Transcript
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Index
Search this Index
X
00:00:03 - Becoming a clerk at the Supreme Court

Play segment

Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Robert von Mehren, law clerk to Justice Stanley Reed in 1947-'48.

Segment Synopsis: In this opening segment, von Mehren describes how he received his position as a law clerk and what his impressions were of Justice Reed. He talks about how his situation was not conventional and why he chose to apply for a clerkship position. He talks about what he knew of Justice Reed when he took the position and what his first impressions of Reed were.

Keywords: Careers; Clerks; Francis T. P. Plimpton; Francis Taylor Pearsons Plimpton; Interesting; Justice Reed; Justice Stanley Reed; Justices; Law clerks

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Frankfort (Ky.); Harvard Law School.; Judges; Law and legislation; Plimpton, Francis T. P. (Francis Taylor Pearsons), 1900-1983; Reconstruction Finance Corporation.; Reed, Stanley Forman, 1884-1980.; United States. Supreme Court; Washington; Washington (D.C.); Yale University

00:07:53 - Working under Justice Stanley Reed

Play segment

Partial Transcript: In general, what did he expect--(coughs)--of his law clerks?

Segment Synopsis: von Mehren talks about what it was like to work as a clerk under Justice Reed. He talks about his responsibilities as the clerk for Justice Reed as well as the general responsibilities of other clerks at the Supreme Court. He concludes by providing a short history of the role of clerks in assisting the Justices.

Keywords: Certiorari; Certs; Clerks; Drafts; Justice Felix Frankfurter; Justice Frank Murphy; Justice Frankfurter; Justice Fred Vinson; Justice Murphy; Justice Reed; Justice Stanley Reed; Justice Vinson; Justices; Law clerks; Opinions; Years

Subjects: Congress; Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965.; Law and legislation; Legal history; Murphy, Frank, 1890-1949; Reed, Stanley Forman, 1884-1980.; United States. Supreme Court; United States. Supreme Court--Cases; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953

00:17:28 - Reed's relationships with other Justices / Justice Fred Vinson

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Reed had a great deal of, of legal training, but he did not have a formal law degree.

Segment Synopsis: von Mehren talks about the influence Reed had on the other members of the Court and whose views lined up most closely with Reed's. von Mehren talks about the appointment of Vinson as Chief Justice and Reed's reaction to it. He concludes by talking about Vinson and his impressions of Vinson as Chief Justice.

Keywords: Disagreements; Justice Black; Justice Felix Frankfurter; Justice Frank Murphy; Justice Frankfurter; Justice Fred Vinson; Justice Hugo Lafayette Black; Justice Jackson; Justice Murphy; Justice Reed; Justice Stanley Reed; Justice Vinson; Justices; Lacks; Sound; Swing man

Subjects: Black, Hugo LaFayette, 1886-1971.; Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965.; Government--Philosophy; Jackson, Robert H., 1892-1954.; Judges; Murphy, Frank, 1890-1949; Philosophy; Philosophy--Political aspects; Reed, Stanley Forman, 1884-1980.; United States. Supreme Court; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953

00:26:16 - Clerks' opinions of Reed

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Were the, the clerks of other Justices, uh, what was their attitude toward, uh, uh, Justice Reed?

Segment Synopsis: von Mehren takes a few minutes to discuss the opinions of the other clerks at the Supreme Court and what they thought of Justice Reed. While von Mehren claims to have had a closer connection with Justice Reed, the Justice was generally held in high esteem by all the clerks due to his gentleman-like manner.

Keywords: Clerks; Dissents; Human being; Justice Fred Vinson; Justice John Paul Stevens; Justice Reed; Justice Rutledge Jr.; Justice Stanley Reed; Justice Stevens; Justice Vinson; Justice Wiley Blount Rutledge Jr.; Justices; Law clerks; President Harry S. Truman; President Truman; Works

Subjects: Conservatism; Judges; Liberalism; Philosophy; Politics and government; Reed, Stanley Forman, 1884-1980.; Rutledge, Wiley, 1894-1949; Stevens, John Paul, 1920-; Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; United States. Supreme Court; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953

00:29:18 - Reed's political views / Opinions on cases

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did you have, uh, some philosophical differences with Reed yourself?

Segment Synopsis: von Mehren talks about some of Reed's political opinions and how he demonstrated those opinions. He was known for holding views that were not conventionally conservative or conventionally liberal. von Mehren closes this section by talking about some of the cases that Reed was involved with and what his opinions were on those cases.

Keywords: Agreed; Differences; Disagreed; Justice Felix Frankfurter; Justice Frankfurter; Justice Reed; Justice Stanley Reed; Opinions; Racial; Racial covenant

Subjects: Civil rights; Conservatism; Constitution--United States; Economics; Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965.; Government--Philosophy; Integration; Judges; Law and legislation; Liberalism; Philosophy; Philosophy--Political aspects; Politics and government; Racism; Reed, Stanley Forman, 1884-1980.; Segregation; United States. Supreme Court; United States. Supreme Court--Cases; World War, 1939-1945; World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps

00:39:15 - Reed on Kentucky and Washington, D.C.

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did, did Reed, uh, appear to miss Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: von Mehren talks about Reed's opinions of Kentucky and of Washington, D.C. He recalls Reed speaking fondly of Kentucky and appearing to enjoy living in Washington, D.C. He talks about Reed's decision to stay in D.C. after his retirement and the possibility that remained during his retirement years of moving back to Kentucky.

Keywords: Enjoyed; Entertaining; Fondly; Justice Reed; Justice Stanley Reed

Subjects: Governors; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky; Politics and government; Reed, Stanley Forman, 1884-1980.; Washington; Washington (D.C.); Washington (D.C.)--Social life and customs

00:41:38 - Law clerk dinners

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Could you describe the, the annual law clerk dinners?

Segment Synopsis: von Mehren talks about the annual dinners that the law clerks held and what type of event those dinners were. He talks about meeting with Reed as Reed was aging and his impressions of the older Justice.

[Break from 0:42:32-0:42:48]

Keywords: Clerks; Dinners; Justice Reed; Justice Stanley Reed; Justices; Law clerks

Subjects: Aging; Reed, Stanley Forman, 1884-1980.; United States. Supreme Court; Washington; Washington (D.C.); Washington (D.C.)--Social life and customs

00:44:41 - Reed's character / Closing remarks

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What about Reed the man?

Segment Synopsis: In this closing section, von Mehren talks about Reed's character from the perspective of a law clerk. von Mehren claims that he only ever saw Reed from the perspective of a law clerk and that he never knew Reed as anything other than a judge. That being said, von Mehren describes attributes of Reed's character and provides an anecdote to expand on his descriptions.

Keywords: Attributes; Clerks; Justice Reed; Justice Stanley Reed; Justices; Law clerks

Subjects: Judges; Reed, Stanley Forman, 1884-1980.; United States. Supreme Court; United States. Supreme Court--Cases