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Immigrants Of The Day: Judge Alex Kozinsksi of Romania, James Naismith of Canada, and Guido Calabresi of Italy

by Kevin R. Johnson

Judge Alex Kozinsksi (Romania)

Kozinski Alex Kozinski (born July 23, 1950), a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, was born 1950 in Bucharest, Romania. His parents, both Holocaust survivors, brought him to America in 1962 when he was 12. and settled in Los Angeles.  Judge Kozinski's father, Moses, ran a small grocery store there.

Judge Kozinski earned his A.B. in economics and J.D. from UCLA; he clerked for then-Ninth Circuit Judge, now Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice Warren Burger.  Judge Kozinski spent 1977 to 1981 in private practice. In 1981, he went to serve as a counsel in the White House under President Ronald Reagan.

In 1982, Kozinski was appointed chief judge at U.S. Court of Federal Claims. In 1985, at age 35, he was appointed to the Ninth Circuit by President Reagan.  At the time, Judge Kozinski was the youngest federal appeals court judge in the United States.

Judge Kozinski has won admirers across the political spectrum who praise his intellect, common sense decisions, and libertarian instincts.  He has the reputation as an active and sometimes intimidating questioner during oral argument.

Judge Kozinski has authored numerous opinions on the Ninth Circuit.  One of particular interest to readers of this blog is his concurrence in Rodriguez-Roman v. INS, 98 F.3d 416 (9th Cir. 1996), an asylum case in which the applicant had fled Cuba.  in the concurrence, Judge Kozinski discusses the persecution at the hands of communist regimes, something that his family experienced first-hand in Romania.

interestingly, Judge Kozinski, known as a conservative with a libertarian bent, is friends with arch-liberal U.S. Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt. To listen to Judges Reinhardt and Kozinski discuss judicial activism and related issues, click here.

As an essayist, Judge Kozinski's writing is clear and often humorous, and has been featured in mainstream publications such as Slate, The New Yorker, The New Republic and National Review.

Judge Kozinski Trivia:  As a younger man, Kozinski appeared on the popular television show The Dating Game and won a date.  His opening greeting: "Good afternoon, flower of my heart."  In 2004, Judge Kozinski was elected the "Number 1 Male Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary" by a vote on the blog "Underneath Their Robes."

August 24, 2007 | Permalink

James Naismith (Canada)

NaismithJames A. Naismith (1861939) invented the sport of basketball and was the first to introduce the use of a helmet in American football.

Naismith was born in Ramsay township, near Almonte, Ontario, Canada, the son of Scottish immigrants who worked in mining. In 1891, while working as a physical education teacher at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, Naismith was asked to make a game that would not take up much room, was not too rough, and could be played indoors. Inspired by a game he played as a child in Canada called "Duck on a Rock," Naismith's game started December 15, 1891 with thirteen rules (modified versions of twelve of those are still used today), a peach basket nailed to either end of the school's gymnasium, and two teams of nine players.

The rest is history.  Basketball became a popular men's sport in the United States and Canada, and spread around the world.   There were several efforts to establish a women's version of the game. Naismith was impressed with how quickly women caught onto the game and remarked that they were quick to understand the nature of the teamwork involved.

Men's basketball was added to the Olympics in the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin. There, Naismith handed out the medals to three North American teams; United States (Gold), Canada (Silver), and Mexico (Bronze). Women's basketball finally became an Olympic event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

In 1898, Naismith became a professor and the first basketball coach at the University of Kansas.  The Kansas Jayhawks went on to develop one of the nation's storied college basketball programs.  Interestingly, Naismith is the only Kansas coach to have a losing record (55-60) at the school.

Naismith was also a Presbyterian Minister and became a naturalized American citizen on May 4, 1925.

August 27, 2007 | Permalink

Guido Calabresi (Italy)

Calabresi_2 Guido Calabresi (born October 14, 1932, Milan, Italy) is a U.S. legal scholar and judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Former Dean of Yale Law School, Calabresi is considered one of the founders of the modern field of law and economics.

Calabresi is the son of the late cardiologist Massimo Calabresi and European literature scholar Bianca Maria Finzi-Contini Calabresi. His parents, active in the resistance against Italian fascism, eventually fled Milan for New Haven, immigrating to the United States in 1939.

Guido Calabresi received his B.S. summa cum laude from Yale in 1953, majoring in economics. He was a Rhodes Scholar, studying at Oxford, which awarded him a B.A. with First Class Honors in 1955. Calabresi received his law degree magna cum laude from Yale Law School in 1958, graduating first in his class, and was also a law review member as Note Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Following graduation from law school, Calabresi served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Hugo Black.   He also earned a M.A. in politics, philosophy, and economics from the University of Oxford.

Calabresi joined the faculty of the Yale Law School upon completion of his Supreme Court clerkship, becoming the youngest ever full professor at the Yale Law School, and was Dean from 1985 to 1994. He now is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law and Professorial Lecturer in Law at Yale.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated Calabresi to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and he was confirmed by the Senate. Among Calabresi's expansive group of former students are Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, feminist legal scholar Catherine MacKinnon, Harvard Law School professor Richard H. Fallon, Jr., and Kenji Yoshino. (I am pleased to say that my colleague Chris Elmendorf served as a law clerk to Judge Calabresi.).

In 2006, Yale created the Guido Calabresi Professorship of Law, with Kenji Yoshino serving as the inaugural holder of the chair.

Judge Calabresi is the author of four books and more than 100 articles. Click here for his profile on the Yale Law School website.

August 28, 2007 | Permalink

These posts were orginally posted on the ImmigrationProf Blog here, here and here.

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog .

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.