Thurgood Marshall: His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions, and Reminiscences

By Thurgood Marshall; Mark V. Tushnet | Go to book overview

PART I
LEGAL BRIEFS AND
ORAL ARGUMENTS

Insisting that good lawyers had to master the facts of the cases they brought or defended, Charles Hamilton Houston trained Marshall as a trial lawyer. Marshall's own abilities made him a great appellate lawyer. Both in trial courts and before appellate courts, Marshall had a sure instinct for the facts that mattered, and an ability to present his case in the way his audience—sometimes a jury, sometimes one or more judges, and sometimes the African American community—would understand best.

Marshall's work as a trial lawyer is contained in the transcripts of the cases he handled. The most effective trial lawyers do not fit the television image of an attorney cross-examining a hostile witness who ultimately confesses after having been exposed. Rather, these trial lawyers patiently compile a factual record to support their motions asking a judge to find in favor of their clients. Marshall frequently told of learning how to be a trial lawyer by riding in the backseat of Houston's car, balancing a typewriter on his knees while pounding out a motion to exclude evidence. Later, Marshall learned how to coordinate the presentation of facts from expert witnesses, an ability he used to great effect in the school desegregation lawsuits.

When Marshall headed the Legal Defense Fund, he was more a coordinator of other lawyers' work than an initial drafter of legal documents like briefs. By the late 1940s, the Legal Defense Fund's legal briefs were highly collaborative works, incorporating ideas from many members of the Fund staff and its outside advisers.

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Thurgood Marshall: His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions, and Reminiscences
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Thurgood Marshall - His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions, and Reminiscences *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction xviii
  • Part I Legal Briefs and Oral Arguments 1
  • Part II Writings and Speeches as a Lawyer 67
  • Part III Writings as a Judge 171
  • Part IV Judicial Opinions 303
  • Part V Reminiscences 411
  • Selected Bibliography 515
  • Appendix: Annotated List of Important Decisions 517
  • Permissions Acknowledgments 536
  • Index 539
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