The Atlantic Lauds Emanuel’s Tuttle Biography

ATLANTA – Georgia State University College of Law Professor Anne Emanuel’s book, Elbert Parr Tuttle: Chief Jurist of the Civil Rights Revolution (The University of Georgia Press), was one of a dozen books named in CBS News legal analyst and editor Andrew Cohen’s article “A Year In Books: Tell Me Something I Didn’t Know,” published recently on The Atlantic website.

Emanuel’s book is the first and only biography of Tuttle, the civil rights icon who as chief judge for the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over most of the Deep South had shouldered the responsibility of ensuring that the U.S. Supreme Court’s desegregation rulings were enforced.

In a column answering to Newt Gingrich’s latest tirades against the judiciary, “Judge-Bashing Comes to the 2012 GOP Race,” published on The Atlantic website the same day, Cohen also cited Emanuel’s book:

“Anne Emanuel’s important new book, Elbert Parr Tuttle, Chief Jurist of the Civil Rights Revolution, reminds us that some legal conflicts are destined to come down to a judge and an angry mob. Tuttle was the Eisenhower appointee who, as the Chief Judge of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, consistently put into practice, in the Deep South, the Supreme Court’s lofty promise of school desegregation. Emanuel tells his story well but it’s clear that Judge Tuttle, for whom she clerked, was spared the brunt of the mob’s fury.

“For example, Emanuel takes us back to November 23, 1960, a particularly ugly day in the annals of political attacks upon the judiciary. U.S. District Judge J. Skelly Wright was a Louisiana-born federal judge who oversaw the desegregation of public schools in New Orleans at great personal peril and cost. Here is what he had to deal with when he sought in his own backyard to implement the mandates of the two Brown v. Board of Education decisions. Of November 23, Emanuel writes:

[A]n extraordinary session of the Louisiana legislature had been interrupted by a ‘mourners’ march’ commemorating November 14, 1960, when a handful of African American children had first attended white public schools in New Orleans. The paraders carried a coffin in which lay a blackened doll dressed in judicial robes and labeled “Smelly Wright.’ Louisiana lawmakers gave the marchers a standing ovation.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email