October 4, 1965 – May 14, 1969
|Nominated by||Lyndon Johnson|
|Preceded by||Arthur Goldberg|
|Succeeded by||Harry Blackmun|
|Born||June 19, 1910|
|Died||April 5, 1982 (aged 71)|
Abraham Fortas (June 19, 1910–April 5, 1982) was a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice. Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are the members of the Supreme Court of the United States other than the Chief Justice of the United States Events 610 - Heraclius arrives by ship from Africa at Constantinople, overthrows Byzantine Emperor Phocas Year 1965 ( MCMLXV) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. Events 1264 - Battle of Lewes: Henry III of England is captured in France making Simon de Montfort the Year 1969 ( MCMLXIX) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Arthur Joseph Goldberg ( August 8 1908 &ndash January 19 1990) was an American statesman and jurist who served as the U Harry Andrew Blackmun ( November 12, 1908 &ndash March 4, 1999) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Events 1179 - The Norwegian Battle of Kalvskinnet outside Nidaros. Year 1910 ( MCMX) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year starting Memphis is a City in the southwest corner of Tennessee, and the County seat of Shelby County. Tennessee ( is a state located in the Southern United States. Events 456 - St Patrick returns to Ireland as a missionary bishop Year 1982 ( MCMLXXXII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar) Washington DC ( formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D Events 1179 - The Norwegian Battle of Kalvskinnet outside Nidaros. Year 1910 ( MCMX) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year starting Events 456 - St Patrick returns to Ireland as a missionary bishop Year 1982 ( MCMLXXXII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar) The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the federal judiciary. Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are the members of the Supreme Court of the United States other than the Chief Justice of the United States He served in that role from October 4, 1965 until May 14, 1969, when he resigned under pressure. Events 610 - Heraclius arrives by ship from Africa at Constantinople, overthrows Byzantine Emperor Phocas Year 1965 ( MCMLXV) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. Events 1264 - Battle of Lewes: Henry III of England is captured in France making Simon de Montfort the Year 1969 ( MCMLXIX) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar.
Fortas was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis is a City in the southwest corner of Tennessee, and the County seat of Shelby County. Tennessee ( is a state located in the Southern United States. He was the youngest of five children. His father, a native of England, was an Orthodox Jew who worked as a cabinetmaker. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland Orthodox Judaism is the formulation of Judaism that adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonized Abe Fortas acquired a life-long love for music from his father, who encouraged his playing the violin, and was known in Memphis as "Fiddlin' Abe Fortas". The violin is a bowed String instrument with four strings usually tuned in Perfect fifths It is the smallest and highest-pitched member He attended public schools in Memphis, graduating from South Side High School in 1926. Southside High School or South Side High School can refer to Southside High School (Gadsden Alabama Southside High School (Selma He then attended Southwestern at Memphis (now known as Rhodes College), graduating in 1930. Rhodes College is a four-year private perennial top tier liberal arts college located in Memphis, Tennessee.
Fortas left Memphis to enroll in Yale Law School. Yale Law School, or YLS, is the Law school of Yale University in New Haven Connecticut. He graduated second in his class in 1933 (second only to another Memphian, Luke Finlay) and was Editor in Chief of the Yale Law Journal. The Yale Law Journal is a student-run journal of legal scholarship affiliated to the Yale Law School. One of his professors, William O. Douglas, was impressed with Fortas and arranged for him to stay at Yale and become an assistant professor. William Orville Douglas ( October 16, 1898 – January 19, 1980) was a United States Supreme Court Associate Justice.
Shortly thereafter, Douglas left Yale to run the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington, DC. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (commonly known as the SEC) is an independent agency of the United States government which holds primary responsibility Washington DC ( formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D Fortas commuted between New Haven and Washington both teaching at Yale and advising the SEC. In 1935, Fortas married Carolyn E. Agger, who would become a successful tax lawyer. (They had no children. )
He served as general counsel of the Public Works Administration and as Undersecretary of the Interior during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. The Public Works Administration (PWA, a New Deal government agency headed by Harold Ickes, was created by the National Industrial Recovery Act in June While he was working at the Department of the Interior, the Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes, introduced him to a young congressman from Texas, Lyndon Johnson. The United States Department of the Interior ( DOI) is a Cabinet department of the United States government that manages and conserves most federally The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior. Harold LeClair Ickes ( March 15, 1874 &ndash February 3, 1952) was a United States administrator and Politician Texas ( is a state geographically located in the South Central United States and is also known as the Lone Star State. In 1945, Fortas was granted a leave of absence from the Department of Interior to join the armed forces. However, according to his official biography, within a month, Fortas was discharged because of an arrested case of eye tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (abbreviated as TB for tubercle bacillus or T u' b' erculosis Bacillus --> is a common Later in 1945, he was appointed by President Harry Truman as an advisor to the U. S. delegation during the organizational meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco and at the 1946 General Assembly meeting in London. The United Nations ( UN) is an International organization whose stated aims are to facilitate cooperation in International law, International security The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. 
After leaving government service, Fortas started the firm Arnold, Fortas & Porter. Arnold & Porter LLP, founded in 1946 is an international law firm based in Washington D It became one of Washington's most influential law firms.
In 1948, Lyndon Johnson ran for the Democratic nomination for one of Texas' seats in the US Senate. The United States Senate is the Upper house of the bicameral United States Congress, the Lower house being the House of Representatives He won the primary by only 87 votes. A primary election ( nominating primary) also referred to simply as a primary, is an election in which voters in a Jurisdiction select candidates His opponent convinced a federal judge to issue an order taking Johnson's name off of the general election ballot while the primary results were being contested; there were serious allegations of corruption in the voting process, including 200 Johnson votes that had been cast in alphabetical order. Johnson asked Fortas for help, and Fortas persuaded U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black to overturn the ruling. The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the federal judiciary. Hugo LaFayette Black (February 27 1886&ndashSeptember 25 1971 was an American politician and jurist. Johnson became a U.S. senator, winning the general election. The United States Senate is the Upper house of the bicameral United States Congress, the Lower house being the House of Representatives
During the Red Scare of the late 1940s and early 1950s, Fortas came to widespread notice as the defense attorney for Owen Lattimore. Red Menace redirects here For the 2007 Wildstorm Productions comic book series see Red Menace (comics. Owen Lattimore ( July 29, 1900 &ndash May 31, 1989) was a distinguished U In 1950, Fortas often clashed with Senator Joseph McCarthy when representing Lattimore before the Tydings Committee and later before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. Joseph Raymond McCarthy (November 14 1908 – May 2 1957 was an American politician who served as a Republican U The Subcommittee on the Investigation of Loyalty of State Department Employees, more commonly referred to as the Tydings Committee, was a subcommittee authorized by in February The Special Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws, 1951-77 more commonly known as the Senate Internal Security
Fortas was known in Washington circles to have a serious interest in psychiatry, still a controversial science at the time. Psychiatry is a medical specialty which exists to study, prevent, and treat Mental disorders in Humans Psychiatric In 1953 this expertise led to his appointment to represent the indigent Monte W. Durham, whose insanity defense had been rejected at trial two years earlier, before the Court of Appeals. In Criminal trials the insanity defenses are possible defenses by Excuse, an Affirmative defense by which Defendants argue that Durham’s defense had been denied because the District Court had applied the M’Naghten Rules, requiring that the defense prove the accused didn’t know the difference between right and wrong for an insanity plea to be accepted. The M'Naghten Rules (pronounced and sometimes spelled McNaughton) were the first serious attempt to Codify and rationalise the attitude of the criminal law towards Adopted by the British House of Lords in 1843, generations before modern psychiatry, this test was still in near universal use in U. The House of Lords is the second house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is also commonly referred to as "the Lords" S. jurisprudence over a century later. The effect of this standard was to exclude psychiatric and psychological testimony almost entirely from the legal process. In a critical turning point for U. S. criminal law, the Court of Appeals accepted Fortas’ call to abandon the M’Naghten Rule and allow for testimony and evidence regarding defendants’ mental state.
In 1962, Fortas was asked to represent Clarence Earl Gideon's appeal before the Supreme Court. The Durham Rule or "product test" was adopted by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1954, in the case of Durham Clarence Earl Gideon ( August 30, 1910 – January 18, 1972) was a poor drifter accused in a Florida state court of felony theft who Gideon, a poor man from Florida, had been convicted of breaking into a pool hall. Florida ( is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States, bordering Alabama to the northwest and Georgia to the He could not afford a lawyer, and none was provided for him. Fortas and a team of attorneys from his firm spent months preparing the appellate brief, and won a unanimous decision from the Supreme Court for Gideon.
In 1965, Lyndon Johnson, then President, persuaded Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg to resign his seat to become Ambassador to the United Nations. Arthur Joseph Goldberg ( August 8 1908 &ndash January 19 1990) was an American statesman and jurist who served as the U The United States Ambassador to the United Nations (full title Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, with the rank and status He then appointed Abe Fortas, a longtime friend, to the court. On the Court, Fortas was generally a reliable liberal vote, and was particularly concerned with children's rights. Children's rights are the Human rights of Children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to the young including their Fortas dissented when the Court upheld some public intoxication laws, for example 1968's Powell v. Texas. Powell v Texas, 392 US 514 (1968 was a United States Supreme Court case which ruled that a Texas statute criminalizing Public intoxication In 1968, Fortas authored a book titled, Concerning Dissent and Civil Disobedience.
During his time on the Court, Fortas led a revolution in the U. S. juvenile justice, broadly extending the Court’s logic on due process rights and procedure to legal minors and overturning the existing paradigm of parens patriae. A juvenile court or young offender court is a court of law having special authority to try and pass judgments for Crimes committed by children or adolescents Parens patriae is Latin for "father of the people" In Law, it refers to the public policy power of the state to usurp Authoring the majority decision in Kent v. United States (1966), the first Supreme Court case that evaluated a juvenile court procedure, Fortas suggested that the existing system might be the “the worst of both worlds. ” At that time, the state was held to have a paternal interest in the child rather than a prosecutorial one, a concept that dispensed with the obligation to provide a child accused of a crime with the opportunity to make a defense. Yet the courts were empowered to decide, in the interests of the child, to have the child incarcerated for lengthy periods or otherwise severely punished.
Fortas elaborated on his critique the following year in the case of In re Gault (1967). In re Gault, 387 US 1 ( 1967) was a landmark US Supreme Court decision which established that under the Fourteenth Amendment The case concerned a fifteen year old who had been sentenced to six years (until his majority) in Arizona's State Industrial School for making an obscene phone call to his neighbor. Had he been an adult the maximum punishment he could have received was a $50 fine or two months in jail. Fortas used the case to launch a ferocious attack on the juvenile justice system and parens patriae. Parens patriae is Latin for "father of the people" In Law, it refers to the public policy power of the state to usurp His majority opinion was a landmark, extending the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of right to sufficient notice, right to counsel, right to confrontation of witnesses, and right against self-incrimination to certain juvenile proceedings.
Two years later, Fortas authored another landmark in children’s rights with the decision in Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969), a case involving 2 high school students and 1 junior high school student who had been suspended for wearing black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War. Children's rights are the Human rights of Children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to the young including their Tinker v Des Moines Independent Community School District, was a United States Supreme Court case that resulted in a decision defining the constitutional The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, or the Vietnam Conflict, occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia Extending First Amendment rights to school students for the first time, Fortas wrote that “neither students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate”
In 1968, Fortas convinced the court to accept the appeal of Little Rock High School teacher Sue Epperson who had challenged Arkansas’ anti-evolution law with the support of the state teachers union. eVolution is the third Album by eLDee, it was due to be released in 2008 Epperson had won the case, but the Arkansas Supreme Court had overturned the ruling. Although the Court agreed quickly after hearing the case that the Arkansas ruling should be reversed, there was no consensus as to why, with most Justices favoring fairly narrow grounds. Fortas was the architect and author of the broader landmark majority opinion that eventually emerged banning religiously based creation narratives from public school science curriculums. Epperson v Arkansas, 393 US 97 ( 1968) was a United States Supreme Court case that invalidated an Arkansas statute that prohibited
When Chief Justice Earl Warren announced his retirement in June 1968, Johnson nominated Associate Justice Fortas to replace Warren as Chief Justice. Earl Warren ( March 19, 1891 July 9, 1974) was the 14th Chief Justice of the United States and the only person ever elected thrice The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the judicial branch of the government of the United States, and presides over the U However, the Warren Court's constitutional jurisprudence had angered many conservative members of the United States Senate, and the nomination of Fortas provided the first opportunity for these senators to register their disenchantment with the direction of the Court. The United States Senate is the Upper house of the bicameral United States Congress, the Lower house being the House of Representatives Fortas was the first Chief Justice nominee ever to appear before the Senate, and he faced hostile questioning about his relationship with Lyndon Johnson. Johnson had consulted with Fortas about political matters frequently while Fortas was on the Court.
Also controversial was Fortas's acceptance of $15,000 for speaking engagements at the American University law school. For other universities known as American University see American University (disambiguation. While not illegal, the size of the fee raised much concern about the Court's insulation from private interests, especially as it was funded by Fortas's former clients and partners. Upon learning of this problem, President Johnson decided to help Fortas win a majority vote, but only as a face-saving measure, according to Johnson aide Joseph Califano:
|“||"We won't withdraw the nomination. Joseph Anthony Califano Jr (born May 15, 1931) is As of 2005 the Chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia I won't do that to Abe. " Though we couldn't get the two-thirds vote needed to shut off debate, Johnson said we could get a majority, and that would be a majority for Fortas. "With a majority on the floor for Abe, he'll be able to stay on the Court with his head up. We have to do that for him. " Fortas also wanted the majority vote. . . . On October 1, after a strenuous White House effort, a 45-43 majority of senators voted to end the filibuster, short of the 59 votes needed for cloture, but just barely the majority LBJ wanted to give Fortas. In Parliamentary procedure, cloture (ˈkloʊtʃɝ KLO-cher (also called closure, and sometimes a guillotine) is a motion or process aimed at Later that day, Fortas asked the President to withdraw his nomination. ||”|
The debate on Fortas's nomination had lasted for less than a week, led by Republicans and conservative southern Democrats, or so-called "Dixiecrats". The States' Rights Democratic Party (commonly known as the Dixiecrats) was a segregationist, socially conservative Political party Several senators who opposed Fortas asserted at the time that they were not conducting a perpetual filibuster, and were not trying to prevent a final up-or-down vote from occurring. 
In 1968, Senate rules required two-thirds of senators present to stop a debate (nowadays 60% of the full Senate is needed). The 45 to 43 cloture vote to end the Fortas debate included 10 Republicans and 35 Democrats voting for cloture, and 24 Republicans and 19 Democrats voting against cloture. The 12 other senators, all Democrats, were not present.
The New York Times wrote of the 45 to 43 cloture roll call: "Because of the unusual crosscurrents underlying today's vote, it was difficult to determine whether the pro-Fortas supporters would have been able to muster the same majority in a direct confirmation vote. " The next president, Richard Nixon, a Republican, would appoint Warren E. Burger as Chief Justice. Warren Earl Burger ( September 17 1907 – June 25 1995) was Chief Justice of the United States from 1969 to 1986
Fortas remained on the bench, but in 1969, a new scandal arose. Fortas had accepted a secret $20,000 retainer from the family foundation of Wall Street financier Louis Wolfson, a friend and former client, in January 1966. Louis Elwood Wolfson ( January 28 1912 - December 30, 2007) was a Wall Street Financier and a major Thoroughbred horse Fortas signed a contract with Wolfson's foundation; in return for unspecified advice it was to pay Fortas $20,000 a year for the rest of Fortas's life (and then pay his widow for the rest of her life). Wolfson was under investigation for securities violations at the time and expected that his arrangement with Fortas would help him stave off criminal charges or help him secure a presidential pardon; Fortas denied that he ever helped Wolfson. Wolfson was convicted of violating federal securities laws later that year and spent time in prison, and Fortas returned the retainer.
When Chief Justice Earl Warren was informed of the incident by the new Attorney General John N. Mitchell, he persuaded Fortas to resign to protect the reputation of the Court and avoid lengthy impeachment proceedings, which were in their preliminary stages. Earl Warren ( March 19, 1891 July 9, 1974) was the 14th Chief Justice of the United States and the only person ever elected thrice John Newton Mitchell (September 1913 &ndash November 9, 1988) was the first United States Attorney General ever to be convicted of illegal activities and President Nixon eventually appointed as his replacement Harry A. Blackmun, after two previous nominations failed. Harry Andrew Blackmun ( November 12, 1908 &ndash March 4, 1999) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Rebuffed in the wake of his fall by the powerful Washington law firm he had founded, Fortas founded another, Fortas and Koven, and maintained a successful law practice until his death in 1982.
|Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States|
October 4, 1965–May 14, 1969