A very brief (and incomplete) tribute to Alexander M. Bickel

This is an excerpt from a comment to one of Glenn Greenwald’s posts over at Salon.com.  Greenwald is writing about NBC’s decision to terminate the Donahue show because of Donahue’s propensity to book “anti-war” critics.

“All of which reminds me, by stark comparison, of the Pentagon Papers case. By repeatedly lying to the American people, our top government leaders lost our respect and our support. Something had to be done. Daniel Ellsberg, Katherine Graham and the NYT are among those who had the courage to act. And so did my landlord, Alexander M. Bickel. 

Bickel argued the Pentagon Papers case for the NYT before the Supreme Court. He was a Yale law professor, a great constitutional law scholar, one of the best writers about the court and one of the kindest persons I had ever met. And he was by no means a left wing liberal. He was above all, a man of principle, and so were the leaders of the Post and of the Times back then. Try to imagine, if you will, the courage it must have taken Bickel, who would have been and could have been one of the greatest Supreme Court justices, to take on the Nixon administration in a time of war. There were rumors that Bickel had been on Nixon’s short list for the Supreme Court.”

You can find Greenwald’s post here, and the entire comment from which this excerpt is taken here.