1NT: We don’t need no stinking judges…or lawyers

Adding a new category to this ancient blog: One New Thing. It’s based on the “you learn something new every day” theory, which I’ve found to be true and I thought to myself, “Self, you should start writing this crap down.” Here’s today’s one new thing (1NT):

You don’t have to be a judge, or even a lawyer, to be a Supreme Court Justice. From the Supreme Court’s FAQ page:

Are there qualifications to be a Justice? Do you have to be a lawyer or attend law school to be a Supreme Court Justice?

The Constitution does not specify qualifications for Justices such as age, education, profession, or native-born citizenship. A Justice does not have to be a lawyer or a law school graduate, but all Justices have been trained in the law. Many of the 18th and 19th century Justices studied law under a mentor because there were few law schools in the country.

  • The last Justice to be appointed who did not attend any law school was James F. Byrnes (1941-1942). He did not graduate from high school and taught himself law, passing the bar at the age of 23.
  • Robert H. Jackson (1941-1954). While Jackson did not attend an undergraduate college, he did study law at Albany Law School in New York. At the time of his graduation, Jackson was only twenty years old and one of the requirements for a law degree was that students must be twenty-one years old. Thus rather than a law degree, Jackson was awarded with a “diploma of graduation.” Twenty-nine years later, Albany Law School belatedly presented Jackson with a law degree noting his original graduating class of 1912.

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