September 28, 2006

Chief Judge Boggs Knows 1453 Too

The answer to question 56 is 1453, as my trivia buddies know. As to the rest - wow. I think I'd do better on this test than a lot of people, but I really wonder how many of the correct answers are provided by the people Chief Judge Boggs hires as clerks.

Oh, this is a general knowledge test that Danny Boggs, Chief Judge of the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, gives to clerkship applicants.

Posted by armand at September 28, 2006 01:17 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Law and the Courts


He misspelled asteroids. :P

Posted by: binky at September 28, 2006 01:28 PM | PERMALINK

Well if he typed it up himself ...

Posted by: Armand at September 28, 2006 01:47 PM | PERMALINK

i have seen this, or an earlier version, before, but it is stunning to consider the crisis facing such a questionnaire would present. on the one hand, you're only receiving it because he's interested. on the other, i think lots of pretty bright people would be completely crushed the number of questions unanswerable without further research, and in particular the number of questions that are close enough to seem knowable but far enough not to know.

but i loved this one: "Distinguish R. Kelly from R. Crumb." there are other contemporary questions, but this one is by far the most playful. and i'd bet plenty of his applicants have troulbe with it, either really not knowing the references or worrying that it's a trap.

my respect for the one former clerk of his i've encountered only goes up upon seeing this questionnaire.

Posted by: moon at September 28, 2006 02:27 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, that's the most fun question - and David Lat's response was great - "they're indistinguishable ... both are total pervs".

I'm a little conflicted on this - a lot of it seems really old white guy (first question deals with the not-so-long-ago Northern Rhodesia, the last with the night Cortes' company barely survived those savage Aztecs, asking about the former European names for places, etc. ...) in a way that Samuel Huntington might approve of. But hey, if you can answer all these things you've got a pretty deep knowledge of at least part of history and literature.

Posted by: Armand at September 28, 2006 03:47 PM | PERMALINK

I just meant that for someone who seems to be so old school and tough on the kinds of questions, that seems a glaring oversight.

Posted by: binky at September 28, 2006 07:31 PM | PERMALINK

maybe i just refuse to believe that i'm stupid on any relevant index despite the fact that i know remarkably little on the questionnaire (that is, in short, i'm projecting and protecting me ego at the same time), but i really wonder whether it's more about how much you can answer or more which particular dozen or so questions any given qualified applicants happens to know something about. i know lots of smart people who would bomb terribly on that exam, and unless he only wants history buffs, cassicists, or, ahem, political scientists in his chambers, he can't seriously be expecting very many people to get even half of these questions right.

Posted by: moon at September 29, 2006 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Well I'll meet you at least halfway on that analysis - I think he'd be delighted to have a string of applicants who'd know all or most of these things, but yes, it's entirely possible he is most interested in what is answered and how it's answered. Of course some questions obviously leave open a variety of answers (45, 48, your favorite movie in the last 10 years) - but there are others where exactly what you write could say something about you too.

Posted by: Armand at September 29, 2006 11:43 AM | PERMALINK
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