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Harvard vs. Yale on high court

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  • Harvard vs. Yale on high court

    If confirmed, Sonia Sotomayor would help Yale Law School draw close to even with arch-rival Harvard in a two-horse race for Supreme Court bragging rights.

    When Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed in 2005, it looked like the Supreme Court might be trading in its black robes for Crimson. It was the first time five graduates of one law school served simultaneously. A sixth, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, attended Harvard Law but graduated from Columbia.

    But with the appointment of Yale Law grad Samuel Alito, and Sotomayor in line to replace Harvard Law grad David Souter, the score could fall back to Harvard 4 (Roberts, Kennedy, Scalia, Breyer), Yale 3 (Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor). Justice John Paul Stevens attended Northwestern Law School.

    All-time, Harvard leads with 14 graduates who have served, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter. Sotomayor would be No. 9 for Yale (which has a smaller student body). Until the early 20th century, most justices did not formally study law.

    The court's heavy load of graduates from elite law schools has worried some, who think it creates a group-think (though conservative Scalia and liberal Breyer both attended Harvard). They'd like to see more graduates of state schools or even people with non-legal backgrounds. There's no requirement a Supreme Court justice have a law degree.

    -Justin Pope, AP Education Writer
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