Abe Fortas: A Biography

Laura Kalman, Author Yale University Press $26 (544p) ISBN 978-0-300-04669-4
Fortas (1910-1982), a brilliant, colorful and controversial New Deal-Great Society lawyer, presidential adviser and justice on Warren's liberal Supreme Court, is the complex subject of this masterly biography by Kalman, who teaches history at UC-Santa Barbara. She depicts him as versatile, enterprising and manipulative, whether engaged in Department of the Interior or congressional power struggles, defending public interests in private practice, charming women or playing violin in chamber music groups. Conservative senators, the author contends, used Fortas's close identification with President Johnson and a record of judicial activism to defeat his nomination as Chief Justice, while an alleged conflict of interest forced his resignation. During a final decade of fruitful legal practice, however, he went on to win cases before the Supreme Court, which he had so memorably served. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Paperback - 538 pages - 978-0-300-05258-9
Open Ebook - 529 pages - 978-0-585-35190-2
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