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Citizen Rauh

An American Liberal's Life in Law and Politics

Michael E. Parrish

Publication Year: 2010

Citizen Rauh tells the story of American lawyer Joseph L. Rauh Jr., who kept alive the ideals of New Deal liberalism and broadened those ideals to include a commitment to civil rights. Rauh's clients included Arthur Miller, Lillian Hellman, A. Philip Randolph, and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. With good reason Freedom Rider John Lewis once called him "the blackest white man I ever knew." No lawyer in the post-1945 era did more to protect the economic interests of working-class Americans than Rauh, who fought for the unions as they struggled for legitimacy and against them when they betrayed their own members. No lawyer stood more courageously against repressive anticommunism during the 1950s or advanced the cause of racial justice more vigorously in the 1960s and 1970s. No lawyer did more to defend the constitutional vision of the Warren Court and resist the efforts of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to undo its legacy. Throughout his life, Rauh continued to articulate a progressive vision of law and politics, ever confident that his brand of liberalism would become vital once again when the cycle of American politics took another turn. "The causes to which Rauh committed his life retain their moral force today. This well-crafted, often powerful, biographical study will appeal to anyone with a serious interest in postwar liberalism." ---Daniel Scroop, University of Sheffield Michael E. Parrish is Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 1-7

At the traditional Capitol Hill luncheon following his swearing in on January 20, 2009, President Barack Obama was approached by eleven-term Georgia congressman John Lewis...

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1. The Education of Joe Rauh: Race

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pp. 8-17

Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal may have been, as Peter Irons once wrote, “a lawyer’s deal,” but it was also “an outsider’s deal” that extended recognition and power to many Americans...

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2. The Education of Joe Rauh: Law and Politics

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pp. 18-27

As patriarch of the Rauh household, Joseph Sr. voted the straight Republican Party ticket in national, state, and local elections. He marched for William McKinley against William Jennings...

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3. New Dealer

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pp. 28-42

George Peek, the crusty first chief of the New Deal’s Agricultural Adjustment Administration, called them “a plague of young lawyers . . . young men with their hair ablaze,” who descended...

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4. “Young Whippersnapper”

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pp. 43-56

Cardozo’s slow, painful death in 1937–38 mirrored the fate of the New Deal and Roosevelt’s wounded presidency. Except for a few procedural reforms, the Senate killed FDR’s judicial...

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5. Joe, Prich, and Phil

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pp. 57-66

Joe Rauh, twenty-nine in 1940, married with a young son, was the old man of the trio. Edward Prichard Jr., five years younger, tipped the scales at a hefty 250 pounds. A native of Kentucky...

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6. New Dealer at War

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pp. 67-77

On Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941, Joe Rauh and Phil Graham stood on the corner of Virginia Avenue and Twenty-second Street waiting for a traffic light to change...

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7. Liberal Anticommunist

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pp. 78-89

Lt. Colonel Joe Rauh came home from the Pacific War with a chest full of medals, but without a clear plan for his future. His uncertainty mirrored America’s transition from war to peace...

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8. Sympathetic Associations

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pp. 90-106

James Kutcher lost both legs at San Pietro, Italy, fighting for his country. After the war, he earned $42 a week as a clerk in the Newark of‹ce of the Veterans Administration...

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9. Naming Names

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pp. 107-120

Lillian Hellman refused to talk about other people’s politics or activities. But the thought of going to jail terri‹ed her. Dashiell Hammett, her longtime companion and lover, had barely...

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10. Reuther and Randolph

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pp. 121-132

Walter Reuther’s enemies branded him “the most dangerous man in Detroit” and “a more dangerous menace than Sputnik or anything Soviet Russia might do to America...

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11. HHH, JFK, and LBJ

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pp. 133-146

Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, each an heir to the political house FDR built, played critical roles in Rauh’s efforts to redefine the shape...

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12. A Liberal in Camelot

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pp. 147-158

In the summer of Kennedy’s nomination, William Grif‹n and four friends walked boldly onto the grounds of the Glen Echo Amusement Park in Montgomery County, Maryland...


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13. Freedom’s Party

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pp. 159-174

Like two wary boxers, they had circled each other for years, often landing sharp verbal blows. Lyndon Johnson regarded Joe Rauh as a shrill, dogmatic critic of everything...

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14. Vietnam and the Liberal Crisis

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pp. 175-184

Rauh knew Lyndon Johnson would win and win big, but he also feared that his victory might prove to be a curse, not a blessing. On the eve of the Democrats’ greatest electoral sweep...

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15. 1968

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pp. 185-194

They were an odd couple in American politics, despite shared revulsion against the Vietnam War, distrust of Lyndon Johnson, and a desire to channel the growing antiwar fury...

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16. Jock and the Miners

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pp. 195-210

Shortly before his Salt Lake City speech on Vietnam in September 1968, Vice President Humphrey appeared at the forty-fifth annual convention of the United Mine Workers...

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17. Union Democracy

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pp. 211-223

In twenty years of practice he had become accustomed to phone calls from strangers and unannounced visitors to his office, most of whom brought him tales of legal woe...

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18. Cardozo’s Seat

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pp. 224-238

William Cushing, nominated by George Washington, first held the seat in 1789. Joseph Story occupied it on John Marshall’s Court. Benjamin Curtis, who dissented...

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19. Saving the Court

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pp. 239-252

Judge Robert Bork probably saved Joe Rauh’s life. President Reagan’s nomination of the former Yale law professor to the Supreme Court in the summer of 1987 rekindled Rauh’s spirit...

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20. The Liberal in Conservative Times

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pp. 253-266

Rauh had been there before. He had been a liberal in other conservative times. McCarthy once terrorized the Senate. Fred Vinson had led the Supreme Court. Southern racists...

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21. Closing Argument

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pp. 267-278

By 1992 he could not display them all—the plaques, the parchment scrolls, the medallions—tributes to the man some called “the personal embodiment of American liberalism,” or “the liberals...


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pp. 279-310

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 311-316


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pp. 317-329

E-ISBN-13: 9780472024155
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472034796

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2010