The Bill of Rights– Can It Survive?

William M. Kunstler, The Bill of Rights– Can It Survive?,26 Gonz. L. Rev. 1 (1990).

It is a distinct pleasure for me to appear here tonight and give the nineteenth WilliamDouglas Lecture. Although I argued before him on a number of occasions, I met him face to face only once. A score or so years ago, my brother and I had come to Yakima in a last ditch effort to obtain a stay for a soldier who was about to be shipped to Vietnam. We had been told to meet the Justice at his cabin but, when we arrived there, no one answered our knock. We then tried the front door and found, to our immense surprise, that it was unlocked. We took it upon ourselves to enter and, when our quarry arrived, he gave us holy hell for violating his right of privacy. Our punishment was to sit and do inner penance for an hour while he went somewhere on the premises to consider our application. While he eventually granted the relief we had sought, I can’t say that the experience was what I would characterize as a friendly encounter. However, it did teach me that no one-not even a Supreme Court Justice who, with some notable exceptions, Korematsu, the Japanese-American relocation case being one, was firmly in support of the Bill of Rights-was immune to personal irritation. Wherever he may be tonight, I hope that he will regard this effort as some amends on my part for what was clearly, in the words of the old common law scriveners, trespass quare clausum fregit. . .

Read More

[PDF]         [Westlaw]          [LexisNexis]

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.