Elena Kagan not a judge? Well, at least she went to law school.
Critics say Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan might not be qualified, since she's never been a judge. But historically, most Supreme Court justices never graduated from law school.
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This practice persisted well into the 20th century. The last justice without a law school degree was Stanley F. Reed, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by FDR in 1938, and served until 1957. Reed studied law at the University of Virginia and Columbia but never graduated. He learned law working at a small firm in Maysville, Ky., from 1910 to 1917.Skip to next paragraph
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Of course, there is nothing in the Constitution that says you have to be a lawyer to be on the Supreme Court. And some experts argue the US would be better off with some non-lawyers on the nation’s highest bench.
“Once we recognize that the Supreme Court is America’s authoritative faculty of political theorists and not a mere court of law, then we can readily see that the necessity for formal legal training is no greater for Supreme Court justices than for officers of the other branches of government,” wrote George Washington University law professor Arthur Miller and his associate Jeffrey Bowman in a 1986 Vanderbilt Law Review article, “Break the Monopoly of Lawyers on the Supreme Court.”
Wow. Maybe we need a mix of professions on the high bench. Lawyers. Engineers. Teachers. Journalists.
Those jobs are for life, right? Hmm....
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