Landmark Cases Left Out of Your Textbooks
by Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute

Table of Contents

please check 9/06 newsletter for ordering information


What This Book Includes

This is a short book for law students and legal workers on very important cases in basic fields of law: criminal, immigration, labor, constitutional, international, environmental, military, poverty, administrative, and legal ethics. It is based on interviews with the lawyers and clients whenever possible.

The roles of successful lawyers and legal workers in the future will not be the same as the roles of successful lawyers before the Bush-Cheney “war on terrorism.” The winners will be the ones who know what lawyers did in the repressive 1880s, the 1920s, the Cold War 1940-60s, before Brown v. Board of Education, and after the Yippies and the Black Panthers.

Lawyers (and clients) sometimes got on page one to build the climate for the coming jury selection. Sometimes they won by not filing a case that would go before a prejudiced judge and jury. They found new venues: a hearing or a bill in Congress, a petition for a Governor's pardon, conciliation after stalled litigation, complaints to the Office of Inspector General. Katrina victims just made a report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Many of these cases were won after jury trials, so there is no written opinion to include in traditional casebooks. But there are records of what the lawyers and clients did and said published in books, and often on the web. They are cited here for further research.

Today's students can get ideas from people not in today's history books: Los Siete de la Raza, Fannie Lou Hamer of MFDP, Harry Bridges of the CIC, and Pete Seeger of the Weavers. Harriet Bouslog Sawyer saved her bar card in Hawai'i with bravado.

Practitioners often feel that "It may be rough, but we might actually WIN this damn case in the next ten years." Today's students can get that hopeful feeling by reading what people did in similar impossible cases. And a few of the defendants who proclaimed their innocence from the electric chair or Death Row have descendants and organizations and lawyers who are keeping the issues alive.

The victories, and defeats, in these cases changed forever the lives of the parties, and often of their communities, and sometimes changed the wording of a regulation or a statute.

It is, of course, impossible to include every significant victory in a short book. The cases selected involve the kinds of clients and issues and opponents future lawyers and legal workers will face. Each seemed to set a precedent for future actions by the parties that helped shape later law practice and law enforcement.

The cases are as representative of regions and issues as is possible in a small book. Corrections of errors and omissions, (and reports of other cases to put in a possible volume 2) are welcomed.

Table of Contents

Convincing a Governor To Pardon the Haymarket Martyrs
A Radical Gets Acquitted, A Snitch Gets Life: Idaho v. Bill Haywood
Justice for Black Family in White Neighborhood: Michigan v. Sweet
Young Black Activist and Lawyers Make History: Herndon v. Lawrie
Electing a Governor To Pardon Mooney and Billings
You Can't Send Me Back to Australia: Harry Bridges v. Wixon
LaFollette Civil Liberties Committee v. Republic Steel
Stanley Nowak and William Schneiderman Keep Their Citizenship
Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: US, UK, FR, USSR v. Goering, et al.
Cold War Laws after World War Two: Smith, McCarran Acts, SACB
Conservative Judge Enjoins U.S.: Eisler v. U.S.
Their Heritage Lives On: U.S. v. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
Challenging Executive Order: Nat’l. Lawyers Guild v. Atty. General
The "Chilling Effect": Dombrowski v. Pfister
Rebels Without a Pause: Kentucky v. Carl and Anne Braden
Turning Point in the Cold War at Home: Yates v. U.S.
Fighter in Spain Wins in U.S. Court: U.S. v. Archie Brown
Taking the Offensive: Proctor v. Subversive Activities Control Bd.
"Salt of the Earth”: Jencks v. U.S.
Folksinger Takes the First: U.S. v. Pete Seeger
Theatrics, Brabado, & Free Speech: In re Harriet Bouslog Sawyer
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Wins by Losing
Hunting Black Panther Jurors: California v. Huey P. Newton
White Panthers Defeat Wiretaps: U.S. v. U.S. District Court
"10,000 People Walking Nude on Lake Michigan": Dellinger v. U.S.
War on Poverty Lawyers Win Pre-Trial Hearings: Goldberg v. Kelly
"Don't Ever Give Up": U.S. v. Leonard Peltier
Black Communist Woman Scholar Wins: California v. Angela Davis
Years Alive on Death Row: Pennsylvania v. Mumia Abu Jamal
The U.S. Loses One in the World Court: Nicaragua v. U.S.
Dolores Huerta [and U.F.W.] v. City and County of San Francisco
From Army Reserves Medical Corps to C.O.: Aimee Allison
"Tom" v. "Rex": From Court to Mediation
Saving the Trees Is Expensive: Judi Bari v. the Oakland Police
The World Court Rules: Nuclear Weapons Are Illegal
Inspector General Report Leads to 9/11 Victim Suits
1,800 False Arrestees at 2004 Republican Convention
From Los Siete de La Raza to Community Law Collective
Citizen Action Halts Weapons Test: Winnemucca Indian Colony
"Treaties … Supreme Law of Land": Kim Ho Ma v. Ashcroft
Palestinians Face Deportation for 20 Years: Barakat v. Arellano
Katrina Victims Shame U.S. at UN Human Rights Committee
Table of Cases