How Would Presidents Have Scored on the LSAT?

Here’s a post-President’s Day fact for you: did you know that twenty six of our nation’s Commanders-In-Chief were lawyers before they were elected?

It’s no surprise that our radically litigious nation would elect so many lawyers to the highest office of the land. But prior to King Obama’s ascendance, Bill Clinton’s debauchery, or William Howard Taft’s Supreme Court appointment, each was a hand-wringing, anxious law school applicant. Just like you.

How did each of these Presidents fare on their LSATs? In most cases it’s hard to say, in part because the LSAT has only existed in its current form since 1991. However, armed with Google and a bit of reckless speculation, we can make some semi-educated guesses as to how they’d have performed.
The easiest to predict, by far, is President Barack Obama’s score, mostly because we have some data. Based on admissions records, we can deduce — somewhat reliably — that Barry-O scored between the 94th-98th percentile on his LSAT. Using today’s grading system, that’d place him somewhere around a 170. If a 170 LSAT score can help the country make such strides in healthcare, then who knows: maybe down the line we’ll elect a 171 who can improve our infant mortality rate enough that we don’t lag behind Slovenia.

I think we can safely assume that James Garfield would’ve lit up the LSAT. He stands out as being one of the few presidents (or, for that matter, lawyers) in our history who knew how to math — and boy, did he math well, deducing a unique proof for the Pythagorean theorem. In addition, he dedicated his early political work to abolishing slavery. Based on his demonstrated skill in spatio-mathematical reasoning, and his familiarity with a subject central to numerous Reading Comprehension passages, we can be relatively certain that Garfield would’ve scored no less than a 179 on his LSAT.

Tragically, Garfield was killed after only six months in office, following a painful bout with injuries sustained during an assassination attempt. The attack calls to mind another assassination attempt decades earlier on President Andrew Jackson. This incident, however, ended much more favorably — and more comedically, as the aging President Jackson limped after his would-be assailant and beat him over the head with his cane, while howling unpublishable indignations. The geriatric gladiator demonstrated similar tenacity as a thirteen year old prisoner of war, and then as a Major General (although many of his campaigns were morally reprehensible, and likely another subject of your Reading Comprehension passages). That sort of willful determination can go a long way in LSAT preparation, leading me to believe that Jackson would have studied long and hard enough to score about a 176. Maybe that would have bumped him up to the fifty

If you feel confident in your assessment of another President’s LSAT capabilities, chime in in the comments section!

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