MOST LEGAL revotions are anything but swift. Often, the only thing that moves slower than constitutional law is the judges who administer it. Desegregation, First Amendment freedoms, even the reach of congressional power--all these facts of modern life in the United States took decades of litigation to achieve.
A decade ago, "Young Sherlock Holmes" represented the state of the art. In it, a stained-glass knight--animated by "Toy Story's" John Lasseter--became the fast-ever computer-generated "synthespian." Then came the slithering pseudopod of "The Abyss" (1989), the metal cyborg of "Terminator 2" (1991), Meryl Streep's twisted head in "Death Becomes Her" (1992), the dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park" (1993), Forrest Gump's meeting with JFK and LBJ (1994) and "Casper" (1995).
CRUSADING "60 MINUTES" HAS LONG been fabled for going after the sacred cows and greedy hogs of Washington, Wall Street and the world. But last Friday afternoon, in the show's ninth-floor screening room on Manhattan's West Side, more than 40 staffers gathered to vent their passion inward-at network management.
THE SPECIAL-EFFECTS WIZARDS AT INDUSTRAIL Light & Magic near San Francisco are used to creating dazzling cinematic tricks. From the intergalactic battles in "Star Wars" to the metallic cyborg of "Terminator 2" to the T-rex that ate "Jurassic Park," the 350 artists and tekkies at ILM have revolutionized movies to meet the jaw-dropping expectations of audiences.
ON A SLEEPY 90-ACRE homestead, in the outback of upstate New York, lives the latest pioneer for women's rights in academe. In her 1820 fieldstone farmhouse, Cynthia Fisher sits at the kitchen table, with two Rhodesian Ridgebacks at her feet and some Cranberry Cove tea in the kettle.
WITH JUSTICE HARRY BLACKMUN'S retirement, John Paul Stevens will be about the closest thing to a liberal that the Supreme Court has left. But that's a bit like calling Staten Island the nicest place to live in New York City-what are the other choices"' This court has no ideological breadth.
A FIRST PRINCIPLE OF American jurisprudence holds that judges should not decide more than they absolutely have to. To be honest, that's a doctrine more honored in the breach than on the docket, but judges blessed with common sense and a common touch know when to use it.