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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Judging Justice Blackmun

I have just started reading a very Althousian book called, "Becoming Justice Blackmun", by Linda Greenhouse (Radcliffe, Yale Law).

Now, having cut my teeth on Ann's blog to consider Con Law the ne plus ultra of SCOTUS considerations -- RIP Harriet Miers --, I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to read Justice Harry Blackmun's Harvard Law transcripts, reproduced for you below.

Check this out:

Law School of Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass

October 14, 1942

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

This is to Certify that, Harry Andrew Blackmun, A.B. Harvard 1929, was in attendance at the Harvard Law School during the academic years:

September 23, 1929 to June 12, 1930
September 22, 1930 to June 18, 1931
September 28, 1931 to June 23, 1932


His record is:

First-Year

Civil Procedure B
Contracts C
Criminal Law C
Property I D
Torts C

Average 67


Second-Year

Bills & Notes C
Equity II D
Evidence C
Property II A
Sales C
Trusts D

Average 66


Third-Year

Conflict of Laws C
Constitutional Law C
Corporations B
Property III A
Public Utilities B
Suretyship & Mortgage B

Average 70

Gen. Average 67; Rank #121, Class 451


(A) First thing that peeps out at you are all those Ds. I mean, Ds?? Come on.

Now I understand that it's Harvard Law, and by Justice Blackmun's own admission, he says he was blind-sided by the intensity of the studies involved, and I know I only have Medical School to go on, but if say, I had gotten a D in general anatomy, how confident would you be in my hands as a physician? Please.

(B) He obviously had a sweet spot for real estate law, since he aced most of his Property classes. So of course, he became a tax lawyer...

(C) Neither here, nor there, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he was Chief Justice Warren Burger's best-man, being both of them, from the same home town of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

(D) Ole Harriet probably got straight Fs, save in Suretyship & Cronyism.

(E) Roe v. Wade never stood a chance...

8 Comments:

  • But he was ranked 121 out of 451 so it was before "grade inflation". Now everyone gets A's and B's so their self esteem doesn't suffer!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Thu Jan 26, 12:33:00 pm GMT-5  

  • hmmm...perhaps we overrate grades too much...

    Custer was last in his class at West Point:

    Custer graduated from West Point last of a class of 34 cadets in 1861, just after the start of the Civil War. His tenure at the academy was a rocky one and he came close to expulsion each of his four years due to excessive demerits, many from pulling pranks on fellow cadets. But he began a path to a distinguished war record, one that has been overshadowed in history by his role and fate in the Indian Wars. -- from his Wikipedia article.

    By Blogger Ron, at Thu Jan 26, 03:28:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Thing is, back then, you only needed to know somebody, specifically the President, and the votes for approval were lopsided except in a few rejections.
    I just know this. I'm not looking it up.

    By Blogger Paul, at Thu Jan 26, 05:29:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Yes what Jose said.

    By comparison, I'm quite brilliant yet finished in a similar relative position in my law school class, and [redacted] is no Harvard. So he was assuredly even, er, brillianter.

    Of course, I will never be nominated to SCOTUS, as this whole blogging/commenting thing leaves me with way too much of a paper trail...

    By Blogger Pooh, at Thu Jan 26, 08:55:00 pm GMT-5  

  • But he was ranked 121 out of 451 so it was before "grade inflation".

    Quite right.

    Which makes me wonder, though, about how the grades were of the other 330 students...

    Now everyone gets A's and B's so their self esteem doesn't suffer!

    Ugh. The worst, worst part of PCness, is this.

    I'm thankful that this type of grade inflation hasn't reached the hallowed ivy-covered colleges of Oxbridge.

    Or the Sorbonne...

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Jan 27, 03:40:00 am GMT-5  

  • hmmm...perhaps we overrate grades too much...

    I mentioned my last friend, remember? Well she didn't get a job for 2 years, because, in part, her grades were very poor.

    She's as bright as a whip though.

    Custer was last in his class at West Point:

    Also US Grant, no?

    Or at least, he was waaaaaay down there, unlike second-in-his-class, Robert E. Lee.

    Thanks for the Custer tutorial, though! I once dated a guy whose dad was MEGA into Custer, and frankly...I found his pointy blond beard in homage, a bit much.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Jan 27, 03:42:00 am GMT-5  

  • Thing is, back then, you only needed to know somebody, specifically the President, and the votes for approval were lopsided except in a few rejections.
    I just know this. I'm not looking it up.


    Paul has spoken!

    (If you have a second blog, for whatever reason, you should call it that ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Jan 27, 03:43:00 am GMT-5  

  • Yes what Jose said.

    Hey Pooh. Nice to see you back. ;)

    By comparison, I'm quite brilliant yet finished in a similar relative position in my law school class, and [redacted] is no Harvard. So he was assuredly even, er, brillianter.

    I used Brillianter once.

    Of course, I will never be nominated to SCOTUS, as this whole blogging/commenting thing leaves me with way too much of a paper trail...

    Don't we all know it.

    Mind you, it's Ann who is really screwed.

    She'll never get on the Court of Appeals with all those bat and squirrel postings behind her.

    Not to mention the Squism.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Jan 27, 03:45:00 am GMT-5  

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