Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Thurgood Marshall and (and versus) John W. Davis

Ross E.Davies in "Opening Remarks" at the Journal of Law.
"Between the hero-worshipping in the early ’30s and the Goliath-felling in Briggs [v. Elliott], Marshall met and chatted with Davis face-to-face on at least one occasion, and not at the Court. While preparing for the first round of Briggs arguments, he lunched with Davis. Marshall biographer Juan Williams describes the reaction of Marshall’s colleagues at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People:
'[W]hy, some asked, was he going out of his way to sit down and break bread with an old segregationist like Davis?

'"John Davis was the enemy," said [NAACP staffer June] Shagaloff. "He was everything that we were fighting. How could Mr. Marshall go to lunch with him?"' When Shagaloff and some other NAACP staffers confronted him about it, Marshall explained, 'We’re both attorneys, we’re both civil. It’s very important to have a civil relationship with your opponent.' [footnote omitted] Which is not to say that Marshall had any illusions about the man he was dining with, or any respect for Davis’s stance on segregation, or any hesitation about pushing back against Davis and the interests he represented, but, rather, it is to say that Marshall valued and practiced lawyerly civility, even when the stakes were at their highest.' "
Even, or especially.