Goldberg, Arthur J. (1908–1990)

Author:Linda Greenhouse

Page 1200

Arthur Joseph Goldberg's tenure on the Supreme Court was a brief chapter in a long and distinguished career. He served fewer than three years, from October 1, 1962, until he resigned on July 25, 1965, to become the United States ambassador to the United Nations. Goldberg consistently voted with the WARREN COURT majority on CIVIL LIBERTIES and CRIMINAL PROCEDURE issues, although three terms as the Court's junior Justice scarcely gave him enough time to develop a distinctive voice on the major constitutional questions of that active period.

When Goldberg came to the Court, the unanimity of the earlier Warren years had begun to erode. The Court was struggling to give specific content to the broad principles established in the landmark rulings of the 1950s and early 1960s. Goldberg's appointment to replace FELIX FRANKFURTER allowed the flowering of the liberal JUDICIAL ACTIVISM for which the Warren Court is best remembered. Frequently his vote helped to create a bare majority for a FIRST AMENDMENT claim or for the rights of a criminal defendant.

ESCOBEDO V. ILLINOIS (1964), Justice Goldberg's best known opinion for the Court, was such a case. A year before, in GIDEON V. WAINWRIGHT, the Court had ruled unanimously that the state was required to provide counsel for an indigent defendant accused of a serious crime. The question in Escobedo was at what stage in the process from arrest through INDICTMENT the Sixth Amendment RIGHT TO COUNSEL attached. Voting 5?4, the Court overturned the murder conviction of a man whose request to consult a lawyer during interrogation by the police had been denied. In his opinion, Goldberg wrote: "The fact that many confessions are obtained during this period points up its critical nature as a "stage when legal aid and advice' are surely needed. The right to counsel would indeed be hollow if it began at a period when few confessions were obtained." Escobedo thus pried open the door for MIRANDA V. ARIZONA (1966).

Goldberg's opinions for the Court also contributed to the growth of the First Amendment's protection of the freedoms of expression and association. COX V. LOUISIANA (1965) promoted the development of the concept of the "public forum." GIBSON V. FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE (1963) remains a major precedent for protecting the privacy of political association. And APTHEKER V. SECRETARY OF STATE (1964) struck down a section of the Subversive Activities Control Act of...

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