Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Passing of Anthony Lewis, Chronicler of the Court

Last week when I wrote about the 50th anniversary Gideon v. Wainright, the decision that guaranteed free lawyers to indigent criminal defendants, I mentioned that one of my all-time favorite books on the law was Gideon's Trumpet by Anthony Lewis.

The New York Times has reported that Lewis passed away on Monday at the age of 85.

Lewis was not only a first class journalist, he had also studied at Harvard Law School as well. From the Times obit:

Mr. Lewis cut a striking figure in Washington. He was 'cool, lean, well-scrubbed looking, intense and brilliant," Gay Talese wrote in "The Kingdom and the Power,”"his 1969 history of The Times. "Lewis seemed tightly contained at all times, incredibly controlled, his orderly mind concentrating on only those things that were relevant now, at this second."


"There’s a kind of lucidity and directness to his prose," said Joseph Lelyveld, a former executive editor of The Times. "You learned an awful lot of law just from reading Tony Lewis’s accounts of opinions."

Although he had long retired from covering the Supreme Court, I sure wish Lewis was around to interpret the oral arguments that will be heard today and tomorrow at the court on the issue of same sex marriage.