Boudin, Leonard B.
Boudin, Leonard B. (Boudinov)(1912–89) lawyer, civil rights activist; born in New York City (brother-in-law of I. F. Stone). After taking his law degree from St. John's Law School (1936), he joined the law firm of his uncle, Louis (Boudinov) Boudin (1874–1952), a noted Socialist and constitutional lawyer. Specializing at first in labor law, Leonard formed a law firm of his own in the late 1940s, and then became increasingly involved in civil rights cases. He founded (1952) and was general counsel (1952–89) for the National Emergency Civil Liberties Commission. He argued more civil liberties cases before the U.S. Supreme Court than any other constitutional lawyer and won the landmark passport case, Kent v. Dulles (1958), establishing the right of all U.S. citizens to have a passport. Among his more celebrated clients were Daniel Ellsberg (the Pentagon Papers case), Julian Bond (denied a seat in the Georgia legislature), Dr. Spock (charged with conspiracy during the Vietnam War), and Jimmy Hoffa (banned from union activities). He also represented Cuba's interest in the U.S.A. during the Castro years, and the Central Bank of Iran during the Iran hostage crisis. He was a visiting lecturer at several major law schools. His son, Michael Boudin, became a U.S. Federal district judge, while his daughter, Kathy (Katherine) Boudin, was a member of the radical Weather Underground and was implicated in the 1970 explosion in a Greenwich Village, New York City, town house that killed three; she vanished but was captured after participating in a 1981 robbery of an armored car in which two police officers were killed; she pleaded guilty and served almost 20 years in prison.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.