Abe Fortas

Also found in: Legal, Wikipedia.

Fortas, Abe

(fôr`təs), 1910–82, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1965–69), b. Memphis, Tenn. After receiving his law degree from Yale in 1933, he taught there (1933–37) and also held a variety of government posts. He was (1942–46) undersecretary of the interior before entering private law practice. Among his notable contributions to criminal law were his arguments in the Durham Case (1954), which helped broaden the definition of legal insanity, and in Gideon v. Wainwright (1962), in which the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that states must assure free legal counsel to the poor in every criminal trial. A close friend and adviser to President Lyndon B. Johnson, he was appointed by the president to succeed Arthur GoldbergGoldberg, Arthur,
1908–90, American labor lawyer and jurist, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1962–65), b. Chicago. He received his law degree from Northwestern Univ. in 1929.
..... Click the link for more information.
 on the Supreme Court. There he continued to support the expansion of criminal rights and joined with the other liberal justices in most civil liberties cases. In antimonopoly cases, he often sided with the minority in upholding business. In 1968, President Johnson nominated Fortas as chief justice of the United States; Republicans and Southern Democrats held a Senate filibuster against the nomination, causing President Johnson to withdraw Fortas's nomination. The following year, Fortas resigned from the court after it was revealed that he had, while on the bench, accepted $20,000 from a private foundation; the money was part of a life stipend to Fortas by the foundation. Although he returned the money, Fortas resigned from the court under public pressure, the first justice to do so.


See R. Shogan, A Question of Judgment: The Fortas Case and the Struggle for the Supreme Court (1972).

Fortas, Abe

(1910–82) Supreme Court justice; born in Memphis, Tenn. After teaching at Yale Law School (1933–37), he served in a series of several government agencies (1937–45) before becoming an adviser to the U.S. delegation to the organizational meeting of the United Nations (1945) and to the first session of the General Assembly (1946). He then began to practice law privately in Washington, D.C., combining a corporate practice with cases in defense of civil liberties. For years he had been an unofficial adviser to Lyndon Johnson, who in 1965 appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court and then nominated him for chief justice in 1968; conservatives who opposed him during the Senate confirmation proceedings forced him to withdraw. In 1969 it was revealed that he had been accepting money from a foundation set up by a man convicted of stock manipulation, and Fortas became the first man ever forced to resign from the Supreme Court. He returned to private practice.
References in periodicals archive ?
He's here today because he assisted Abe Fortas on the brief and on the case of Clarence Earl Gideon.
Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, said Republicans had used the same filibuster rules to block other judicial nominees, including the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas to be chief justice and judicial nominations of Judge Richard Paez, Marsha Berzon, Judge Rosemary Barkett and Judge H.
Professor John Hart Ely, professor of constitutional law at University of Miami School of Law, who was law clerk to Abe Fortas, as he prepared to argue in the U.
It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate," said Justice Abe Fortas in 1969.
When Lyndon Johnson tried to elevate his close friend Abe Fortas from Associate Justice to Chief Justice, Republicans and Southern Democrats filibustered to block the move.
Thirty-two years ago, in a famous opinion upholding the rights of students to protest the Vietnam War, United States Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas wrote that young people do not "shed their constitutional rights at the school-house gate.
When Abe Fortas arrived at about 6:20, he stood for a moment in the foyer without taking off his coat, seemingly waiting for the heat from the fire to warm his face.
Krim and Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas, Johnson's long-time lawyer, were widely believed to be private conduits between Israeli officials and Johnson.
Douglas and Abe Fortas and Secretary of State Dean Acheson.
A full range of illustrations including political cartoons, photos of key figures such as Abe Fortas and Archibald Cox, graphs of presidential pardons, and tables showing the number of expulsions and censures in both the House and Senate round out the text.
But other events occur in these months: the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy in June 1968; Chief Justice Earl Warren's intention to resign from the Supreme Court and Johnson's ill-fated nomination of Abe Fortas as his successor; the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968; dissension and rioting at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago; and the presidential campaigns of Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon, and George Wallace.
William Calley, Jimmy Hoffa, Robert Vesco, Abe Fortas, Clement Haynsworth, John Lennon, the Berrigan Brothers, the Black Panthers, and ITT.