Justice Brennan’s Correspondences with Erwin Griswold: Part III

March 16th, 2018

Justice Brennan’s recently-opened correspondence folders includes a number of exchanges with Harvard Law School Dean Erwin Griswold over the course of nearly two decades. (See Part I and Part II).

This exchange between Justice Brennan and Dean Griswold concerned hiring of new faculty members.

Griswold asks about hiring Wayne Barnett, who at the time worked for the Solicitor General.

Brennan was “disappointed with [Barnett’s] performance in arguing cases before us. I can’t say that he’s been clear and effective in his arguments or that he has articulated himself adequately.” (He argued two cases in 1961 and 1962.)

Brennan didn’t speak highly of this Harlan clerk, but did suggest several of his own law clerks, including Frank Michelman, Roy Schotland, Bon O’Neil, and Dick Posner.

As it turns out, Barnett was hired at Stanford Law School. Griswold said O’Neil “needs more ‘seasoning.'”