Tuesday, December 03, 2013

TK's Favorite Figures in American History

Dear Korean,

This past week has included the anniversary of the assassination of JFK and also Lincoln's famous speech at Gettysburg. Both men are admired/respected and shaped our nation for the better. I wondered who in American history the Korean admired/respected (not necessarily political figures) and why.

A History Buff

Here is a light little post to work off the Thanksgiving turkey. :)

Because the Korean is an attorney, he spent his college and law school years admiring America's great jurists. After several phases involving John Marshall, William Douglas, Clarence Darrow and Earl Warren, he is now set on his favorite jurist of all time: Justice Robert H. Jackson.

Justice Jackson is widely regarded as the best writer of Supreme Court's history. By the Korean's estimation, the judge certain deserves the reputation. Justice Jackson's majority opinion in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), may be the greatest Supreme Court opinion of all time, if one judged Supreme Court opinions simply by literary merit. In Barnette, Justice Jackson ruled that Jehovah's Witnesses need not participate in their school's flag salute. Justice Jackson's best line is still quoted often to this day: "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."

Justice Jackson was not simply a gifted writer. He was a fine jurist who understood both the power of the law and its limitations, which allowed him to exercise the Supreme Court's authority in the most effective manner: moving toward progressive ideals, employing conservative methods.

Honorable Mentions: In addition to the people named earlier, the Korean is also quite fond of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Malcolm X, Sandra Day O'Connor, and many others that he must be missing right now.

Got a question or comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.

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