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Pub Date: June 15th, 1979
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston

When segregationist Bull Connors complained that the civil rights movement would take a mile if given an inch, Charles Morgan, the ACLU's most successful trial lawyer, replied that Connors was wrong: ""We tried to take it all."" Whether in the civil rights or the anti-war struggles (Part I), or in the movement to impeach Nixon for Watergate (Part II), Morgan never expressed any interest in ""reasonable compromise."" His career as a maverick liberal has been a crusade against the ""Big Mules"" who run things, but also against the timorousness that ""governs the lives of almost all liberal bureaucrats."" He draws his lines sharply. There are good guys like John Sirica and Sam Ervin who are willing to ""confront evil"" and there are bad guys like temporizing Elliot Richardson or John Mitchell, ""the ultimate absurdity. . . with the political personality of an avocado."" There are expert ""constitutional lawyers who collected large fees in desegregation eases and lost each of them,"" and there are the ""civil rights lawyers"" who won. There are lawyers who rely on ""Frankfurterisms""--""rational reasons for refusing to do the right thing""--and then there are those, like Morgan, who have ""walking around sense."" While such distinctions heighten the drama in politics and in the courtroom, they also polish up Morgan's Galahad outfit to a high gleam. But his account of the big cases--the desegregation of juries, one man/one vote, the seating of Julian Bond, and the rights of war resisters and critics such as Dr. Howard Levy, Anthony Herbert, and Muhammad Ali--are penetrating analyses of the balance points of justice and politics. According to Morgan, it was John Tunney who ""demolished Richard Nixon's defense"" by showing that the Senate's confirmation of prosecutor Earl Silbert would also have cleared Nixon of obstruction of justice charges. Morgan's arguments are quick and passionate--sometimes too quick, but, for the man, never too passionate.