16 Const. Comment. 485 (1999)
Clear and Present Dangers: The Importance of Ideas and the Bowels in the Cosmos

handle is hein.journals/ccum16 and id is 493 raw text is: CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGERS: THE
IMPORTANCE OF IDEAS AND THE
BOWELS IN THE COSMOS
Thomas E. Baker*
I wonder if cosmically an idea is any more important than
the bowels.
Yours ever,
O.W.H.I
Wednesday, June 19, 1918-an otherwise unremarkable day
in history-was the morning of a chance meeting between Jus-
tice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in the prime of his formidable
judicial career, and a little-known district judge nearly half his
age named Learned Hand.      By coincidence, the two judges
shared a train ride from New York City to Boston. They had a
spirited argument about when the majority can silence the
speech of a minority. Perhaps they were attracted to each other
because they disagreed so agreeably, each recognizing in the
other a mind with which to be reckoned. During that conversa-
tion their acquaintanceship began to develop into an intellectual
friendship that would last the rest of their lives.
Even though he had been a judge only nine years to
Holmes's thirty-five, Hand had an advantage because he had
written a district court opinion on the constitutional issue-no
such case had yet presented itself to the High Court for deci-
sion-and writing, of course, is the most rigorous form of think-
ing. Hand was emboldened by the rapport of their shared train
compartment to pursue Holmes further in letters. Going back
* B.S. 1974, Florida State University; J.D. 1977, University of Florida; James
Madison Chair in Constitutional Law & Director of the Constitutional Law Center,
Drake University Law School; thomas.baker@drake.edu.
1. Letter from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., to Sir Frederick Pollock (Aug. 21,
1919), in Mark DeWolfe Howe, ed., 2 Holmes-Pollock Letters 22 (Belknap Press, 1961).
2. See Gerald Gunther, Learned Hand and the Origins of Modern First Amend-
mept Doctrine: Some Fragments of History, 27 Stan. L. Rev. 719,732 (1975).
3. Masses Pub. Co. v. Patten, 244 F. 535 (S.D.N.Y. 1917).

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