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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 7, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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>> visit with to see this another summer reading lists. .. his marvelous biography of tip o'neill. he got underneath the tip caught too and is underneath clarence
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darrow. amex m+r author for what bnp is about, what politics and prose is about. we are really happy to have you here. i wanted to do this introduction very much because i was agreed at a buyer who of o'neill and of your book on o'neill, and i can tell you from having read jack farrell's book on clarence darrow, it's another book worth reading that helps us understand part of our legacy in america, and a very turbulent and special time. you know, we think of clarence darrow often defined by the movies. there's spencer tracy and inherit the wind and we all know about the scopes trial, and there is an orson welles as
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clarence darrow and compulsion. we all know about leopold and loeb. but what you have done in both that combination of your journalism and the kind of current work you were doing at the center of public integrity it helps to serve as a perceptive and artful biographer the principles and passions at times cause them to compromise and violate principles believed in and you capture that with some empathy and psychological understanding of human failings. when you go through the book and read it, you run through characters we admire or find that we would like to have dinner with or be in a car pool with like justice brandeis and emma goldman who was a critic.
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arthur garfield hayes, roger altman, maybe these were heroes of my time because they were founders of the aclu, and many others. one is lincoln stevens, and if you read the book carefully, you find jack was influenced by part by the wonderful autobiography, and so i came away today because this is not only bastille day comer this is the date that sacco and vanzetti were executed. so my but if it is what would have happened if darrow had been their lawyer and had not been rejected by the sacco and vanzetti defense team which thought he was too much of a chicago midwesterners for this new england elite crowd. the result might have been
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different. but at any rate, let us welcome jack farrell. [applause] >> it's really nice to be introduced by david pollack julie gave me great insight for the tip o'neill book. he was a wonderful help. i came early tonight so i could listen and make sure the bookstore was passing it to great hands, and i was assured by meeting them and talking to them that it is you really are a wonderful community of people and i think the great thing about politics and prose is that we can continue to be long here and show up and continue to pay a little bit extra for books than we would on amazon. but you know what, you can't beat on amazon or come out a night like tonight on amazon and we need a great book stores and independent bookstores and i'm very proud as i said with tip
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o'neill which was ten years ago to be reading at politics and prose. 100 years ago this fall clarence darrow stood on a downtown los angeles sidewalk and watched the police seize his chief investigator caught in the act of bribing a juror. a few weeks later, darrow himself was indicted on two counts of bribery. member franklin, the investigator, agreed to testify in return for favored treatment and and unity from the state. he swore that darrow ordered him to pay $4,000 to the jurors to agree to vote not guilty. he was at the height of his fame, one of america's foremost trial lawyers, political leaders and populist champions when his career went off track in southern california. staggered by his shame, he left his wife one night for the apartment of his mistress. he had a revolver in one pocket and a whiskey bottle, brown
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circular table underneath a hanging on shaded light bulb and he vowed to kill himself. they are going to invite me, he said, i can't stand the shame. fortunately for us, she talked him out of it. darrow went on and created an american archetype, the advocate for the common folks. looking with his thumbs in his best or suspenders regarding the jury from beneath that cascading shock of hair, speaking with plain but emotional conviction of the nobility of man, the frailty of mankind in threat to liberty posed by the narrow minded men of wealth and their legal guns for hire. his words continue to resume today. this is one of my favorite darrow quotes. tell me if it doesn't remind you of a certain era that we are living in now. [laughter] with the land and positions of america rapidly passing into the hands of a favored few, with thousands of men and women and i'll miss and want, with wages
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constantly tending to the lower level, with the knowledge that the servants of the people elected to correct abuses are bought and sold in the legislative halls at the bidding of corporations and individuals, with all of these notorious evils sapping the foundations of popular government and destroying personal liberty a rude awakening must come. and if it shall come, he would warn, when you look abroad over the ruin and decimation at the years which the storm was rising and don't blame a thunderbolt. it was quite a show. the days before radio or motion picture of a legal clashes paid the role of the underpayment. it wasn't unusual for the court rim's to detach with lawyers come off to the judges and newspapermen, politicians, the local bishop and hallways outside jammed with spectators to get in all to see darrow close for the defense. a mob of thousands of this bill
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through the course down the stairs into the yard to surround a courthouse and raised letters so they could listen of the windows. in the electors and public speaking he affected a humble law court must and in court simplicity to endear him to his audience. tapping the gold spectacles on his shoulder. often he would lean on the real to take the jurors into the confidence and would speak slowly until the jurors in the backroom would have to lean forward and then of a sudden he would shout and appoint a prosecutor and accused them of all sorts of evil wrongdoing and his muscles would tighten and he would soar and swing his arms and in the storm would pass and relax and would be chenille and
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gauging lightening the mood with a wisecrack he's a very witty man. he never addressed injuries, he said, he talked to them. his appeal were all about context for the juror, the judges and prosecutors of the victorian america knew that they were there for. they were there to exact vengeance and safeguard property and propriety. but darrow believed the jurors and this was revolutionary given the opportunity and skillful invitation could be persuaded to look past the particulars to the context times the such regional factors that prompted the behavior of the background he sought to make the most hideous crimes he represented some hideous defendants. he'd stand, slouches shoulders, talk quietly and hardly mentioned the case settled with a great illustration he talked of human beings, the difficulties of life, the human plans, the misfortunes of the defendant, the strange workings of fate and a chance that landed him in this courtroom in this
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trouble. he tried to make the jury understand not so much the case as the defendant and it was not unusual in the late 19th and early 20th century for the lawyers to take many hours per for two or three days to give a closing argument in the significant in the case in the legal case in chicago of 1925, he spoke for three days without notes. and marvelous displays of intellect and concentration and focus. it was more than just a tactic. it was his crete. he was a determinist. he didn't believe in free will or good and evil or choice. there were no moral absolutes or truth, no justice whether there was only mercy. we are all poor blind creatures, he said, bound hand and foot by the invisible chains of heredity and environment to be pretty much what we have to do in a barbarous and cruel world and that is about all this. she had no faith in god or churches and he won notoriety in
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the jazz age as the country's most prominent and outspoken atheist. he built an entire moral code for a life's pointlessness and the comfort and tolerance human beings can offer to their doomed fellow travelers. he was a practicing defense attorney, trial lawyer and in his time represented gangsters, psychopaths, gamblers, bank robbers, rumrunners, yellow journalists, union goons, crooked politicians a corporation's, and many scorned women like msm some the socialite who smuggled a handgun into court, shot her philandering husband in the midst of the divorce proceedings. you killed him, said the clerk. i hope so, said emma. [laughter] but he couldn't resist that case. [laughter] or the wisecrack. she was no doubt guilty of contempt of court, she told the jury. [laughter] but, meeting the classic definition of chutzpah, he convinced the jury to have mercy
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on the window and he got her off. [laughter] they just couldn't convict a woman in chicago for shooting a cheating laos and if not for nothing the lawyer flynn and the broadway musical and movie chicago was patterned in part on clarence darrow. elmer had it coming. given the old razzle dazzle indeed. he was a net three is rank, a professed centralist who took much pleasure from the chase, seduction and act of love. and he used sex as well as a narcotic. he relied on fiscal year nasties get the emptiness and spiritual isolation of his life, said his friend and lover, the gal that talked about killing himself. for he was often lonely, haunted by death and pray to melancholy. sex, he told her, was the only feeling in the world that can make you forget for a while. and work was an anodyne for darrow as well. even as i have fought for freedom, he said, i have always had a consciousness that i was doing it to keep myself
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occupied. so i might forget. every man has his dope, said darrow. whether it was religion, philosophy, creed, whiskey, cocaine, morphine, anything to take away reality. he was a byronic hero then come intelligent, captivating, jaded, moodie, a renegade with little regard for vigorous society. he scorned society and its norms and what play any track to save a client but it to him the world was equally on morrill, above and below, said the progress of a reformer, a friend of his, so why be squeamish about it in a criminal case? in the course of his 60 year career, darrow tayler testimony, pay off witnesses and jurors, he would be tried twice for jury bribing and narrowly escaped prison. do not the rich and powerful bride juries? intimidate and coerce judges as well times? to the shrink from any weapon, he would ask? and yet, she had an ineffable compassion for those who faced loss or despair or persecution.
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his strongly emotional nature was goaded by his upbringing. his father was a book loving owner of a royal furniture shop on an abolitionist, freethinker who had staked his family in the values of liberty and equality and taught his son to suspect and challenge authority. and compassion played the role of the unified and theory in darrow's chaotic universe. the bench in his outer office was invariably felt, one man said, by men in overalls, their arms in slings, women huddled in shawls and waiting for darrow to a less charitable powell described them as the type one would sit back in a fortune-teller's parlor. including half wits who even god could not teach anything. but darrow the merger the end of the day, see the longline, sallai and offer an understanding smile. sunday dinner would grow cold as he sat with his supplicant for an hour or more patiently hearing the fact of the case and offering advice on the poor man's trouble and depending how
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he was fixed at a time, if there or more of speak of's cases earned him nothing. and he was never a wealthy man. he spent much of his money on wine, women and song and the rest he wasted. [laughter] the publisher e.w. scripps said everything about darrow suggests a cynic. everything but one thing, and that's an entire lack of real cynicism. he was thomas jefferson's air, the foremost champion of personal liberty in his time. when he was a boy, darrow like to say the hired man had dignity. he dined with the family of the employer, he shared their appeal on sunday and he could court the boss's daughter. there were no banks, no big stores, very little money. nobody had a monopoly of riches or poverty. the community was truly space. the nation's founding principles were stretched beyond recognition in the industrial age. a shrewd and lucky few made
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great fortunes, carnegie and steel, morgan and finance, rockefeller in oil, and they attribute their success to god, hard work and ploch and they found in the writings of herbert spencer the comforting assurance the poor deserve their lot. it was features we furthering their race by weeding out the week. they ordered managers to lower costs and when the workers organize unions, private armies and local militias were summoned to work of the strikes and demonstrations often with volleys of rifle fire. according to the courts, the workers on the right was to negotiate man to man with an employer and to take himself elsewhere so terms were not to his liking, and nobody married the boss's daughter. atop the social order, the robber barons flaunted their aristocratic aspirations, they dressed up like 18th-century european royalty and act spectacular party is the hybrid is my naked chorus girls to jump out of cakes, the honda dimond colors other dogs. the historian wrote the were uninhibitedly flamboyant and the
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misconduct dillinger tobacco and drinking incredible amounts they sometimes sees the light of shame and manners and morals and in the ethics of let me. and of course, these professed independent man squeezed huge subsidies from the federal government. [laughter] the railroads alone got $350,000,000.242 stellas and square miles of land and controlled the legal struggle to adapt to the supreme court where the justices were diligently redefining the bill of rights as a guarantee of property above all else. as the supreme court justice david broder of the times said from the time and earliest records when he took a loving possession of even the verb and an apple, the idea of property and sacredness of the right of the position has never departed. the love of acquirement mingled with the july of possession is the stimulus to the human activity. the jurors who resisted
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brandeis, holmes and darrow would be honored by history as great dissenters and mediocrities like poor would be forgotten, but there was little consolation to the working men and women of the time. by his 40th birthday of 1850's and the great economic relief valve, the frontier was gone and its absence said historian frederick turner heightened the sharp contrast between the traditional idea of america as the land of opportunity, the land of the self-made man, free from class distinctions, and the existing america so unlike the ideal. at the time of the trial for bribery, darrow was america's top label year. he was in los angeles that year to defend james and john mcnamara. to union terrorists who conspired to bomb the "los angeles times" of 1910 killing 20 innocent printers and newspapermen in the explosion and subsequent inferno. darrow had one notable victories defending america's laborers and workers and coal and hard rock miners and faced down the robber
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barons and their gunmen and had seen how the corrected juries and judges, and he had no illusions in the fall of 1911 the forces of industry and los angeles would place where. bribing the jury to save a man's life, his mistress road in her diary, he would not hesitate. he survived and emerged a better man and a finer earlier. he had been on the road, said his friend, francis wilson and he knew what was to suffer. the senate is humbled, wrote the muckraking journalist, the man that laughed season and is frightened. he faced squarely in los angeles and made eloquent pleas in his own defense and won a not guilty verdict in the trial and a hung jury in the next and from the ashes of the ordeal, he forged the grandest of america's legal career as the champion of personal liberty in defender of the underdog and became such a link in stevens the attorney for the damned. he had no choice. red ant disgraced he returned to
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chicago and took the case is the others wouldn't touch. there was isaac pond, the black man accused of the brutal rape and murder of a young white nurse, communists and anarchist's snared in the reactionary fervor 41 and the red scare. frank lloyd wright in the cause of sexual freedom when the architect was pursued by federal prosecutors for violating the mann act which made it a crime for unmarried couples to cross the state lines. today we recall the plea against the death penalty and for the lives of nathan leopold and richard loeb the thrill killers who murdered a chicago boy to demonstrate their intellectual superiority by committing the perfect crime. it was an especially despicable killing, but darrow's call for mercy saved their next read and of course we remember darrow for the scopes monkey trial. in tennessee a year later when he fought for academic and scientific freedom and a battle for those who would inject religion and ban the teaching of evolution in the public schools. stymied by a hostile judge, he
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called the prosecutor three-time presidential candidate william jennings bryan to the stand and of course the clash was immortalized and inherit the wind. when the trial was over, however, he was the most famous lawyer the world and was 60 feet short on money, learning for retirement and in bed he could have commanded huge fees on wall street or representing average divorce is in chicago but instead, and i think this indicates his true glory he took the case in an african american physician who move into a white neighborhood in detroit. maybe you see the picture, the summer the klan march on pennsylvania avenue in washington with their herds in their cloaks. thousands of them. in detroit in mob gathered breaking the windows of the house threatening its inhabitants killing one man injuring another on a september night in 1925. he went to detroit and defended
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the swedes into a grueling trial set span seven months for the naacp and he won the case and was staggered by a heart attack in the summer of 1926. the theme of his life and the march through courtroom cases was the defense of individual liberty from the unrelenting crushing and personal forces of modernity. no era of the world has ever witnessed such a rapid concentration of wealth and power, he warned, and history furnishes abundant lessons of the inevitable result. all of the greatness of america, her marvelous welcome all of her wonders are monument to the wisdom of liberty. but our liberty produced prosperity on this prosperity looks with doubting on his upon the mother that gave it birth. and threatens to strangle her to death. and they needed a new myth and in the embrace in the defense and the support of the underdogs
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he gave a narrow voice and helped the supply with sympathetic characters for american folklore. if the underdog got on top he would probably be just as rotten as the upper dhaka, darrow like to say, but in the meantime, i'm for him. he needs friends within the other fellow. americans of the year of juice drinks and watching him rage against the machine and they can again today. and the fierce resistance to those oppressive forces which in varying inspired the rebels of his ancestry, the abolitionists of his boyhood, in part of freedom in his lifetime and imposed a threat to liberty today. with the journalist after watching a narrow defeat to darrow the monkey trial. he's been through more war than the regimen of pershings and most of them have been struggles to the death without coats or quarter?
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tolino, the cause seems last on us today live on the they are not as safe as they used to be. [applause] thank you for lifting as a slow and i want to thank c-span for being here i want to begin the question hour and one of the things that stands out so please come to the microphone with any questions that you may have in our history and and you're talking about class conflicts in labor and all of that coming and as we know there was often division created along racial lines by the powerful interests,
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and one of the things that darrow did is he did his service as a citizen not only with the cases he took, but he was willing to go to the meetings and serve on the board of the naacp that's also part of that sense of service that he had that may have come from the genes of his abolitionist father but the determinism or not he made that choice, and it was a terrific choice. please, began with the questions and if you're comfortable, tell us your name. >> my name is dr. caroline and i physician but i used to be a lawyer and darrow has inspired generations and generations of lawyers. there was a wonderful talk and i'm sure the book is wonderful, too. he said that he threw himself into his work and the wine and women and song to escapes from something.
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was he depressed? >> he had a lack of faith in an afterlife, spiritual life, he had been brought up by freethinkers which is what the people of the time merkel diagnostics or atheists and he had a great fear of death, too because interestingly his father who was a cabinetmaker in this small ohio town also became the town's undertaker. [laughter] because he worked with words, so he made the coffins and so he worked in the wood shop with his dad and up against the wall with a bunch of coffins and he had to clean the chickens off when somebody in the town by. his mother died when he was 15 and interestingly enough, he says in his autobiography his mother died when he was at a very young child. i don't recall 15, very young. his brothers and sisters described him as a man working during a man's job in the workshop, so one thing i think scared all the children in the family but especially clarence was that his mom was dying she
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told them because again she was a free thinker as well it is all a dream and someday the illusion will pass before you just as it is passing for me. so he didn't have a faith in the afterlife. he was very realistic about the inhumanity of man to man and so it was basically his compassion that got him day-by-day through life. he was prone to bouts of depression i didn't try to make an analysis in the book. it was interesting enough at one point in his life he was very sick and she took injections of narcotics for nine months and that deutsch let me to wonder sort of whether or not when he talked about dope he wasn't just being -- he was being specific about something that affected him. but again, there was no proof about that and i didn't want to lead you on as a reader to make you think that i knew more than i did. >> thank you. >> sure. >> the evening. axson let talk. my name is neil newman.
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i had a phone call this evening from a good friend of mine who just finished your book and lives in maine, an excellent trial counsel, and he liked your book very, very much intact so much i just purchased it. [laughter] but he raised i think somewhat of a mundane but i think practical question: how was it that after these number of years to books have just come out on darrow? and if i may also follow up, how do you feel about publishing your buck the same time as another book on the subject? >> obviously i would much rather i had the field to myself. [laughter] sharing a review is not as much fun as getting a good review. the reason is very interesting though. about ten years ago there is a man named randy in minnesota, and he is a darrow autograph collector, letter collector. he went to darrow's granddaughter before she passed away and said you know, do you have anything from your grandfather? she said i don't know. let's go down the basement and look and so they rummaged around the basement and found a boxed
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set christmas ornaments and sure enough inside this box was a thousand letters to and from that he hadn't given to the library of congress or irving stone who wrote the first biography of 1941. and so, these letters eventually made their way to the university of minnesota and opened them to scholars last summer, so that was i think the reason the two of us wrote the books at the same time. the of the biggest and from law and. its 300 pages and it's written by an academic rhetoric and a journalist. mine is more of a narrative. i have three chapters on the trials of idaho and a chapter on leopold and loeb, and a chapter on the scopes monkey trial and he sort of merges them all together into his analysis of darrow's believes. so, it's i think "the wall street journal" refuted and said it's a matter of taste as to what you like to read the want a more analytic book or the cinematic gripping narrative -- [laughter]
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[applause] anyway, is that -- >> i will pass those comments on the i'm sure he will catch on c-span. i concur with you. >> thank you. [laughter] >> hi, my name is jessica siegel and i retired, but i was originally -- probably wanted to become a lawyer because i had read a biography of the age of 12. i loved your talk today. >> thanks. >> what i wanted to ask was if you could talk a little bit about how your view of darrow compares with that of stone's and his book and also darrow's autobiography? >> carvin stone's book is fantastic. i could never in a lifetime hope to be as talented as irving stone. he wrote about vincent van gogh, he wrote about all these great historical figures including
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clarence darrow. but sometimes as a great biographical novelist and a great novelist and biographer, stone merged things and one of the things i try to do in my book respectfully is point out the places where he made it up because he didn't really know, and the other handicapped that -- no, nobody ever handicapped stone had is he was working with the cooperation of the darrow family. so whenever you try to get into the question of mistresses or was he really guilty of bribing a jury in los angeles, the family would push back and so his hands were tied. and times were different then. you didn't just going to the detail of a person's personal life that we that today's biographer's do. that all set, the reason that i did a book about clarence darrow is 1i was 12-years-old somebody gave me a copy of irving stone's clarence darrow for the defense -- [laughter] and i know i was 12-years-old because it impressed me so much i printed my name and the date
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in the back of the cover. i still have that book. i carried it with me for a longer years than i care to talk about. but, so it is a marvelous book, and i would recommend that if you just want beautiful poetry and only the really wonderful and warm side of darrow that it's, you know, you can certainly read. darrow's autobiography is different entirely. he wrote two novels, he was a rock making journalists themselves and he's very skilled as you might think from the speeches a very skilled writer as well and the autobiography is worth reading. it's more -- it's called the story of my life, it's really more clarence darrow, my philosophy. he doesn't really give you any feel for the great cases. he doesn't give any details or revelations and he talks at length about where we fit on the graveyard plan that and how basically all we are are lost sailors on a raft in the tossing
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sea and the best thing we can do is reach out and give each other comfort. if you want to get a sense of his philosophy that is a great place to go. >> thanks. >> sure. >> hawaii and as somebody not willing to reveal how long i've been a big fan of clarence darrow. my question, however, is -- and gooding by the obvious known -- are there people today who are clarence darrow-white, who our exemplars of this man and who is in this world? >> actually there's somebody here tonight. i don't know if he's around. paul, are you here? don't raise your hand if you are too in paris. i think the defense that takes the capitol punishment case in this country is as gutsy and brave and noble as clarence darrow. [applause] they are. i did a series when i was a reporter for the "boston globe"
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and they work for no money in hopeless cases society turns against them. in this room as much as we might like to read about clarence darrow we really don't care about their work. we don't care about these individuals who are being executed and yet, knowing that they are going to lose time after time again in texas and illinois, indiana, virginia, they go out and they fight this good fight and do the best they can. as far as nobility, sure. one reason we don't have a famous great attorney like clarence darrow anymore is that you tend to get wealthy and as a trial lawyer when you win your first big case, and maybe darrow would have ended up the slick, too bad you don't present the attorney for the dam and maybe was the fact darrow fell so far in los angeles and had to come back that led him to take a series of great cases in his 50s and 60s that we all remember him by. so i think that success is baliles great lawyers.
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>> my name is matt harrington. it's a the best example of anybody representing o.j. and all the work that he does on capitol defense living up to that high standard. i was just going to say that i'm a lawyer and came to the bar because to books family members gave me. one was irving stone's book and the other was edward bennett fence who styled himself as darrow's successor to lead in dealing with darrow though as a lawyer, there's an aching desire i've always had since i've read this book to define some place where he feels bad about bribing of the jurors. i'm wondering if anywhere in that christmas ornament box he found even a hint of that. >> just the obvious -- just the opposite. in another small patch of
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letters that didn't make it to the library of congress and ended up at boston university because they were thought to be too sensitive for the time of the papers made their way to the library of congress. he actually wrote a telegram of the time that he was indicted to his brother and is it cannot make myself feel guilty. in his great argument before the supreme court on dhaka case of eugene debs, the american railroad worker leader, he said 100,000 men, 300,000 american men walked off the job across the country. i don't care what law says, i don't care what the legislators of illinois or the legislators of congress say. that cannot be against the wall of 300,000 americans decided that it's wrong that their life has to be resisted by this kind of walk out and so that basically was his philosophy that the families of men in the legislature writing down of the laws were really things that
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could be brushed away in case of the greater morality and the motives of course was everything to him. if a defendant was caught with a gun in his hand would have a great motive than darrow could find a way to justify that and almost all crime he looked at in that manner. so yes, you read it and you get there and say that's pretty extreme but, you know, it's good for our society that we have extremists like that i think. >> it is a broad line between the jury nullification and bribing the jury. >> pica midevening. my name is noah. thank you for the wonderful talk. i wanted to touch on your expertise as a journalist and your experience at the center and ask you to comment on darrow's relationship with what is often described as the leading journalist of that era by walter bachmann who you probably know very well. he expressed a different view
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than the one that you just described in the case that he was saying. he notes a quote kind of random from his work. one of his aphorisms says we should set aside the democratic dogmatism men are the best judge of their own interest and instead, you know, realize that it is up to other men of letters and erudition to, you know, to decide what the best interest of the men are. so i'm wondering if you can engage in the discretion of his view. he is very broad as many of you in the particular strain in the liberal democratic fought from the 1920's and to see how darrow would respond to it or your impression. >> i don't think he was an intimate of but men. i know the time of the scopes trial for their work intellectual liberties in new york who thought that darrow was absolutely the worst person to be handling this case.
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he had been a founding attorney for both the aclu and the naacp which by itself you'd think would deserve a biography, but he was never what you would think of classical political liberal. he broke with woodrow wilson and he broke with fdr over the new deal. he was more of a libertarian and many people would say that once you got into the 20th century his time was passed and he was living in this 19th century liberalism in the 20th century. and so for that reason and others come the didn't want darrow to be the champion, something like evolution. and i think that wittman probably would have felt the same way. darrow was a very common man. there's letters in which people talk about the fact that he had dirty fingernails and egg on his tie and always looked like he t don't see that sort of fitting in well with the kind of intellectual liberalism that he
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represented. >> all the questions -- >> you have one? >> well, i have one. >> jack can repeat it. >> i seem to be the very odd man out in this gathering. my history is i came to -- came to berth in an era and a time if you didn't have a ph.d. in science, you were doomed to be a
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lowbrow. so, notwithstanding the fact that i liked literature and so on, my parents forced me into a science career, costing me five bucks a year, courtesy of the city college of new york. so, my impression of clarence darrow, is almost entirely
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different than the collective impressions here. i thought of him as sort of a bad guy who was a tool of the richer class's. he was the one that put down scopes, who was the one who had troops on his side -- truth on his side. so the scopes trial, in my yearly thinking -- early thinking, should have been reversed. >> you want me to talk a little
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bit about scopes? >> his trial? well, i will just add one thing. if i were the lawyer for the prosecution in the scopes trial, i would take -- there are so many evident contradictions in the theory of evolution that it should be immediately thrown out of cost because the science is junk. [laughter] >> okay. >> just an example, the trial insisted for some billions of years as far as we know, and the dinosaurs were out of business
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in the 75 million years. how does somebody who believes in regular evolution explain natural. >> it was a battle. america had just come back from world war i. the world had been shaken by the savage nature of world war i and there was a fundamental revival in america and william brian jennings was the prosecutor in the case interpreted darwinism as a cause for the prussian militarism, so there were many good reasons to fear the way the new science was changing.
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we had einstein and marx and freud to read everything was mixed up, you had women cutting their hair and wearing short skirts. >> i didn't get that. >> so the 1920's are very rambunctious time and date in the teaching of evolution in the classroom. they never got down to debating the science and in fact in dayton tennessee where the trial took place the judge refused to let him put any of his scientific experts on the stand, and that's like to salvage his casey, william jennings bryan to the stand as an expert on the bible. >> there were too many people in the courtroom. the judge was freed the floor was going to collapse. it's the second-best record room. you can go there and see it. it's beautifully preserved and the stuff trials in that courtroom, and so they all can outside a platform built under the maple trees in the courtyard, and that's what i
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call the single greatest confrontation, legal confrontation in american history took place with darrow questioning of brian about -- very little about science, very much about did joe and i released a three days and a whale, and how did this make better not before it was forced to crawl on its belly, did it called on its tail? she asked these questions to embarrass william jennings bryan. when he did ask questions about science, bryan was so uneducated and the science, it hadn't taken to look into it he couldn't answer those questions to be a certain image to the body and -- and this was the first trial carried by radio across the country -- to an educated audience, they saw that brian didn't really know he was thinking about. so the short answer to your question is there really wasn't a great debate about the science of solution of dating. was more a debate about the bible and about science's place in the classroom. >> okay. thank you.
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>> just one quick question to the i was fascinated to see in your story earl rogers as a defendant and i recall him as being a dazzling criminal defendant, yet he never became -- he's forgotten today, just a little eccentric and can you just speak about the -- >> i would love to. lincoln steffens and earl rogers are the guys that i discovered in the research for this book. earl rogers was, if you can believe a more cynical than clarence darrow. he was also an alcoholic, but he was probably a greater trial lawyer even than darrow that rogers to cases and got the guys found innocent. darrow was good at taking the hopeless cases, the attorney for the damned, saving them from the hanging of the electric chair. but he never had the record of not guilty verdict that role rogers did in southern california. and it was indication of darrow's desperation because earl rogers was with the powers at the in los angeles, he was
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and how union. it's an indication of spiegel's the foot desperation when he went out he went out and hired earl rogers to defend him and his defense of clarence clarencw is amazing remember the transcript in los angeles and interestingly enough law library is across the street from where the "los angeles times" was bombed. i would look out the window and see where this has happened. but rogers idea was he was just going to raise so many red herrings. he was going to say that so many skyrockets and cause amazing circus in the courtroom that by the time the prosecution finished presenting the case the jurors would have no idea what it was all about, and -- [laughter] and that is basically what happened is the prosecutor played in his hands to bring in the matters and shout and take them all up to it at some point they were trying to get a prosecution witness who was being a good witness and looking
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directly at the jury and speaking to distract him and they would walk around the courtroom to get his eyes away from the jury but was disciplined and he kept looking at. he would sit down next to the press box and as he was asking questions he would be reading the copy of the reporters were writing and he would reach over and do editing and what ask these questions. in this case, the witness wouldn't budge, and so rogers went over and said what you stand up and walker rot, too and see if the two of us can get some luck. [laughter] at that point the prosecutor lost it comes to the band set your honor the idea in the middle of this courtroom in los angeles favor some sort of trying to pull some magic to it that of course led to the huge uproar. two days later the prosecutor was still seating and got into
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another fund. he tried to throw a glass ashtray at rogers across the room. rogers ran over to him and grabbed him, suffered a small cut on his wrist and said held it up and increased martyrdom and said your honor, i don't deserve this. [laughter] just one big circus after another and the prosecution knew it was happening and couldn't do anything to stop in the second trial unfortunately rogers was an alcoholic and didn't show up a lot. [laughter] that was a hung jury come 8-for the believed that he was guilty speaking of darrow there's another book called the people versus clarence darrow written about ten years ago that's about the trials in los angeles and if you loved rodger's that's the book to read. stopguard to first sure that he wasn't the lawyer for chicago? [laughter] >> i was simplifying a little bit that the delta for the original plea of chicago was a
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reporter for the tribune or maybe it was the times and she based it on a number of these stories like in the movie he deserved it. >> my real question was i remember reading about lieberman's book and in part of that he talks about defending the scottsboro boys and i have some memory from that something about darrow being approached first and not taking the case, and i wonder if you had anything just thoughts about that and about why. >> this happened after the trial and the naacp fellows were feeling a little cocky. when the first reports came from alabama didn't increase the case. they made a mistake and held that. they felt that perhaps a rape had occurred to they felt the defendants were ignorant farm boys showing their new york
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sophistication and they didn't call clarence darrow, but the attorneys from the communist party called clarence darrow and said would you defend the scottsboro boys and they said well i am the founder of the naacp, i have to check. so he talked to the naacp and of course they said well if he's going to go down there and defend them they have to be doing it for us. and so, for six months in one of the sorriest case is of the naacp history, they struggle with the communist party in america to try to get an edge in public opinion to convince these poor defendants that, you know, if you went with us you would get darrow and if you don't, you won't. and he went down there and this all happened in the summer he went down finally in december and met with the defendants and he met with communist labor party and said look, we can defend them jointly, i can
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defend them as individuals, the only thing i want to do is i have to have the assurance i am going to be able to design the defense and so if what you are asking me is considerable even defend him for you but if what you're asking is you are going to design the defense i can't do it. i cannot be -- put these boys' lives at state for whatever martyrdom you have planned for them because that's better for your political party. and succumbing he ended up walking away from the case as a whole, and the ended up going with the communist labor party and for better or worse, that lawyer that they got was fantastic. >> my recollection is that lieberman was actually able to get an agreement in that he set no interference from them. >> but if you read maybe for the first trial but as time went on he was incredibly frustrated also by their intervention.
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but he got an awful lot of flak from the liberal community in america which thought that he had turned on his heel and walked out on the defendant's. >> thank you, jack. [applause] >> for more and for me some, visit the author's website, the supreme court is now available as an enhanced and standard e-book and tells the story through the eyes of the justices themselves, he lived in the original interviews with current and retired justices. the new edition e-book includes an interview with the newest supreme court justice, elena kagan and with the enhanced e-book add to the experience by watching multimedia clips from the justices. c-span's the supreme court, available now wear a fur ebook sar sold. what are you reading this summer? book tv wants to know.
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>> well, what i have read recently is a wonderful book that i wrote. it's called "the speech." it's a good book and it deals with the filibuster that i gave in december talking about a very bad agreement reached by the president and republicans of extending the bush tax breaks for the very wealthy and also goes into some detail to argue the middle class in this country is collapsing and it also talks about the growing inequality of america and what this means for the future of the country so that is self advertising vote. as my book provided free reading and was a good book. there's another book that i have read recently which i like very much. and that is called third world america by arianna huffington. it's a very readable book. she's a good writer, and she touches on the, you know, the trends that we have seen for a number of years in terms of our
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physical infrastructure, in terms of education, in terms of health care but frankly if we do not reverse, and this is her point, we have to end up looking like a third world country. and what that's about as a friend of mine came back last year from china. he was in an airport in china, flew into the united states and while he was waiting for a plan that to vermont to be sitting on the floor, it was crowded, the plane was delayed, and he was wondering which was the third world country, the united states or china. so a lot of ominous trends in the country moving us in the wrong direction in terms of the physical infrastructure, more and more people without health insurance, growing up between the very rich and everybody else, the dominance of big money interests in wall street and i think arianna's point is we have to get our act together and reverse those trends so that we become the great nation that we know that we can and should be.
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another book that in fact i am reading right now is a book about the life of somebody i have known for a number of years. i wouldn't say that he's a good friend i've known him for many years and that is willie nelson, and the book is called glen olson and ethical life and that is by joe nick. it's not the most readable book in the world because i think what he does is give the name everybody in the world, but given the fact that will nelson is clearly one of the great entertainers of our time, and he is really an icon and a unique type of individual because of cushiest this and his entertainment qualities in vermont where i've seen him a number of times all over this country he brings together just
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a huge range of people. most singers will appeal to this group of people or the corporate people; willie brings them all together and i think that has a lot to do with his personality, his decency as a human being. his gentleness, he's a very gentle man, his decency is just the very, very strong support of the world american family so if people are interested in learning about the life of a guy who was born in arkansas cummins family migrated to texas, he, you know, he worked in the cotton fields, he grew up very, very poor, and he has a unique type to working americans today, so willie, i'm a big fan of his and this is a good book which talks about his life. the last book which is -- it's pretty interesting actually, the topic might be considered to be boring is a book called the
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financial crisis and the was put together by the commission that congress established to look at the cause of the financial crisis on what went on in wall street and how the in the up and bringing us to the place that we are right now, which is the worst recession that this country has experienced since the great depression, and that is -- its tough rating because what you are seeing is, you know, the incredible recklessness from these people on wall street, you know, producing worthless financial the instruments and leading us where we are now and talking about the great power of wall street and their business models and so forth and so on. so i think that if anyone wants to understand what's going on in america today, you ought to understand wall street and the incredible power that they have economically and


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