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Sep. 29th, 2011 @ 11:27 pm

Wherein my 1L job finally means something Jan. 9th, 2008 @ 11:34 pm
Remember when I spent the summer of 2006 working for Professor Klarman? Turns out it's finally paying off. To the best of my knowledge, Klarman has yet to do anything with the really fascinating stuff I learned about the history of abortion legislation in New York, Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington--the four states that legalized it before Roe--but he is using my two weeks at the Library of Congress. In fact, it's in a course I'm taking this semester, a seminar on the Warren Court. A good chunk of what I pulled will show up, since the Justices' papers play a big role in the class. Anyway, some of you may remember an entry I wrote back then (I think it's like my only public one; similarly, I'm making this one public as well) discussing the lengths to which the Warren Court went to protect itself during the segregation cases. Specifically, I mentioned that Hugo Black didn't set foot in his beloved home state of Alabama between 1955 and 1967 because there were so many death threats against him that his family visited Washington instead.

Well, our first assignment is on Brown I. Included in the reading packet is a good deal of correspondence with the Justices. Below, I reprint two letters to Black and a telegram to Douglas, to give you a feel for what they got in the mail. Keep in mind, of course, that these are the people who sent signed documents. Black's death threats, for example, were anonymous, and were forwarded promptly to the FBI; as such, they aren't in his papers at the Library of Congress.

(Also, if anyone wants the whole 350-page packet for week 1, let me know. There's a lot of interesting stuff inside, including briefs, oral argument transcripts, a lot of newspaper reaction, and the like. It's a 350-page packet, but that works out to maybe 100 pages of actual law school reading.)

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Finality Sep. 15th, 2006 @ 05:53 pm
Mike did a hell of a job, but Bake said it best:

"And finally, goodbye to the future of rock and roll."

But Mike had an excellent point, a point that echoes the Gnostic Gospels: the future of rock and roll is inside you, not in palaces of wood and stone.

The future of rock and roll is dead. Long live the future of rock and roll.
Current Mood: weeping so uncontrollably you'd think you have to call B-Dry
Current Music: Ash - Orpheus

30 in 30 #4 Jun. 6th, 2006 @ 11:57 pm
On Handwriting, Notes from William H. Rehnquist, and Other Stuff in My Magical Boxes

I picked up box #2 today to finish up the last stages of my cite-check from hell. Box #1 was mostly the papers of Justices Jackson, Burton, and Douglas. Box #2 is mostly Douglas again (apparently, he has a copious amount of papers), but there's a lot more Clark in it. Every now and then, I feel like I should bill fewer hours for organizing it because I spend a lot of time just reading stuff for the hell of it when I should be filing it away. My personal favorite today was Justice Clark's handwritten draft dissent in Cooper v. Aaron, the case that officially integrated the Little Rock schools. Apart from its practical effect (with attendant National Guardsmen and the like), the case is best known for its statement that "the federal judiciary is supreme in its exposition of the law of the Constitution," kind of like Marbury v. Madison (which held that "it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary department to say what the law is") on steroids. Justice Tom Clark (father of future US Attorney General and Bush impeachment fan/Saddam defense attorney Ramsey Clark) was a southerner, a Texan who, along with Justices Reed, Jackson, Frankfurter, and Vinson, would have upheld Plessy v. Ferguson the first time Brown I was argued before the Court. (Side note: Clark resigned from the Court when his son became Attorney General under Johnson, in case anyone is wondering whether they could coexist without a conflict of interest.) After some convincing, he went along with the decision for integration, and he joined the unanimous opinon in Brown II (integration shall proceed with "all deliberate speed") as well.

As a bit of background to Cooper, it should be noted that the Supreme Court's term generally begins in the first week of October. When the Little Rock Nine filed their suit, they were seeking admission in time to be in class before school started in September. Chief Justice Earl Warren took the extraordinary step of hearing the case at the end of August, when the Court is usually in recess, and made sure a ruling was out before the school year began. (Cue National Guard and all that.) Justice Clark didn't object so much to the integration of Little Rock Central High as he did to the violation of the procedural rights of the Little Rock schools, believing that they should have until October to get everything prepared. As he put it:
The fact that there are those who by "massive resistance" are attempting to deprive some good citizens of their constitutional rights is no justification for depriving [the Little Rock School Board] of their day in court. Our order [in Brown II] did not conteplate "massive integration" but that it would be accomplished in good faith and in regular course.

I would deny the stay [sought by the Little Rock Nine that would allow them to enter school in September] and dispose of the case on its merits in regular course.

Unanimity was a tremendously important thing to the Warren Court on school segregation issues, and Clark was convinced to go along with the majority opinion by, among others, Justice Frankfurter (who, irony of ironies, released a concurrence several months (!) after the original opinion was released).

Obviously, that Justice Clark wanted to dissent from the beginning here is of some interest, but what interests me more (at least for the purpose of this entry) is that his draft dissent was handwritten. Usually a draft dissent or concurrence (like Jackson's draft concurrence in Brown I) is typewritten, but for the Segregation Cases, such things were rarities. The members of the Court were (perhaps justifiably) paranoid that a copy of a typewritten memo might leak out to the Southern press, with drastic consequences to follow. (Indeed, between 1955 and 1967, when George Wallace left the Governor's mansion the first time, Hugo Black went home to Alabama exactly once because there were so many death threats out for him that his family told him they'd visit Washington instead.) Justice Frankfurter's memos with proposals for how to resolve the cases all have prefaces noting that they've been typed in the strictest security. Jackson's draft concurrence for Brown I is the lone draft opinion from the school cases that was both typewritten and never published. Obviously, all the Justices took handwritten notes when they had conferences after argument; that's our main way of knowing what went on today. (Side note #2: although Justice Burton's handwriting is terrible, he was apparently the Court stenographer, and I think it's fascinating to read his notes and know almost everything that went on during the conferences that decided these cases. When I finally find my camera cable, I'll take a picture.) But for some, knowing their notes were handwritten wasn't enough security. Justice Black, worried about repercussions for his family back in Alabama, burned all of his conference notes after a segregation case was disposed of. He eventually decided to burn all the conference notes he'd ever taken, just in case, and to this day, you have to have permission from his descendants to look at his papers in the Library of Congress. (It's just a formality, but if I were in his shoes, I can see why that step would seem necessary.)

The Jackson concurrence in Brown I is pretty cool too. Justice Jackson, as mentioned above, was a vote for upholding Plessy the first time Brown I was argued. As any judge would do, he asked his law clerks for their thoughts on the topic, and, as I posted last week, a clerk of his by the name of William H. Rehnquist urged that Plessy be upheld. When Rehnquist was under consideration as an Associate Justice (the early 1970s, when Nixon nominated him), the memo supporting segregation became an issue at his confirmation hearing. Rehnquist's response was that those weren't his personal views; he was just saying what Jackson wanted to hear. While unlike bubbaprog, I don't believe that Rehnquist went to the grave thinking that upholding segregation was the right outcome in anything but a legal sense (after all, there's a substantial minority of people today who feel that Brown I was right on policy and wrong on law), upon reading Jackson's draft concurrence, I can't give Rehnquist the benefit of the doubt. Obviously, the makeup of the Court had changed, and Rehnquist was no longer a clerk, but Jackson finally decided that desegregation was the correct way to go, and he spent 23 pages of 8.5x14 paper expounding on why. It's my guess that Rehnquist's pro-Plessy memo was about 50% Jackson and 50% what he thought himself.

Anyway, that's the best stuff I've come across in my boxes of magical Supreme Court papers. There's some other nifty things, too--like handwritten memos from Frankfurter telling everyone else how stupid they are (he was an insufferable asshole, kind of like McReynolds minus the anti-Semitism), but, from a historical standpoint, I think the aforementioned is the most interesting.

Jul. 5th, 2005 @ 01:15 am
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Other entries
» Today's story is from Charlie Searles.
Charlie works for dad. He's a good guy who's been there for 15 years, and he's one of the nicest, most down-to-earth, and damn funniest guys I know. Charlie lives in a doublewide in an unincorporated town called Congo in Perry County. He's what most of America would call a hick, but here in SE Ohio, he's a normal guy.

So, the background: Charlie's older brother, Don, served time in jail for statutory rape. When he was in his late 20s or early 30s (I forget which), he had consensual sex with a 13-year-old who told him she was 20 (she admitted to this fact in court, but statutory rape is just that--statutory). He got 2 years for this. Having paid his debt to society, Don returned to the world, but as a "sex predator" or whatever from then on. Two years ago, he got in a wreck and was charged with DWI. He was convicted of this and placed on 5 years' probation. Just before the wreck, Don married Stephanie, who had a 14-year-old, April, of her own, who lived with her father, Joe. She also had a son, Adam, by Joe. Don and Stephanie have had 2 kids of their own. Joe has hated Don since day one for "stealing" Stephanie from him. April, who doesn't get along too well with her mother Stephanie, tends to do everything Joe says, especially if it will piss off Stephanie and Don. Got it so far? Good, 'coz here's the meaty stuff.

Last week, April called the Morgan County Sheriff's office and said that Don raped her in the first week of June, just after Stephanie had given birth to her and Don's second kid. The police came to arrest Don for four counts of rape (she says he did her twice in the one attack, so he's charged with two separate sexual assaults plus two counts of statutory). Stephanie lets them in the door after they threaten to break it down. They don't realize, of course, that the reason it took them so long to get to the door was that Don was out back chopping up wood and had just broken his ankle because a piece of wood fell on him. Anyway, they search the house and find guns registered in Stephanie's name, so a weapons charge is added to Don's indictment because he's not allowed to be IN THE PRESENCE of guns as a term of his probation--didn't matter that they're Stephanie's. Don is given bail at $750,000 dollars (this guy is a flight risk? He's got a broken ankle!) and put in the Morgan County Jail.

The really good stuff's after the cut...
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