April 2004 Issue
A quarter century ago, while attending a 25th anniversary celebration of Brown v. Board of Education, Constance Baker Motley was met at an Alabama airport by a college student who was assigned to pick her up and take her to the event.
Now a senior U.S. district judge in New York City, Motley had been a young lawyer on the staff of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., the group that litigated Brown.
When the student asked Motley about the conference, she replied, “We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Brown.”
The student responded, “Who’s that?”
Fresh out of Northwestern Law School in the summer of 1953, Earl E. Pollock was awarded a clerkship in the chambers of the chief justice of the United States, Fred M. Vinson. It would not last long.
Christine Coppedge remembers the fall night in 1966. Five cars bearing Confederate battle flags headed up the long narrow driveway toward her family’s home.
If the U.S. Supreme Court justices who issued Brown and Brown II were to survey the last half century, what would they see?
Webster’s dictionary hardly contained enough superlatives for Justice Department officials in May 1999 when they announced guilty pleas by the leaders of an international cartel that for nearly a decade had raked in billions of dollars by globally fixing the prices of vitamins. “The vitamin cartel is the most pervasive and harmful criminal antitrust conspiracy ever uncovered,” declared then-Antitrust Division chief Joel I. Klein. “The criminal conduct of these companies hurt the pocketbook of virtually every American consumer—anyone who took a vitamin, drank a glass of milk or had a bowl of cereal.”