The importance of a first draft

There is a very good, if a little star-struck, article in the NYT about Justice Stevens, who is apparently gotten riled enough, sitting on a packed court at 87, to speak a bit more freely to the press. He also has some astute things to say about writing:

Since Stevens joined the court, he has also been the only justice routinely to write the first drafts of his own opinions — the other justices have generally relied on clerks to write their first drafts and then rewritten (or at least edited) the drafts to various degrees. “Sometimes the draft is pretty short,” Stevens told me, “but at least I write enough so that I’ve had a chance to think it through.” Stevens said writing a first draft was “terribly important” because “you often don’t understand a case until you’ve tried to write it out.”

Amen to that. I’m in a workaholic mood today, which is good, because the last week has not been that productive, but I thought I’d share an englightening piece.

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