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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Judge John T. Noonan, Jr., RIP

My Mirror of Justice colleague and Villanova prawf Patrick Brennan posted over there that Judge John T. Noonan, Jr., of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, has passed away at the age of 90.  I was blessed with the chance to learn from him, and to get to know him reasonably well. (He visited my law school, during my first year, to speak about the then-current-and-controversial proceedings surrounding and leading to the execution of Robert Alton Harris.)  He was not only a thoughtful and conscientious judge, and a prolific and prominent scholar; he was a really and inspiringly good and faithful person.  If you've never read Persons and Masks of the Law (here), check it out.  Requiescat in pace.

Posted by Rick Garnett on April 19, 2017 at 06:15 PM in Rick Garnett | Permalink


I was blessed to be one of his students. Professor and Judge Noonan taught me more about writing that any other person. I am profoundly sad.

Posted by: Greg Waters | Apr 25, 2017 5:29:39 PM

The Lustre of Our Country was one of the books that made me want to be a law professor. Sorry for this news.

Posted by: Ian Bartrum | Apr 23, 2017 7:48:35 PM


Legal thought in this country has always focused on the rules rather than on the persons affected by the rules. Persons and Masks of the Law restores the balance by taking a person-centered view of the law.

On the contrary, only recently has the law focused on rules (equal protection, due process, innocent until proven guilty, etc.) rather than on persons (if they're white we'll consider their innocence, otherwise we'll Korematsu them).
And it's only when we enforce rules (like innocent until proven guilty), rather than focus on persons (is this good for women, even though we have to assume men are guilty of rape until they can prove their innocence) that persons are treated like people/individuals rather than groups.

Posted by: GovtOfLawsNotMen | Apr 19, 2017 6:42:14 PM

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