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The dark side of James Wilson
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Wilson’s death brought a merciful end to an embarrassing episode: had the situation continued, he almost certainly would have become the first Justice to be impeached. But the disgrace of Wilson’s final years has led to an undeserved obscurity. His missteps shouldn’t be ignored, but neither should his many contributions — even above and beyond the founding of one of the country’s preeminent law schools — be forgotten.

Natalie Wexler, L’83, is a former associate editor of The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789-1800 and the author of A More Obedient Wife: A Novel of the Early Supreme Court, which is based in part on the story of James and Hannah Wilson.
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