Len Niehoff is Professor from Practice at the University of Michigan Law School, where he teaches courses in civil procedure, ethics, evidence, First Amendment, law & theology, and media law. He writes regularly in all of these fields. He is also Of Counsel to the Honigman law firm. The opinions expressed here are his own.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On Justice Brennan

The Nation just published a thoughtful review of a new biography of Justice William Brennan. It can be found here.

I remember the first time I met Justice Brennan. I was still a very young lawyer, and somehow I found myself attending the annual meeting of the Supreme Court Historical Society in Washington, D.C. I was sipping a drink at a reception when I discovered I was standing about three feet away from him. I approached and he immediately took me by the arm, lathered me in stories, and asked about my family and career. I was having a wonderful time.

Then something happened that threatened to break the spell. I could feel the presence beside me of someone else who wanted to talk with him. Alas, the lesser angels of my nature took charge and I studiously ignored the intruder, unwilling to cede the conversational territory. Finally, Justice Brennan reached over, put his hand on my shoulder, turned me toward the third man and said "Mr. Niehoff, may I introduce you to my colleague, John Paul Stevens."

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