Archibald Cox: Conscience of a Nation

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Da Capo Press, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 585 pages
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In October 1973, America was transfixed by a battle of wills between President Richard Nixon and a 61-year-old law professor. Archibald Cox was serving in a new post - Special Prosecutor - to investigate the Watergate break-in. Quietly but resolutely he asked the White House to release tapes of important conversations. Facing a Supreme Court deadline, Nixon ordered Cox to be fired. The top two officials of the Justice Department resigned in protest. Overnight, public opinion swung against Nixon and turned Cox into an American hero. Ken Gormley's gripping biography shows how that confrontation was a natural result of the principles, hard as New England granite, which guided Archibald Cox through life. In his distinguished and dramatic career, Cox had clerked for the legendary judge Learned Hand, carpooled into Washington with Harold Ickes during World War II, and chaired Harry Truman's Wage Stabilization Board. On the Harvard faculty he was the nation's foremost expert in labor law, and he became the top academic adviser to the handsome young senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy. After President Kennedy named him Solicitor General of the United States, the professor grew into the leading Supreme Court lawyer of the century. Through extensive interviews, the author illuminates Cox's crucial role in the debates within Bobby Kennedy's Justice Department over how to handle integration sit-ins, voting rights, and other constitutional questions. Cox's quietly growing reputation led to the two biggest challenges of his career. The first was his little-known responsibility for handling Vietnam-era protests at Harvard, fully told here for the first time. The second came after men linked tothe White House broke into Democratic Partly headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. Using newly released documents, Gormley reveals how badly leaks had compromised the Justice Department investigation of this break-in and how the White House planned to edit its tape transcripts. I
  

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Contents

PART
1
Billy Cox
3
Harvard
18
Learned Hand
35
Pioneer in Labor Law
48
A Call from the White House
63
A Yankee Professor
79
Young Senator Kennedy
97
The New Special Prosecutor
252
Opening Arguments
269
Battle for the Tapes
290
Showdown with the President
318
The Saturday Night Massacre
338
White House Mysteries
359
2i The Watergate Cleanup
378
Semiretirement
393

The Candidates Academic Adviser
112
Tensions in the i960 Campaign
123
The Celestial General
140
The Landmark Cases
161
New President
182
Student Riots
199
A ThirdRate Burglary?
229
EPILOGUE
423
Sources
441
Notes
461
Acknowledgments
563
Index
569
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Ken Gormley is a professor of law at Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, and is also mayor of Forest Hills, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh.

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