A look at left-handed presidents
I keep noticing that Barack Obama is left-handed. I believe that both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were left-handed too. How many presidents have been left-handed? And is this ratio higher than the national percentage?
President Obama joins these known left-handed U.S. presidents: James Garfield (20th), Harry Truman (33rd), Gerald Ford (38th), Ronald Reagan (40th), George H.W. Bush (41st) and Bill Clinton (42nd).
Several of these lefties are considered ambidextrous. Garfield, for instance, had the impressive ability to write Latin with one hand and, at the same time, Greek with the other. Truman, the first president to toss a baseball out of the presidential box, used both arms when throwing ceremonial pitches. Ford said he wrote with his right hand while standing, and Reagan was frequently photographed using different hands signing documents. Some lefty lists include Herbert Hoover (31st), but his library and museum says he was a right-hander.
Forty-three men have been president of the United States, which means about 16 percent have been lefties. Experts say about 10 percent of the population is left-handed, a ratio that is constant throughout history. Why?
"This is really still mysterious," Dr. Clyde Francks told the New York Times in 2011. Francks, a geneticist and the lead author of a 2007 study in which Oxford University researchers identified a genetic variant linked to left-handedness, said hand dominance is related to brain asymmetry. And that, Francks told the Times, "is not at all understood; we're really at the very beginning of understanding what makes the brain asymmetrical."
Dr. Daniel Geschwind, a professor of human genetics, neurology and psychiatry at the University of California at Los Angeles' School of Medicine, told the Times that, in general, left-handers have less asymmetric brains. "Perhaps a more accurate conceptual way to think about them is as non-right-handers," he said. "Many of them are much more likely to be ambidextrous and have fine motor abilities with their right hands."
Who appointed which justices?
The nine members of the Supreme Court seem to usually issue their opinions based on their political affiliation. Which president appointed each member of the court?
Republican Ronald Reagan nominated Antonin Scalia (1986) and Anthony Kennedy (1988).
Republican George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas (1991).
Democrat Bill Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1993) and Stephen Breyer (1994).
Republican George W. Bush nominated John Roberts (2005), who is chief justice, and Samuel Alito (2006).
Democrat Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor (2009) and Elena Kagan (2010).