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While I tend to be skeptical of stories of deathbed recantations (and try to be more skeptical than I am), the fact is that I really, really hope that this one is true.
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I, for one, would consider Page 3 Girls to be a welcome addition to the Wall Street Journal.
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NY Hit by Gas Smell,
Mayor Says not Dangerous

Mayor's Statement Believed by Several

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Plainly someone should have explained to this guy all about "rum, sodomy, and the lash."
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So this is where our winter went.
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Yesterday I asked, of the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court who considered Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, how many had ever been judges on any courts before appointment to the Supreme Court.

The correct answer is, of course, zero.1 The Supreme Court had been the entry-level judicial job for all nine of them. Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] rosemarymint, [livejournal.com profile] hopeleslove, and [livejournal.com profile] gottacook.

This does not mean that Harriet Miers is necessarily qualified to be on the Supreme Court. For all I know she could be brilliant or mediocre. I'm simply annoyed by the public hand-wringing about her lack of prior judicial experience. Historically, it's not all that rare.



1My source for this figure is my law school Constitutional Law professor who loved to point this out whenever he was actually in town and able to teach our class. I did some cursory looking on the Internet to verify this figure before posting the poll. If someone knows something different, please share.

[ETA 10/4 9:40 PM: It seems I was misinformed and that the correct answer is really that two of the nine justices had prior judicial experience. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] alanesq and [livejournal.com profile] aldoushuxley. With luck, though, this will not lead to revocation of my law license.]
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When, in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the landmark desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the court comprised:

  • Earl Warren (Chief Justice)
  • Tom C. Clark
  • Robert H. Jackson
  • Harold Burton
  • Sherman Minton
  • Felix Frankfurter
  • Hugo L. Black
  • Stanley Reed
  • William O. Douglas

Of these nine justices, how many had served as judges (on any court) before being appointed to the Supreme Court?

[Poll #582341]
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I will confess that when I first read this article, my knee-jerk reaction was to think, "Ha! Poetic justice in action." I suspect that for many readers, that with be the first and last thought.

But on reflection I think that was unreasonable. The article discloses no context. I don't know what evidence the U.S. had against this guy. I don't know what standards of evidence the British authorities applied. I will admit to my suspicions, but suspicion is not the same thing as knowledge. Most of all, though, I think that the U.K. gave this guy the benefit of due process of law, without which the government itself becomes a terrorist organization.

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