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Who Is Yale Law School’s Most Disgraceful Graduate?
A gallery of seven rogues and a poll.

A tale of two Yalies: former president Bill Clinton and aspiring senator Joe Miller.

According to the all-powerful ranking gods of U.S. News, Yale Law School is the nation’s #1 law school. In fact, Yale has been the top law school ever since the magazine started ranking law schools.

Recently, however, controversy has arisen over possible damage to the school’s reputation. As first reported in today’s New York Daily News, former President Bill Clinton and Alaska Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller are pointing fingers at each other for “diminish[ing] the university’s reputation as an elite institution.”

Let’s explore the spat — and review and vote on the seven contenders for Yale Law School’s most disgraceful graduate….

According to the NYDN, Clinton started the squabble, while speaking at the fall luncheon of the Long Island Association for Commerce and Industry (I didn’t know there was much “industry” on Long Island):

[A]fter referring to comments [that Senate candidate Joe] Miller reportedly made that federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, Clinton told the crowd that Miller has “done more” than most “to dispel the notion that Yale is an elite institution.”

Ouch. That swipe at Joe Miller’s con law knowledge didn’t sit well with the Miller campaign:

“Bill Clinton is the last person who should be criticizing anyone for diminishing the reputation of Yale, the White House or any other institution,” [campaign spokesman Randy] DeSoto replied, making a subtle reference to Clinton’s scandal-scarred presidency.

“It makes sense that Bill Clinton would like to see Lisa Murkowski return to the Senate since she is a lot closer to his views and his style of Washington politics,” DeSoto said, referring to the Republican incumbent that Miller unseated in the Republican primary.

(Actually, Clinton would like to see Sarah Palin in the Senate. Or in a swimsuit. Or out of one.)

The spat between Bill Clinton and Joe Miller over who has done more damage to the reputation of Yale Law School got us thinking: Who is the most scandalous graduate of YLS?

Elie and I consulted Wikipedia’s list of Yale Law School alumni. It’s fairly comprehensive, but not perfect. For example, it doesn’t include Batman, who was apparently an alumnus.

More disturbingly, but perhaps also tellingly, the list of Yale Law alums lacks a section for practicing lawyers — ironic for a purported law school. No wonder YLS alumna Elizabeth Wurtzel described the school as “a cult of the Fourteenth Amendment… that happens to have a registrar’s office.”

(In fairness to Yale, even though it has graduated plenty of pointy-headed professor types with little or no experience in practice, it has also produced some of the nation’s leading litigators. Two that immediately spring to mind are David Boies and Floyd Abrams, but there are many others.)

So, back to the question presented:

Who Is Yale Law School’s Most Disgraceful Graduate?

Elie and I came up with a list of seven candidates. We wanted to keep the list lean, so tough choices had to be made. We also emphasized personal scandal over professional controversy. So even though Judge Stephen Reinhardt (9th Cir.) is hated by the right and former ambassador John Bolton is loathed by the left, and both would be labeled “disgraceful” by their political enemies, neither of them made the cut.

Without further ado, let’s look at the list….

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