Crazy Justice McReynolds Stories I

81px-Picture_of_James_Clark_McReynoldsSince I’m going to write about the Four Horsemen, I might as well start a series that we’ll call “Boorish Behavior by Justice McReynolds.”  I can get many posts out of that, to wit:

1.  When Justice Stone remarked that a lawyers’ argument was the dullest he had ever heard, McReynolds replied “The only duller thing I can think of is to hear you read one of your opinions.”

2.  When McReynolds was late to oral argument, Chief Justice Hughes sent a page to fetch him.  The page returned with a message “Justice McReynolds said to tell you he doesn’t work for you.”

3 .  In 1924 there was no official portrait of the Justices because McReynolds refused to sit next to Brandeis.

McReynolds was also pleasant and generous sometimes, though he didn’t make a habit of it.

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5 Responses

  1. Bryan Gividen says:

    And for those who are un-familiar with Justice McReynolds, he refused to sit next to Justice Brandeis because McReynolds was deeply anti-semitic. He reportedly petitioned President Hoover not to “afflict the Court with another Jew,” among other despicable things.

  2. Calvino says:

    Oh, Gerry.

    Will your “writing” about the Four Horsemen all be like this?

    (By “this” I mean clumsy summaries of things found on Wikipedia?)

  3. Joe says:

    I was looking at Palko v. Connecticut (given the Amanda Knox / double jeopardy issue) and see that Justice Butler had another solo dissent w/o an opinion. Palko has the famous fundamental rights rule that is also cited in Snyder v. Massachusetts, which also had a dissent to upholding the government’s actions. There Butler joined a dissent.

    Butler might be boring (at least the professor here has noted he finds him boring), but his libertarian tendencies (see also, of course, his dissent w/o an opinion in Buck v. Bell) makes him an interesting character on some level.

  4. Gerard Magliocca says:

    Well, Butler was boring personally, not boring professionally.

  5. John Dereszewski says:

    Butler also dissented – this time with an opinion – in the Olmstead case and did not agree with a number of the Court’s restrictive opinions on prohibition 4th Amendment cases. This sets him apart from the other Justices at least in this area and may provide an interesting topic for discussion.