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In the summer of 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed a Tulane Law professor to serve as a Judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and although the professor’s credentials and his political persuasion were probably more than sufficient to convince Eisenhower and the Senate of his qualifications, his name, an almost perfect aptronym, probably helped too. Today, Judge John Minor Wisdom, who died in 1999 at the age of 93, is generally considered one of the most towering and influential figures in the history of Louisiana law. When he was well into his eighties, in 1993, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian award, and a year later, the Fifth Circuit’s opulent headquarters (which, depending on who you ask, ranks as New Orleans’s first or second most beautiful office building, in a city that does not suffer from a lack of beautiful buildings) was named in his honor.

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