Debate in America -- along with Joseph Margulies's recent book, Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power and John Yoo's two books on the war. I have a long stack of thematically-related literature to read, and I expect this will occupy most of my reading time for the next several months. The most interesting book on this general subject I have read recently is James F. Simon's Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney -- which deals with many of the same liberty-in-wartime themes Americans are fighting about now but as they played out during the Civil War.
Other recent legal reading includes Jan Crawford Greenburg's new book, Supreme Conflict -- about which I wrote in a column some time back -- and Richard Posner's The Little Book of Plagiarism.
On a less contemporary note, a friend and I have been contemplating reading (or rereading, in some cases) the St. John's College book list as a way of gaining a deeper knowledge of classical and canonical literature -- my facility with which is spotty. We hope to begin that soon and proceed in a leisurely pace over several years.
Finally, on a lighter note, I have been reading the Bonfire of the Vanities, which I somehow missed in the 1980s and which remains uncommonly good fun. And, of course, I am eagerly awaiting Harry Potter VII, while pretending my excitement on this score is all on my kids' account....