Stephen Glass, famous for fabricating large parts of numerous magazine pieces in the 90s, has spent years trying to gain admittance to the California bar, and Reuters's Jack Shafer sifted through some of the arguments Glass's team has made for his fitness as a lawyer. Shafer draws on documents from previous reviews of Glass's case made public after the California Supreme Court agreed to review whether Glass "sufficiently rehabilitated himself to practice law," and in particular the decision of a judge from the State Bar Court of California, who ruled in Glass's favor. Shafer disagrees with quite a bit of the judge's decision, and his whole argument is worth a read, but he seems to take particular issue with Glass's use of childhood traumas as part of his arguments. Glass's childhood does sound strange and hard, and these documents remind us of the epic 1998 Vanity Fair profile of Glass, but there are some stories that, as Shafer points out, feel a little irrelevant to a hearing about whether you're too much of a serial liar to practice law. From the decision:
As an example, applicant took a family life class in high school where the boys and girls were paired and assigned to be a “husband” and “wife” to study the development of an egg into a baby. Applicant’s partner was distressed to be assigned to applicant, and she complained to her parents, who in turn, complained to the teacher. The next day, the teacher continued the theme by having the marriage “annulled.” As one would imagine, this caused applicant to be ashamed and humiliated.
As Shafer says, "I don't know what’s worse—that Glass’s side introduced these “facts” to create sympathy for him or that the judge appears to have bought them. As high school humiliations go, annulments of family life class marriages rate pretty low." We'd agree, this just doesn't feel like the chick-flicky "high school is hard" anecdote that would merit making a movie about Glass -- ah wait, they did make a movie about Glass.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.