George Anastaplo '51 Remembers Justice Black

From the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal:

It has been reported that Justice Black’s first impressions of my Illinois bar admission case were not favorable. Not that he would ever have supported my exclusion from the practice of law (once I had refused to answer questions about political affiliations after I had presumed to endorse the Right of Revolution invoked by the Declaration of Independence), but he was not initially inclined to offer more than his vote in dissent. He had been worn out, it is believed, by repeated futile efforts to counter Cold War passions.

Besides, he is said to have observed (perhaps to one of his law clerks) that “Anastaplo was too stubborn for his own good.” It can be wondered, therefore, what moved him to the extent he eventually was by my circumstances? His colleague, Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., is said to have told him (upon reading his 1961 dissenting opinion in my case), “You have immortalized George Anastaplo.”

Henry Kalven, Jr., who was one of the few members of my University of Chicago Law School faculty to support my position, included this comment on my case in his treatise, A Worthy Tradition: Freedom of Speech in America:

In the end, what is moving about Justice Black’s dissent is its special generosity toward Anastaplo personally. He comes very close to embodying Black’s idea of what a lawyer should be. Black quotes at length and with evident approval Anastaplo’s statements to the committee about the proper role of the bar in American democracy. Black sees him as rejected in reality because he believed too much in the principles of the Declaration of Independence. His final praise is put ironically: “The very most that fairly can be said against Anastaplo’s position in this entire matter is that he took too much of the responsibility of preserving that freedom upon himself.” Thanks to the dissent of Justice Black, the Anastaplo case has in a very real sense a happy ending, although Anastaplo is still not a member of the Illinois bar. He earns the distinctive reward of being enshrined in the pages of the United States Reports in a living opinion by one of the most cherished of justices.

Read the rest of the article here.