I have a carny’s talent: I can predict a person’s LSAT score after the briefest of encounters. I once saw the Baldwin brothers at an In-N-Out Burger. Alec Baldwin is a 170, and Stephen is a 126.
So, in honor of Presidents’ Day—that great American holiday designed to keep us from taking a day off for each of our great presidents—I bring you my rundown of the top presidential LSAT scores.
The Presidential 174+ LSAT Score Club
A 174 LSAT score puts you above the median at every law school. It’s the stuff of dreams, and nightmares. Here are the presidents who would have made it into this exclusive club:
Richard Nixon — 180
Woodrow Wilson — 179
Bill Clinton — 178
James Garfield — 176
Thomas Jefferson — 175
Gerald Ford — 174
Andrew Jackson — 174*
Some of the names in the 174 LSAT Score Club are easy to explain. Wilson is the only U.S. president with a PhD, Clinton won a Rhodes Scholarship and graduated from Yale Law School (YLS) all while keeping a very busy *cough* social life, and Thomas Jefferson is famous as a polymath. Now on to the others.
Prior to doing the research for this post, most of my impressions about Nixon resembled his Futurama persona. The real man was a bit more complicated. Nixon grew up in Whittier, California, as the son of a poor farmer and grocery clerk. He got into Harvard, but chose to attend Whittier College so he could stay closer to home and help care for his dying brother. After Whittier, Nixon went on to study law at Duke with a full scholarship. He graduated third in his class. President Nixon might have had some personal failings, but he was a hard worker who would have demolished the LSAT.
While Nixon was a workhorse, James Garfield was just plain smart. Garfield came up with a unique proof of the Pythagorean Theorem. He’s the only U.S. president with real math chops. Math majors tie with physics majors for the highest average LSAT scores, so it’s not a stretch to say that the mathy Garfield would have done very well on his LSAT.
Gerald Ford was an interesting mix of brains and brawn. He was boxer and YLS graduate. Boxers are some of the toughest people around, and we all know how special YLS grads are. I think President Ford would have fought his way right into a 174.
Andrew Jackson, on the other hand, would have literally fought someone over his LSAT score. Jackson is our most badass president. He was a prisoner of war at the age of thirteen, fought in several duels (some of them deadly), and beat up a would-be assassin with his cane. Oh, and he probably saved us all from becoming Canadians** during the War of 1812 (that’s the one where the Canucks burned down our White House). As the savior of the nation, he gets an honorary 174 LSAT score.
If you want to submit a president for admission to the Presidential 174+ LSAT Score Club, make your arguments in the comments. If you’d like to defend Stephen Baldwin, I will admit he was good in The Usual Suspects.
List of Presidents of the United States by education
List of the Baldwin brothers
PBS’s Nixon biographical documentary
Historical rankings of U.S. presidents: popular opinion
The Battle of New Orleans
**Blueprint LSAT Prep actually loves Canadians. Send your polite hate mail to the author.