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Arthur Goldberg
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U.S. Supreme Court Justice
    (August 8, 1908-January 19, 1990)
    Born in Chicago, Illinois
    Legal counsel for the AFL-CIO (1955-61)
    US Secretary of Labor (1961-62)
    Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1962-65)
    Notable opinions include Escobedo v Illinois (ruling that suspects have a right to legal counsel during police interrogation) and Griswold v Connecticut (establishing a right to privacy)
    US Ambassador to the United Nations (1965-68)
    Received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom (1978)
    He epitomized the notion of a liberal activist judge.
    He regretted leaving the Supreme Court and tried to get Lyndon Johnson to re-appoint him when Earl Warren resigned.
    He thought that as UN ambassador he would be able negotiate an end to the Vietnam War, but admitted 'I had an exaggerated opinion of my capacities. I thought I could persuade Johnson that we were fighting the wrong war in the wrong place [and] to get out.'
    He ran unsuccessfully for governor of New York, losing to Nelson Rockefeller (1970).
    When, as an attorney, he presented oral arguments before the Supreme Court in Flood v Kuhn (1972), an observer called it 'one of the worst arguments I'd ever heard – by one of the smartest men I've ever known.'
    When he was 8, his father died, and to help support the family he worked odd jobs, including fish wrapper, shoe salesman and construction worker.
    He graduated first in his class from law school.
    During World War II, he worked with the OSS (the predecessor of the CIA), organizing anti-Nazi networks wihtin European labor unions.
    LBJ said, 'I've always thought Goldberg was the ablest man in Kennedy's cabinet.'
    When critics said that rulings like Escobedo made the job of the police more difficult, he replied, 'If the exercise of a constitutional right will thwart the effectiveness of a system of law enforcement, then there is something very wrong with that system.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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