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Journal of Supreme Court History

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Although there have been many debates over the relevant qualifications for a Supreme Court nominee, Fuller’s nomination was the first—and last—time in history where the quality of a nominee’s verse was debated in national and regional newspapers. In this essay, we weigh the merits of two claims leveled against Fuller: (1) he was a mediocre poet, and (2) his penchant for verse colored and polluted his judicial opinions. As judge and jury, we conclude that neither charge is supported by a preponderance of the evidence.

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