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Judge Buzz

I’m delighted to read that Judge Morris Shepard Arnold — “Judge Buzz” to many — is recovering nicely from a recent heart attack. Any mention of Buzz Arnold prompts a little law school nostalgia for me. A little over twenty years ago, I was a first year law student and Buzz Arnold was a visiting faculty member at Stanford. (His permanent appointment was at Arkansas and then UPenn, but he was in the process of being appointed Dean at at IU – Bloomington.) He taught Property to my section. This was 14 weeks of almost nothing but estates in land (at least that’s what I recall), and the course was one of the most entertaining I ever took. Why (estates in land? entertaining?)? Because we had a (1) brilliant legal historian who (2) talked in a serious Texarkana accent but (3) dressed formally and impeccably and (4) delivered an outrageous standup comedy routine for the first 5 minutes or so of every class, usually riffing on some “Stranger in a Strange Land” routine. Imagine a balding, drawling Johnny Carson. It’s easy to take the Rule in Shelley’s Case when you can’t stop laughing.

I remember Professor Buzz Arnold’s description of his first visit to Candlestick Park, to watch the Giants play baseball. Parking in the hinterlands of the ‘Stick, he encountered ticket buyers. Did he have any tickets to sell? He walked onward toward the stadium. There he found ticket sellers, and some of the buyers were in the group. Unbelievable! The innocent law professor from the Middle West came to the big city and discovered arbitrage at Candlestick Park. But you had to hear the delivery. He killed.

2 thoughts on “Judge Buzz”

  1. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the good wishes and for the good review of my property class. I loved teaching at Stanford, and, as it happens, it was my last stand as a teacher because Ronald Regan rescued me from the academy only a few months after I left Stanford.

    Glad to see that you are prospering and hope that you are well.

    All the best.


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