Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Also appearing recently on Brian Leiter's Law School Reports: the results of a poll of the blog's readers to name The Most Important Legal Thinkers in American Law of the Past Century. The poll and the results were both skewed toward dyed-in-the-wool jurisprudes, public law scholars, and Supreme Court Justices. Nonetheless, several of the top vote-getters at least dipped their toes in the waters of contract law and a few dove in unabashed. Included among the top 25: 1. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.; 2. Richard Posner; 5. Benjamin Cardozo; 7. Karl Llewellyn; 16. Lon Fuller; and 23. Frank Easterbrook(whose failure to grasp the importance of UCC § 2-206 and the first clause of § 2-207(1) in Hill v. Gateway has spawned considerable judicial and academic debate). I suggested to the pollster that the poll should have included Corbin, Williston, and Farnsworth (curiously, Grant Gilmore -- though not his posthumous alter ego Gil Grantmore -- was in the poll, but did not make the top 25); others suggested Charles Fried and Roger Traynor. Still, being able to lay a legitimate claim on 20-24% of the top 25 (depending on your view of Easterbrook's contracts contributions) isn't bad for the red-headed step-child* of legal academia.
[Keith A. Rowley]
* - Being the red-headed child of a red-headed step-child whose adoptive parents shipped him off to live at the YMCA while finishing high school, I feel free to invoke this metaphor.