Actually, two of them. I think this meme thing is getting a little out of hand. They’re starting to reproduce like bunnies (not that I mind a little freewheeling copulation once in awhile). I was tagged by two of them recently, and I will fulfill my memetic responsibilities like a good blogger, but in keeping with prior Inquisitorial policies, I won’t tag anyone else.
Lifeguard tagged me with the history meme, and Sacred Slut tagged me with “Six things” meme. I’ll deal with them in order, after I correct an oversight. I could have sworn I had Slut in my blogroll, but when I went to check on the post she tagged me from, I find I didn’t. So, with that corrected, on to the memes.
The Rules of the meme of History (my favorite subject, after myself), as I understand them, is to simply pick a favorite historical figure and post seven facts about them. As a lawyer, I’ve had a few lawyers who I’ve admired in history, but none as much as Clarence Darrow.
- Of course, everyone knows that he was attorney for the defendant in the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial, but did you know that he asked the jury to find his client guilty, so that it could be appealed to a higher court? They obliged.
- He was a firm opponent of the death penalty. In the Loeb-Leopold case, he essentially conceded the guilt of his clients, arguing that they should not be executed. He had the Judge in tears in his summation, who then refused to impose the death penalty on the defendants.
- He died at the age of 80, and after nearly 60 years of trial defense work, only one of his clients was ever executed – his first murder case.
- His most famous opponent, William Jennings Bryan, ran for president 3 times. Darrow was present at the first nominating convention in 1896, where Bryan gave his “cross of gold” speech. He was also asked by Bryan to support him in his third bid for office in 1908 (Darrow refused). Of course, he went head to head with him in Tennessee.
- He shared offices with Edgar Lee Masters, an attorney who went on to be come a well know author and poet, most notably of the Spoon River Anthology.
- In 1906-7 he successfully defended “Big Bill” Haywood, the labor rabble rouser who was charged with killing the ex-governor of Idaho. A good book on the subject is “Big Trouble” by J. Anthony Lucas.
- You’ll probably never see another lawyer like Clarence Darrow, the “country lawyer” who took on unpopular cases because they were right (sometimes even crossing over the lines himself), not because there was much money or acclaim in them. OK, that’s not really a fact, it’s my opinion. Sue me.
As for the six things meme, well, if you look up there, and really stretch a few things beyond recognition, you’ll find that there are six quirky, minor but actual things you could glean about me. Good luck.
My work here is done.