Talking About a Revolution

A pop quiz with some surprising answers

Who was the youngest U.S. Supreme Court justice in history, and what else did he do while he served on the Court?

Joseph Story. At 32, he was nominated to the Court, and he continued to serve while he was Dane Professor of Law at HLS, where one of his goals was to transform the school into a national institution. “Here’s the tragedy,” said Coquillette. “To be a national law school, you have to have a nation.” Early on, Story saw that the country’s cohesiveness was threatened by the divide over slavery. In 1842, he enforced the Fugitive Slave Act in the Prigg case, sending a mother and her two children back into slavery, not because he supported the institution, said Coquillette, “but because he thought it was the price of a nation.”

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