William Baude featured in the UChicagoan

William Baude, SBʼ04: Questions for the College alumnus and Law School professor.

What would you want to be doing if not teaching?

The boring answer, which is probably the true one, is that I would return to being a practicing lawyer, but the fantasy answer is that I would try to find some way of turning my obsessive habit of writing Yelp reviews into a job.

What was the last book you finished?

Secession on Trial: The Treason Prosecution of Jefferson Davis by Cynthia Nicoletti. This is a history of the federal government’s attempt to prosecute Jefferson Davis—former president of the Confederacy—for treason after the end of the Civil War.

The trial never happened. Davis threatened to argue that he could not be guilty of treason because the South’s secession was lawful, and therefore he had lost any obligations to the United States. The government feared that a Virginia jury would be sympathetic to this defense, and that an acquittal would destabilize the fragile settlement of the war. Ultimately, this stalemate allowed Davis to run out the clock until he could benefit from a general presidential amnesty.

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