Frank, who held the gossip of Frankfurter's protege Thomas Corcoran partially responsible for his firing, did not feel in need of instruction. "My strategy has been exactly that suggested by you, to assert on behalf of the government no more power than is necessary to justify the precise action heretofore taken by it. You ought to know that I do not believe in trying to vindicate abstract principles and that the thing to do is to win particular cases."
The two fired further rounds at each other, including Frankfurter's declaration, "Of course I still continue to think that you are wrong in thinking, as I believe you think, that most of law is bunk, but that you dish up the bunk because other people like to feed on it." Frank replied,
I don't say that "most law is bunk." You remember the farmer who was asked if he believed in baptism and who replied "Believe in it? Hell, I've seen it." I think "law" is damned real. But I do not believe that it works the way it appears, on the surface, to work. I think that many legal ceremonials could be eliminated. But while they exist, they play an important part in their effects on human lives. Therefore, as lawyer, I want to be well up on them and meticulously practice them. To use highbrow terms, I think that, pragmatically, practice, procedure and substantive law intermingle or, to put it differently, "substantive law" is merely one of the implements used in a court fight, one of the implements of persuasion used to induce a court to issue an order which will be backed by armed force, if necessary, to compel someone to do what your client wants him to do.