Joseph Greenaway

Nov 2012

Imagine a line graph. The y axis represents a professor's intellectual contribution to his students, and the x axis represents the humor/light-heartedness of the professor. In my opinion, a professor must never be further along the x axis than the y. A brilliant and serious professor is perfectly welcome, but when a professor is constantly making jokes and trying to be funny, but teaches his students very little, that's obnoxious. As you can guess from this introduction, Judge Greenaway falls into that latter category of instructors. He tries so hard to come off as funny, and I spent more time in class pretending to laugh at his jokes than I did learning from him. For many classes, Judge Greenaway assigned a fat book about a former justice. But instead of having a meaningful discussion about the book, he would spend thirty minutes having students share facts they learned from the book such as "he was born in Massachusetts." It was as if he was testing to see if we read a sentence from anywhere in the book, and didn't know how to lead a discuss about anything deeper than superficial content. This all being said, Judge Greenaway actually has a lot to offer. When students would ask him questions on legal things (seemingly in attempts to get him to talk about actual things of substance), he would provide really interesting and articulate answers. At times like this, I felt like I was really learning things. Most of the time, however, class was unstimulating. I guess I would recommend this class to people that are interested in the subject matter. But keep in mind that the judge is a judge, not a teacher.

Dec 2011

History of the United States Supreme Court is one of these classes that you walk out of every week and just think, "what did I do to deserve such an unbelievably fantastic, thought-provoking, and challenging class?" This class is a must for anyone interested in law, the United States Government, or just wants a better background in one of the greatest institutions in this nation. Professor Greenaway is a current judge on the 3rd Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (he took Alito's spot when Alito went to the Surpemes), which means he incredibly sharp, charismatic as all get out, and doesn't tolerate tomfoolery or unprofessionalism. The class meets once a week where we discuss a few landmark cases and/or a particularly notable Justice (over the course of the semester, we talk about Marshall, Cardozo, Warren, and O'Connor in particular). Because undergraduates have not gone to law school, Judge Greenaway spends a good deal of time educating us on how the legal world works and how the cases we read fit into the larger legal world of United States Constitutional Law. This means that this seminar is about half lecture, half guided-discussion, so if you are yearning to debate the meaning of the commerce clause with you classmates you may be disappointed, but Greenaway's insight, humor, and brilliance made up for it in my opinion. We also get to take a trip to the Supreme Court, hear oral arguments, and meet a Justice (we met with Kagen, the year before us met with Sotomayor, so go ahead and jizz in your pants right now) which is just beyond cool. So yeah, just take this class, it's a once in a lifetime experience! One negative note: This class tends to fill up with a lot of type-A people, everyone wants to be the teacher's pet. If you can deal with that kind of competitive bullshit then it won't bother you, but expect to work and be challenged by your peers.