FOREWORD BY JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG
“Polly J. Price offers an intimate look into the brilliant legal mind of Judge Richard S. Arnold. A key witness to, and strong supporter of, the civil rights movement, Judge Arnold sat on the bench during a tumultuous time in our nation’s history. Price carefully examines Arnold’s personal papers to reveal his motives, deliberations, and integrity in the face of great moral debate…. [This book] provides fascinating insight into the inner workings of the federal judiciary as reflected by the life of one of its most exceptional and courageous members”
–FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON
"It has been observed, correctly, that Richard Arnold should join Learned Hand on the short list of the best American judges never to have served on the U.S. Supreme Court. This fond but balanced biography by one of his former clerks explains why. In a fascinating and very readable narrative, author Polly Price examines Arnold the person and the judge with equal insight, charting his growth as a southerner whose erudition and compassion gave him an ever-expanding perspective on the law and on humanity. For lawyers, law students and judges in search of a role model for their careers in a much-maligned profession, learning about this man through this book is essential."
Supreme Court correspondent for Legal Times,
who has covered the Supreme Court for 29 years
In 1994, President Bill Clinton called federal appellate court Judge and fellow Arkansan Richard Sheppard Arnold “the most brilliant man on the federal bench.” But for concerns about Arnold’s poor health, Clinton would have nominated him to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the retirement of Justice Harry A. Blackmun. Indeed, when the Blackmun position on the court opened up, Arnold received the endorsement of more than 100 federal judges—almost 20 percent of the entire federal judiciary. Clinton’s concerns turned out to be well founded, for ten years later Judge Arnold succumbed to the lymphoma that he had battled for almost three decades. At his death, eight Supreme Court Justices published tributes to his fairness, judicial restraint, and eloquent and influential judicial opinions.
Who was Richard Arnold, and why did so many colleagues across the political spectrum hold him in such high esteem? In this carefully researched, insightful biography, law professor Polly J. Price, who served as Judge Arnold’s law clerk, has created a compelling portrait of a man who, like Judge Learned Hand of an earlier era, is widely believed to be one of the best judges never to serve on the Supreme Court.
Through internal court documents, interviews with judges and law clerks, and Arnold’s diaries, Professor Price traces Arnold’s life, career, and political transformation from an elite Southerner with deep misgivings about Brown v. Board of Education to a modern champion of civil rights. Her analysis of Arnold’s leadership in civil rights, especially on First Amendment issues, the death penalty, and claims of individuals against government wrongdoing, tells us much about changes in both southern and national society during his tenure from 1978 to 2004.
An important example of Arnold’s many contributions was his progressive resolution of desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas, long infamous for the Central High School crisis of the 1950s. Arnold’s work brought closer to an end more than fifty years of federal court supervision of the Little Rock schools.
This book also features excerpts from Arnold’s diary of his clerkship with Supreme Court Justice William Brennan in 1960. Arnold’s diary provides unique insight into this pivotal year of the Warren Court.
As much a history of federal courts in recent decades as it is the life story of one of its best-known judges, this first biography of Judge Richard S. Arnold is a sensitively written, objective account of a man of outstanding intelligence, talent, and integrity.
FURTHER PRAISE FOR POLLY J. PRICE'S JUDGE RICHARD S. ARNOLD:
"My generation knew no finer federal judge. Richard Arnold was a man of enormous intelligence. He was as kind and courteous as he was wise. His opinions, speeches, and law journal commentary will continue to inspire legions of jurists to follow in his way."
JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG
"His carefully reasoned and beautifully written opinions were models of the art of judging."
JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA
Pages: 466 (includes photos)
For more on Judge Richard S. Arnold, see Polly J. Price's blog at http://blogs.law.emory.edu/price/.
Shipping Weight: 2lbs
Polly J. Price (Atlanta, GA) is professor of law and associate dean of faculty at Emory University School of Law. She is also an associate faculty member of the department of history at Emory and the author of Property Rights: Rights and Liberties under the Law. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Prof. Price served as a law clerk for Richard S. Arnold in the Eighth US Circuit Court of Appeals from 1989 to 1991.