Nation: Judge Harry Blackmun: A Craftsman for the Court

MOTHER, if it doesn't come through, it's O.K. I like my work on the appellate court very much." With those words Judge Blackmun sought to reassure his 85-year-old mother about his nomination to the Supreme Court. Mindful that emotional controversy has severely upset the lives of the President's two previous choices, he observes: "I feel like a load of bricks has landed on me." A reserved man who is protective of his privacy, the 61-year-old jurist nevertheless appreciates the appointment: "It's overwhelming and humbling."

Except for an avid interest in major-league baseball and professional...

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