Today in Supreme Court History

Today in Supreme Court History: August 9, 1974

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

8/9/1974: President Richard Nixon resigns from office, President Gerald Ford takes oath of office.


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  1. The first in a line of dim Republican Presidents and the only one for whom being thought of as not very smart was an electoral handicap and not an advantage.

    1. Having read excerpt’s of Ford’s journals, the guy was sharp.

      Anti-intellectualism on the right is of a Nixon vintage, IMO. Long-hairs at the schools. Then Reagan and Berkeley and we were off down the slope to Harvard educated Republicans arguing school is bad, actually.

      1. The comment was “thought of as not very smart.”

        Ford was bright — bright enough, at least — but often considered something of a dullard. He was a standout athlete yet roundly parodied as comically clumsy. He tended toward being a moderate but is perhaps best known for the partisan act of pardoning Nixon. He was an early social justice warrior but presided over a political party that stoked bigotry toward blacks, gays, and women. He was known as Gerald Ford after being born Leslie King.

        Gerald Ford, the public man, was an enigma in a number of ways.

        1. Nice comment. And fair observation about capt’s point.

      2. Ah yes, going to an Ivy can make you aware of what a fraud higher education is, especially when its dangled as a golden key to those who are not suited for it or can’t afford it. It’s a lot like how some of the tobacco company execs knew how deadly their product was and decided to warn the public about it.

    2. Ford lost because as a congressman he supported civil rights legislation while Carter had a more ambiguous civil rights record.

      Btw, Carter and Trump are examples of outsider/fluke presidents that failed because they had trouble staffing up with loyalists whereas Jackson and Reagan were successful outsiders because 4 years before they became president they showed they could win the presidency and thus were able to cultivate a group of advisers loyal to them and not the party establishment. So Bush and James Baker knew that Reagan was the guy to hitch their wagon to to get to the top.

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