One Civil Libertarian Among Many: The Case of Mr. Justice Goldberg

It is common knowledge that in recent times the constitutional issues of greatest magnitude and of greatest public interest lie in the area of civil liberties. These cases almost always call for the delicate balancing of the rights of the individual, allegedly protected by a specific clause in the Constitution, and the duties that state or federal authority can exact from citizens in order that society may maintain a minimum standard of peace and security. It follows, therefore, that it is these often dramatic decisions which will largely color the images we have of participating Justices. Assume a free speech controversy. Stanley Reed’s image? He typically voted against a first amendment claim. Sherman Minton? The probabilities are similar. Earl Warren? The opposite. William 0. Douglas? He generally supports such claims. Law School classes as well as graduate seminars in political science are forever talking about the “Black faction” and the “Frankfurter bloc.” Comparing and contrasting the two has become a fairly common exercise.