“Every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
The Magnificent Yankee is a 1950 American film that examines the life of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Louis Calhern stars as Holmes and was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor. The film focuses on the relationship between Holmes and his wife.
It turns out, however, that Holmes led an interesting life. Holmes was influenced by his experience fighting in the civil war. In the war, Holmes saw action suffering wounds at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, Antietam, and Chancellorsville.
He served on the Supreme Court with Edward Douglas White. I have written about Justice White separately. White served in the confederate army. The relationship between Holmes and White is captured in the play Father Chief Justice. Holmes’ famous maxim was as follows: “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” This maxim applies directly to the practice of family law. There is much in family law that does not follow absolute rules of logic but, rather, through the course of understanding the human condition.