June 16, 2005

Campaign Finance Request & Handy Anecdotes

by PG

I have a question on behalf of my summer research, and also some of the sillier fruits of said research, to share with y'all.

First the question: does anyone know of a well-written and argued defense of campaign finance reform's limitations on First Amendment freedom? This preferably would be penned by a judge, professor or government official and published in a law journal of some sort.

Second, apparently I've become an extremely minor authority on the lives of significant First Amendment thinkers who were born in 1872 -- Learned Hand having come out a week before Alexander Meiklejohn -- and certainly I now know more than I expected to know about Judge Hand, including his friendship with J.D. Salinger and he and his wife's birth control. A couple of stories below the fold:

The New York court had many citizenship cases, and the statutory requirement that a person prove a nebulously-defined good moral character before being naturalized troubled Judge Hand. A government attorney once argued that a thirty-nine-year-old bachelor who had admitted having sexual relations with unmarried women was disqualified for citizenship due to this breach in morality. When the attorney said to the judge that he surely would not want his daughter to marry such a man, Hand retorted, "I wouldn't want her to marry a man of thirty-nine who hadn't had the impulse!"

The distinction between "regular active service" and Handís retirement was not much visible in the decrease of work he did, but it did have some consequence for his clerks. Ronald Dworkin recounts how at the end of his clerkship with Hand, the judge told him that he didn't approve of the practice of a month's paid vacation for clerks, because of the cost imposed on the public, and thought it particularly inappropriate for the clerk of a judge who technically had retired. (Hand was thrifty on the public's behalf in many respects; when he left the office at night, he turned off not only his but everyone else's lights.)

A few days after the end of the clerkship, Dworkin married a young woman he'd met during it. When he'd just met her, he asked her to come along with him while he was dropping off a memorandum at Hand's house, thinking it would be a short detour on the way to dinner. But Hand invited them inside, made them martinis and talked to the young lady about everything from art history to the Supreme Court. When they left after almost two hours, she asked Dworkin, "If I see more of you, do I get to see more of him?" For their wedding present, Hand wrote a personal check for a month's salary.

June 16, 2005 03:29 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Check: http://www.ssrn.com/

Posted by: Jason at June 16, 2005 11:24 PM
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