Willis Van Devanter

90px-Justice_Willis_Van_DevanterI’m still thinking about whether it makes sense to write a collective biography of the Four Horsemen.  Thus far, I’m leaning against it.  There are two major problems.  One is that Pierce Butler was a very dull person–it’s hard to get any traction on him.  The other is that James McReynolds was interesting, but only in the way that a car wreck is.  It would just be a series of stories about what an awful man he was.

Justice Van Devanter, on the other hand, is quite fascinating.  For someone who wrote few opinions, he wrote a lot of letters.  And lively ones at that.  Moreover, he was widely respected by his colleagues.  Van Devanter was the Justice Brennan of his era–the one who was the most adept at framing arguments to get five votes.  Just as Brennan acted as Earl Warren’s lieutenant, Van Devanter served the same role for Chief Justice Taft. Maybe he deserves his own biography, though that’s hard to justify given his slender judicial output.

Gerard Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Magliocca is the author of three books and over twenty articles on constitutional law and intellectual property. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his law degree from Yale, and joined the faculty after two years as an attorney at Covington and Burling and one year as a law clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Magliocca has received the Best New Professor Award and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) from the student body, and in 2008 held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2013.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Joe says:

    Hey, dull people should get some respect too! An interesting article on Justice Butler: