1939 January 20

Felix Frankfurter Joins Supreme Court


Felix Frankfurter joined the Supreme Court on this day. Because he was a founding member of the ACLU, many expected a fight over his nomination. He was confirmed, however, without any trouble. On the Court, Frankfurter disappointed civil libertarians on many crucial cases, and by the end of his career became the leading advocate of judicial restraint, in opposition to the civil libertarian thrust of the Warren Court.

He retired in 1962 and was replaced by the far more pro-civil libertarian Arthur Goldberg on September 28, 1962. The shift from Frankfurter to Goldberg moved the Supreme Court toward even stronger support for civil liberties.

Read: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/rights/robes_frankfurter.html

Watch a Discussion of Justice Frankfurter by his law clerk (the first African-American Supreme Court law clerk): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K8cM3pYPp8

Read: Liva Baker, Felix Frankfurter (1969)

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