Monday, March 25, 2013

Anthony Lewis, Who Transformed Coverage of the Supreme Court, Dies at 85 -

Fifty years ago the United States Supreme Court announced in Gideon v. Wainwright that the Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel is so essential to a fair trial that government must provide a lawyer to a defendant who cannot afford one.

No one did more to celebrate the importance of the decision than did Times Supreme Court reporter and columnist Anthony Lewis, who died yesterday.  The tribute below by Harvard professor Paul Freund is as fine a eulogy as any.  He leaves his wife Margaret Marshall, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.  A native of South Africa, she saw early (much earlier than did I) the continuity between the fight against racial discrimination and that for marriage equality.  Her 2003 opinion for the court in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health was the first to recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry. - GWC
Anthony Lewis, Who Transformed Coverage of the Supreme Court, Dies at 85 -
Mr. Lewis wrote “Gideon’s Trumpet” in large part during a four-month newspaper strike. The book told the story of Clarence Earl Gideon, a Florida drifter accused of breaking into a poolroom who was tried and convicted without a lawyer, and it sought to place the decision his case gave rise to in a larger context.
Mr. Lewis wrote: “Just as the Gideon case was part of the movement of the law on the right to counsel, and that in turn was but one aspect of the fundamental change taking place in the constitutional doctrine of fair criminal procedure, so the criminal law trend was part of a larger picture.  In many other areas the Supreme Court in the last generation has enlarged the dimensions of individual liberty.”
Paul Freund, a law professor at Harvard, reviewed the book for The Times. “The surpassing merit of Anthony Lewis’s book, sensitive but unsentimental, scholarly but not pedantic, is that we are made to see the general in the particular, to feel that, in the redemption of a forlorn outcast, the legal process is redeeming itself,” Professor Freund wrote.

'via Blog this'

1 comment:

  1. He was perhaps my favorite journalist. I always looked for his commentaries. In June 1978 he wrote a wonderful rememberance of Robert F Kennedy. I sent him a thank you letter and related one of my favorite moments with RFK. It captured the quality Lewis had spoken of. A few weeks later, I got a note from Tony Lewis that began "Yours was an incredible letter..." He went on to thank ME for my rememberance of Senator Kennedy! That was the ultimate praise. Nancy