Illinois Justice: The Scandal of 1969 and the Rise of John Paul Stevens

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 1, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 317 pages
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Illinois political scandals reached new depths in the 1960s and ’70s. In Illinois Justice, Kenneth Manaster takes us behind the scenes of one of the most spectacular. The so-called Scandal of 1969 not only ended an Illinois Supreme Court justice’s aspirations to the US Supreme Court, but also marked the beginning of little-known lawyer John Paul Stevens’s rise to the high court.

In 1969, citizen gadfly Sherman Skolnick accused two Illinois Supreme Court justices of accepting valuable bank stock from an influential Chicago lawyer in exchange for deciding an important case in the lawyer’s favor. The resulting feverish media coverage prompted the state supreme court to appoint a special commission to investigate. Within six weeks and on a shoestring budget, the commission mobilized a small volunteer staff to reveal the facts. Stevens, then a relatively unknown Chicago lawyer, served as chief counsel. His work on this investigation would launch him into the public spotlight and onto the bench.

Manaster, who served on the commission, tells the real story of the investigation, detailing the dead ends, tactics, and triumphs. Manaster expertly traces Stevens’s masterful courtroom strategies and vividly portrays the high-profile personalities involved, as well as the subtleties of judicial corruption. A reflective foreword by Justice Stevens himself looks back at the case and how it influenced his career.

Now the subject of the documentary Unexpected Justice: The Rise of John Paul Stevens, Manaster’s book is both a fascinating chapter of political history and a revealing portrait of the early career of a Supreme Court justice.
 

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Contents

A Citizens Suspicions
3
Alarm Bells in the Newsrooms
9
Uproar in Springfield
17
A Special Commission
22
The Case Against Isaacs
29
Stevens and His Team
37
Limiting the Questions
45
The Chief Justices Stock
55
Intermission and Jail
153
After the Landing
161
Alibis
177
Testing the Stories
192
Summing Up
200
Meeting the Deadline
215
A Sad Affair
233
Loose Ends
243

Starting the Search
62
Building the Answers
69
Blind Alleys and Roadblocks
73
The Trial Begins
85
Secrets in the Bank
101
Challenging Witnesses
111
A Justices Deals
125
The Gift
142
Legacies and Echoes
251
Stevens to the Bench
263
Integrity of the Judgments
275
Notes
287
Sources
303
Acknowledgments
305
Index
307
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Kenneth A. Manaster practiced law in Chicago from 1968 to 1972, including service as an Illinois Assistant Attorney General. He is professor of law and the Presidential Professor of Ethics and the Common Good at Santa Clara University.