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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Apocryphal Quote Alert

For the paper that I'm writing, I came across a great quote from Learned Hand, which is that "due process is merely the embodiment of the English sporting idea of fair play." The source for this quote is Felix Frankfurter's 1938 book on Mr. Justice Holmes and the Supreme Court.

There is one small problem. Hand never said this. Frankfurter provided no citation. No opinion or article by Hand contains this line. And I see nothing in Gerald Gunther's biography of Hand on this either. I can't rule out the possibility that Hand made the comment to Frankfurter or wrote it to him in a letter, but I'm skeptical. 

What's especially odd here is that some Michigan state cases (and law review articles) have quoted this phantom line.  This reminds me of the time years ago when I realized that Huey Long just made up a quote from (the late) Chief Justice Taft to the effect that Long was one of the best lawyers to ever argue before the Court. 


Posted by Gerard Magliocca on June 21, 2022 at 10:02 PM | Permalink


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