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Champion of Civil Rights: Judge John Minor Wisdom (Southern Biography Series) Hardcover – January, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Southern Biography Series
  • Hardcover: 401 pages
  • Publisher: Louisiana State Univ Pr (January 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807133841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807133842
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,111,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Joel William Friedman is the Jack M. Gordon Professor of Procedural Law and Jurisdiction at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans.

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Format: Hardcover
Anyone interested in either a social history of the racial integration of the south from Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Fifth Circuit or even modern legal history should consider Professor's Friedman excellent biography of Judge John Minor Wisdom of the Fifth Circuit. Judge Wisdom was one of the four Fifth Circuit judges who led the way for desegregation the south through judicial decisions. Arguably, Judge Wisdom was singularly the most important of the Federal judges on this issue. As befitting a book by a first-class legal scholar, Friedman's biography is well-written, detailed, amply footnoted and informative. This book ranks deserves a place on any bookshelf of the history of the Fifth Circuit, along with those major Fifth Circuit histories, such as (1) Jack Bass, Unlikely Heroes, (2) Harvey Couch, A History of the Fifth Circuit 1891-1981, (3) Thomas G. Walker & Deborah Barrow, A Court Divided: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Politics of Judicial Reform, (4) J.W. Peltason, Fifty-Eight Lonely Men: Southern Federal Judges and School Desegregation and others. In addition to a review of the major judicial decisions by Judge Wisdom, Friedman parses the correspondence among the judges on the Fifth Circuit to provide interesting background to the major judicial decisions by Judge Wisdom. Many book reviews find a point or two to criticize, but I do not have any criticisms of this book. Well done.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the days following the Brown v Board of Education ruling, the federal judiciary in the South were under unprecedented pressure to see that the school systems in that large area were desegregated "with all deliberate speed" The southern legislatures, seeking social stability and their own political survival, came up with ingenious facially race-neutral laws to perpetuate the status quo. Lawsuits coming from the Inc. Fund and others challenging those laws, or the general foot-dragging at the local level, worked their way up the appellate line to the two Circuit Courts with jurisdiction. Of the two, the Fifth Circuit came under the heaviest pressure. Judge John Minor Wisdom of the 5th Circuit Court, was one of the famous "Four" who by clever use of the the panel appointment powers were able to muster pro-Brown majorities hearing the cases. It took a great deal of courage in that time to oppose the prevailing social order and Judge Wisdom rose to the occasion despite the personal costs. A long overdue full scale biography of one of America's unsung heros.
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