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Stephen Smith ‘88 Announces for Trustee

Almost precisely one year ago, one of those patented American dreams came true. Sam Alito, a guy from Hamilton, New Jersey, a guy with a mom called Rose, and a guy whose bootstraps are worn to tatters from having been pulled up so often, was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

It is difficult to miss the parallels between Stephen Smith, a Dartmouth Class of 1988, and Alito. Smith is one of the most respected legalists in the Dartmouth alumni body—67,000 strong and hardly wanting for lawyers. From the rawest corner of the District of Columbia, Smith helped his mom raise three younger siblings. Despite impossible trials—his mom suffered from MS, his website says—he made it to Hanover, New Hampshire, and to Dartmouth. At the age of sixteen.

When he graduated in four years, he had a bachelor’s degree in history and in philosophy. He also had a wife and a baby on the way. Next stop? Virginia, and one of the nation’s finest law schools. For the next several years, Smith worked at various courts and law firms, reaching the Supreme Court of the United States as a clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas. He is now a tenured professor of Law at the University of Virginia.

Stephen Smith ‘88 has just announced, via e-mail to Dartmouth press, his petition candidacy for trustee. His website to collect petitions is at He’ll need five hundred signatures by the end of January to earn a place on the ballot.

So far, only one other petitioner has announced—Janos Marton ‘04.

In coming weeks, I am going to prepare a standardized list of questions for all trustee candidates. I will mail them to each candidate and publish the responses, unedited, for the consideration of this patient and humble audience. Hopefully doing this will make clear the dividing lines between each candidate.


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