Oral History Project
The Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit

Oral History Project United States Courts
The Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit
District of Columbia Circuit
Interviews conducted by:
Stuart F. Pierson, Esquire
June 6, August 13, October 16, November 7 and December 16, 2013

Preface……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. i
Oral History Agreements
Abe Krash, Esquire ……………………………………………………………………………………………… iii
Stuart F. Pierson, Esquire………………………………………………………………………………………..v
Oral History Transcripts of Interviews
June 6, 2013 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….1
August 13, 2013 …………………………………………………………………………………………………..39
October 16, 2013 ………………………………………………………………………………………………….73
November 7, 2013 ………………………………………………………………………………………………119
December 16, 2013 ………………………………………………………………………………………….141
Index ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. A-1
Table of Cases ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………B-1
Biographical Sketches
Abe Krash, Esquire …………………………………………………………………………………………….C-1
Stuart F. Pierson, Esquire…………………………………………………………………………………….C-3
The following pages record interviews conducted on the dates indicated. The interviews were
recorded digitally or on cassette tape, and the interviewee and the interviewer have been afforded
an opportunity to review and edit the transcript.
The contents hereof and all literary rights pertaining hereto are governed by, and are subject to, the
Oral History Agreements included herewith.
© 2014 Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit.
All rights reserved.
The goal of the Oral History Project of the Historical Society of the District of Columbia
Circuit is to preserve the recollections of the judges of the Courts of the District of Columbia
Circuit and lawyers, court staff, and others who played important roles in the history of the Circuit.
The Project began in 1991. Oral history interviews are conducted by volunteer attorneys who are
trained by the Society. Before donating the oral history to the Society, both the subject of the
history and the interviewer have had an opportunity to review and edit the transcripts.
Indexed transcripts of the oral histories and related documents are available in the Judges’
Library in the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C., the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, and the library of the
Historical Society of the District of Columbia
With the permission of the person being interviewed, oral histories are also available on the
Internet through the Society’s Web site, www.dcchs.org. Audio recordings of most interviews, as
well as electronic versions of the transcripts, are in the custody of the Society.

Schedule A
Tapes recordings, digital recordings, transcripts, computer diskettes and electronic media resulting
from three interviews of Abe Krash, conducted on the following dates:
Pages of
Interview No. and Date Number of Tapes or CDs Final
No. 1, June 6, 2013 } 1-38
No. 2, August 13, 2013 } 39-72
No. 3, October 16, 2013 } All on one flash drive 73-118
No. 4, November 7, 2013 } 119-140
No. 5, December 16, 2013 } 141-169
The transcripts of the five interviews are contained on one flash drive.

Schedule A
Tapes recordings, digital recordings, transcripts, computer diskettes and electronic media resulting
from three interviews of Abe Krash, conducted on the following dates:
Pages of
Interview No. and Date Number of Tapes or CDs Final
No. 1, June 6, 2013 } 1-38
No. 2, August 13, 2013 } 39-72
No. 3, October 16, 2013 } All on one flash drive 73-118
No. 4, November 7, 2013 } 119-140
No. 5, December 16, 2013 } 141-169
The transcripts of the five interviews are contained on one flash drive.
Oral History of Abe Krash
First Interview
June 6, 2013
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of the Historical Society
of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewee is Abe Krash, Esquire, and the interviewer is
Stuart Pierson, Esquire. The interview took place on June 6, 2013. This is the first interview.
Mr. Pierson: It is June, 6, 2013 and I’m Stuart Pierson with the D.C. Circuit Historical
Society and with me is Abe Krash who through the course of these interviews
we will all get to know for his remarkable career in Washington, DC. And
unless you have other introductory remarks Abe, I thought we would start with
your birth and your childhood.
Mr. Krash: Well as Robert Hutchins, a former President of the University of
Chicago, used to say, I was born in the usual way on April 26, 1927, in
Menominee, Michigan. My father was a rabbi in an adjacent town, Marinette,
Wisconsin. The hospital was in Menominee. He married my mother a year
before, in 1926. My father was born in the village of Butrimonis in Lithuania,
which was then a part of Russia, around 1890. We never really knew when he
was born because he never divulged that to us. But I would say that he was
born no later than 1890, and he grew up in Lithuania. We liked to kid him
years later about all the amazing things that happened during the twentieth
century. He didn’t die until 1984. The world was revolutionized in his lifetime.
In any event, he came from a family where his father, too, was a rabbi, and he
came from a very religious background. He studied in seminaries in Lithuania,
where he was ordained as a rabbi as a young man, and then he immigrated to
the United States in the early 1920s. He was one of five children. Two of his
siblings, a brother and a sister, settled in Chicago, and a third settled in
Alliance, Ohio, and became a very successful scrap metal dealer. My father
came with a twin sister to the United States. She had some kind of illness– I
– 2 –
don’t know what type– but in any event, she was not allowed into the country,
and he took her back to Lithuania before returning to the United States. She
was subsequently killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. My father settled
first in Chicago, and then he became a rabbi in the small town of Marinette
near the Wisconsin/Michigan border.
Mr. Pierson: Do you know why he would have gone from Chicago to Marinette?
Mr. Krash: He got a job as a rabbi there. Then around 1928 or 1929, he accepted a job as
an assistant rabbi for a synagogue in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was very
attracted to that because the University of Utah is in Salt Lake City, and he
very much wanted to matriculate in an American University, which he
previously had not had an opportunity to do. Upon arriving in Salt Lake City,
he immediately enrolled in the University of Utah, and he ultimately got a
master’s degree in history. All his life, that was one of the things he had wanted
to do. That was really the moment that changed his life. He greatly cherished
that experience throughout his lifetime. He remained in Salt Lake City for five
or six years, and then he was offered the position as rabbi in charge of a
congregation in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Mr. Pierson: Did he ever reflect on the Mormon experience when he was in Salt Lake
City, Utah?
Mr. Krash: No, I don’t recall that. But he did feel that the people in Salt Lake were very
friendly and very cordial to him, and he liked being in Salt Lake, but he had
this opportunity to go to Cheyenne. People are often amused that he went as a
rabbi to Cheyenne, a small western town. What happened basically was that as
– 3 –
the Jewish migration from Europe came to America, most people first settled in
eastern and Midwestern cities. Then, looking for work, many of them pressed
westward to Kansas City and Omaha and particularly to Denver, where there
was a very large Jewish community by the 1930s. In any event, by the time my
father arrived in 1935, there was a thriving Jewish community in Cheyenne. It
is the capital of the state of Wyoming and there was a large army base on the
edge of the town, Fort Francis E. Warren, which was a quartermaster base.
During World War II, it was very much expanded. Cheyenne is also the site of
a big Union Pacific railroad repair yard, and it was the center for all of the
surrounding ranches as a source of supply. At the time when my father came, in
1935, the country was in the midst of the Depression. The Cheyenne Jewish
community consisted of somewhere between a 100 and 125 families, so it was
a substantial Jewish community. Most of the Jewish residents were merchants.
They owned clothing stores, sporting goods stores, pawn shops and liquor
stores, and they were quite successful.
Mr. Pierson: Was his the only synagogue?
Mr. Krash: His was the only synagogue in the state. My father was a man of small stature,
very soft spoken, very scholarly and studious. He would frequently say to me
“Do you have a book in your hand?” That is the way my father spoke to me.
In years later, one of the things that was sad for me was becoming aware that
where I grew up there was marvelous mountain fishing nearby. My father
knew nothing about that. In Cheyenne, he was very much welcomed by the
Jewish community in his early years. But then what happened was that as
many of the folks became more financially successful, they became more
assimilated. The congregation when he became rabbi was orthodox; many of
– 4 –
the members were immigrants, but their children were less orthodox, less
observant. My father spoke with an accent. He spoke fluent English, but he
spoke with an accent. I think a number of the members wanted a different type
of rabbi, who had greater social skills than my father possessed.
Consequently, the congregation split into different factions. In 1944, my
father concluded he was unable to heal the schism in the congregation, and he
decided to leave Cheyenne to accept a position as rabbi of a congregation in
New Castle, Pennsylvania. Then, after five years there, he became a rabbi for
a congregation in Madison, Wisconsin, and thereafter in Farrell, Pennsylvania.
Finally he was rabbi of a small congregation in Washington, DC before he
retired in his late 70s in 1970.
Mr. Pierson: Which was the synagogue here?
Mr. Krash: It was called the Washington Highlands Jewish Center in Southwest D.C. It’s
now closed. My father had a very hard time throughout his life. Basically,
during his lifetime there were tremendous transformations going on in the
American Jewish community. There was great tension within many
communities between the more observant and their children who were less
observant people. It was a very tough time for many of the orthodox rabbis,
who struggled to reconcile the conflicting views. One thing my father had was
this great love for learning and books. He always wanted to obtain a doctorate,
and he took advanced courses in New York and in Israel in an effort to achieve
that goal.
Turning to my mother, her name was Florence Kaplan. My father married her
in 1926. She also came from a family of rabbis. She was living at the time he
– 5 –
married her in Duluth, Minnesota. How he came to know about her, I don’t
know. She was one of eight children. There were six sisters and two brothers. I
think she was the second oldest.
Mr. Pierson: Had her family been in the states for a while?
Mr. Krash: Yes, I think they had been here for several years when my father met her. My
mother went to high school here. She was a very intelligent, a very bright
woman, who, unfortunately, never had the opportunity to get a college
education. She spoke five languages and taught children in the Hebrew schools
where my father was rabbi. Unlike my father, who was very quiet and very
reserved, my mother was vivacious, very outgoing, very warm. She was very
supportive of her family. When we came to Cheyenne, which is where I grew
up, I was seven or eight years old. I skipped second grade and entered the third
grade and then completed the rest of my public school education there.
Cheyenne, at that time, was a community of approximately 25,000 people. You
have to remember that Wyoming had only been a state for about a half century
at that time. It was very much the west.
Mr. Pierson: Did you have any Indian or Mexican classmates there?
Mr. Krash: I had no Indian classmates. However, I had one or two Mexican classmates.
Mr. Pierson: Were there Indians on the reservations?
Mr. Krash: The Indians were on the reservations. We didn’t see them until Frontier Days,
which was a famous rodeo that took place every summer during the last week
of July, and then Indians were brought into the city for that event. In the high
school I attended, Cheyenne Senior High School, I was very fortunate in that
the principal was a man by the name of Karl Winchell. He was very
– 6 –
supportive of me. I was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The
Lariat. I also was the Wyoming state oratory champion. A lot of the reason I
had contact with Winchell was because at the beginning of the 9th or 10th grade,
I began to write articles for one of the two daily newspapers in Cheyenne.
One was called The Eagle, which was a morning newspaper; the other was
called The Tribune, an afternoon newspaper. They were both owned by the
same man, a man by the name of Tracy McCracken. I reported on high school
sports events. One thing led to the other. During World War II — now I’m
talking about 1941 to 1944, the papers’ sports editor had gone off to fight.
High school sports were important in a small town like Cheyenne, so I began
to write these stories about the high school football and basketball games, and,
pretty soon, I was writing more and more stories. I would go down to the
newspaper office after school, and after a while they gave me a desk and a
typewriter. I learned how to type with two fingers. I was writing more and
more. To make a long story short, when I was in about the 10th or the 11th
grade, they made me the sports editor of The Eagle morning newspaper.
Every day after school, r would rush down there and write a half a dozen
articles. I had a sports column with my picture on it. I would cover the high
school sports events, and a few University of Wyoming events. What was
quite wonderful was that I was around reporters at the newspaper and getting
to know them and getting to know what a newspaper was like. McCracken,
the owner, later, became famous in the pictures of President Kennedy’s
nomination to be President at the Democratic Convention in 1960, when
Wyoming was the state that pushed him over the top. McCracken is the fellow
in the picture shown voting for Kennedy that confirmed his nomination.
– 7 –
Mr. Pierson: He was the head of the delegation.
Mr. Krash: I believe he was the head of the delegation. I’m not sure that he was head, but
he was a very passionate Democrat and an alumnus and very strong supporter
of the University of Wyoming. He wanted me to go to the University of
Wyoming, which I didn’t do. But this experience with the newspaper was a
very valuable one because I learned to write under pressure. In going to sports
events, I had to immediately come after the game to the office and write the
article for the morning paper.
Mr. Pierson: Was the University of Wyoming in Cheyenne?
Mr. Krash: No, It was in Laramie, which is about 40 miles away. Actually, it was quite
a ways away in those days because of gas rationing.
Mr. Pierson: Did you drive to it?
Mr. Krash: You could drive, if you were lucky. On Saturday mornings in the
autumn, there was a train which would take people over to the football games. I
didn’t cover the University’s football games. McCracken owned many
newspapers throughout Wyoming as well as the radio station in Cheyenne. I
became a sports broadcaster too. I was broadcasting the high school games. I
began to learn to be a sports broadcaster. As I said, writing a lot of articles
under pressure and being around newspaper people every day, I began to learn
what the newspaper trade was all about.
Mr. Pierson: Did they give you basics on what an article should be like?
Mr. Krash: Oh, yes they did. The city editor and the other reporters were extremely nice
to me and very supportive and encouraged me.
Mr. Pierson: Get it all in one paragraph?
– 8 –
Mr. Krash: Oh yes, like “what, when and how”. I learned as well how to make up the
layout for the sports page. I also remember being in the newspaper office on
the Sunday of Pearl Harbor with the teletypes flashing. In high school, for
whatever reason, I kind of blossomed. I had been kind of restless and erratic in
junior high school, but in high school I blossomed. Particularly, I think,
because Karl Winchell, who was a father figure for me in all kinds of ways. If I
got out of line, he would really reign me in. He would read me the riot act.
Mr. Pierson: What was your mother and father’s influence?
Mr. Krash: Well, my father was greatly puzzled by all of this. He never went to any of the
high school games. He didn’t know what the devil I was doing. But he was
rather proud of the fact that every morning there was the newspaper with my
byline and my column. It was a nice thing, and I think he took a lot of
derivative pride in it, as did my mother. But my father wouldn’t know the
difference between a baseball and a football. He just didn’t go to any of the
games. Here I was running off covering all these football and basketball games.
He was very encouraging and supportive, but a little puzzled by all of it. What
he was mainly interested in was what kind of grades was I getting and what
was I studying. That was the primary concern for him.
Mr. Pierson: And your mother?
Mr. Krash: My mother was very supportive of everything I did. She was very encouraging
and backed me up. Cheyenne was a community that was very open and tolerant
on the whole. There was prejudice, no doubt about that. For example, there
was only a single country club in town, and no Jewish person would be
admitted to the country club. Another example was the Frontier Days
Committee, which consisted of a group of business men who ran the rodeo.
– 9 –
You would never see a Jewish businessman in that group. But I experienced
very little prejudice or discrimination. Some of my friends were part of a social
group from which I was excluded, but as I said I was the editor in chief of the
high school student newspaper. I was on the debate team. I won the state
oratory championship and there were many, many good teachers who were
very encouraging in high school and supportive of me. Particularly, I recall an
English teacher, a Miss Gibson, who was excellent, and a debate coach, Miss
Rice, who was very supportive.
Mr. Pierson: Did you take a foreign language?
Mr. Krash: I took Spanish one year. My regret in retrospect was that I was primarily
interested in humanities, and I should have been more interested in math and
science. The educational system was probably not the same caliber that one
would get in a high school in a big metropolitan area, but it was reasonably
good. The teachers were supportive and they were very encouraging. I
certainly had lots of chances to do all sorts of things.
Mr. Pierson: How about your brothers and sisters?
Mr. Krash: I have a sister and a brother. My sister was born a couple of years after me in
Salt Lake City. Her name is Hadassah. She later became a teacher. She studied
at the University of Wisconsin and she became a teacher in the New York
Public School System, where she taught for a quarter of a century. Afterward,
she went to Israel and lived there for 10 or 15 years. She lived in Jerusalem.
Her daughter served in the Israeli Defense Forces, went to college there, and
later moved back to the United States for graduate school at Columbia
University. She is now a professor of political science at the Maxwell School
at Syracuse University. I also have a brother, who was born in Salt Lake City 4
– 10 –
or 5 years after I was born. His name is Esomor. Subsequently, he went to the
University of Wisconsin. My father was a rabbi in Madison during the time my
brother went to school there and afterward. That’s why my brother went to
school there. My brother subsequently owned and managed a press clipping
service in Washington, DC for many years. He then retired to Hawaii. He now
lives in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife Elliott. He has one son, Ethan, and
two grandchildren, who also live in Richmond.
Mr. Pierson: What were your brother and sister doing in school while you were there?
They were behind you?
Mr. Krash: They were behind me. Yes, of course, my sister was 2 years behind me and
my brother was 4 or 5 years behind me.
Mr. Pierson: What was the influence of the war?
Mr. Krash: I vividly recall being in the offices of the newspaper on the day of December
7th. I remember sitting at home listening to the radio. I used to listen to the
music program around 1:00 p.m., and they were breaking into it announcing
the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I rushed down to the newspaper office– it was
just seven or eight blocks away from our house– and the office had been open
because they wanted to put out an extra edition. Remember, there was no
television in those days.
Mr. Pierson: Was there a ticker?
Mr. Krash: There was an AP ticker. There was indeed. There was a cubicle where the AP
ticker was and you could hear the bells ringing. The ticker would ring 10
times for a flash. I remember being in there when the AP ticker would go off
and they were publishing
– 11 –
an extra edition.
Mr. Pierson: Did you write any of those editions?
Mr. Krash: No I didn’t. The articles were all coming off the ticker tape. The effects of the
war on Cheyenne occurred, first of all, at Fort Warren, which became an
enormously expanded quartermaster base. My father became, in effect, a
chaplain. They called on him because there was no Jewish chaplain at Fort
Warren, and they asked him if he would conduct services for the soldiers. My
father was delighted to do that. Soldiers were in our home frequently during the
war requesting all kinds of assistance. I remember one wintery morning, they
wanted my father to meet a troop train coming through Cheyenne. I remember
my father waking me. They sent a car to our house and drove us to the train,
which was on a siding outside the city. I remember my father went into the
railroad coaches, and I followed him. There were quite a number of Jewish
soldiers and he conducted a morning service for the soldiers. They were on
their way to the west coast. As I said, soldiers were frequently at our house
seeking my father’s assistance in getting their girlfriends out there, getting
married or helping them get assigned, or if they were having some kind of
emotional or spiritual problems. My father was very much involved in that
during the war. Fort Warren was right on the edge of the city. I could get on
my bike and go there because it was only four or five miles away. It was right
on the edge of the town. For the soldiers, Cheyenne was the place to go for
shopping, recreation, or visiting bars. The war really greatly stimulated the
Cheyenne economy and changed the whole culture of the town.
Mr. Pierson: In what way?
– 12 –
Mr. Krash: Well, in all ways. There were thousands of soldiers in the Cheyenne
community, and many of the business owners became wealthy as a result
of the soldiers shopping for their families and girlfriends. The war affected
us in many different ways. First of all, people’s cars were jacked up in the
garage because there was gas rationing and you couldn’t go anywhere. Gas
rationing was very stringent and food rationing was also in place. There
was a Japanese relocation center in Wyoming, which I knew nothing about
at the time. The high school instituted an ROTC program which was run
by a former army colonel, who was a very able and effective guy. My
classmates and I were too young to go into the service. We were in our
mid-teens. I would follow the war every day by being in the newspaper
office and talking to other folks in the newspaper office and reading the
papers. But, physically, the war was quite remote. We were not like cities
on the east or west coasts. My wife told me that on Long Island, where she
lived during the war, they had black outs and air raid drills and had to
cover their windows at night. My father, particularly, followed it very
intensely and wanted to listen to the news each and every day. He’d listen
very carefully to find out what was going on in the war.
Mr. Pierson: Were there any Japanese or German citizens in the town?
Mr. Krash: I’m sure there were some persons of German descent. We had one or two
Japanese students at the school. As far as T know, nobody in any way, treated
them badly. There were various war time collections such as cans, aluminum
foil, and things of that sort that I remember. There was no question that the war
– 13 –
impacted us and affected our ability to travel. Everybody had ration books.
There were very limited supplies of certain common items. But the war was
still quite a distance away. Except that there were soldiers all around us at Fort
Mr. Pierson: Was the U.P. the only railroad?
Mr. Krash: I believe the Burlington went through Cheyenne also. The Union Pacific was
the transcontinental railroad that went through Cheyenne, west through Rock
Springs, Salt Lake City and to the Coast. There was a major Union Pacific
railroad repair shop in
Cheyenne. One of my friend’s fathers worked for the railroad. The railroad was
very much a part of the city. The other significant part was the state Capital,
and I became friends with the son of the Governor. But you have to realize that
Cheyenne was a small town. Cheyenne was a town of about 22 to 23 thousand
people except for the influx of soldiers. But basically a small town.
Mr. Pierson: You knew many of the people of your age.
Mr. Krash: Oh yes, I knew many of the people of my age. Particularly, because I was
the sports editor of the morning paper.
Mr. Pierson: Everybody wanted to know you.
Mr. Krash: They wanted to know me. Naturally, the athletes wanted to know me
because I was writing about them almost every day, five days a week.
Mr. Pierson: Did any of those athletes go on to distinguish themselves later?
Mr. Krash: The University of Wyoming won the National Collegiate Basketball
Championship in 1944. One of the players was Ken Sailors, who was from our
high school. They were really nutty about basketball at the University of
– 14 –
Wyoming, and they had very good teams. My high school basketball team won
the state championship for two years. The last two years I was in high school
they were very excited about the state championship. I didn’t play on any of the
varsity teams. I wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t big enough to play. I was
covering it.
Mr. Pierson: Was basketball your favorite sport?
Mr. Krash: Yes, it was. I also played touch football on weekends with friends. I would
play softball; I use to play a little tennis, but I wasn’t any good at it. Basically I
was a sports writer; I was covering sports stories in my junior and senior years
of high school. Esquire magazine decided to pick a player in each state to have
an east-west baseball game in New York City and they picked one player from
Mr. Pierson: High school All Stars?
Mr. Krash: Yes. As a sports writer of Cheyenne, I was invited to come. I went to New
Mr. Pierson: What year are we in right now?
Mr. Krash: 1944. For me the excitement was going to New York. The big city for us
was Denver. Denver was only 100 miles away, but far away at that time
because of gas rationing. I remember going to Denver when the University of
Wyoming played basketball and I broadcast the game. I went to Denver, for
example, for a big regional debate championship event, which was at Denver
East High School. But it was not a readily accessible place during the war
years because of the gas rationing.
– 15 –
Mr. Pierson: So when you went to New York for this All Star game, were you there for
a weekend?
Mr. Krash: No, it was for more than that. It was for about a week I would say.
Mr. Pierson: You took the train back?
Mr. Krash: I took the train back and forth. However, I did go on a plane once. My first
plane trip was to the state oratory finals in Casper. I went there to speak. I won
the state oratory championship there. I believe I flew home from there. That
was the first time I flew. The war impacted us tremendously and really
constricted us. We could barely get around.
Mr. Pierson: So when you went to New York and you were there for a week, did you
happen to see the city and what was it like?
Mr. Krash: It was a shock. Denver was the largest city I had previously visited, and in the
1940’s it was not a big city as it is now. I was stunned by the bustle and
liveliness of New York.
Going back to the experience of being Jewish and growing up in a small town
like Cheyenne, as I’ve said, I did not experience much discrimination. There
were some very amusing incidents. My brother, when he was about 7 or 8 was
given an Irish Setter puppy. A neighbor had an Irish Setter who had a litter
and gave my brother a beautiful little puppy, which my brother brought home
and displayed to my father. My father came from a background in Europe
where dogs were associated with peasants, and no rabbi would have a dog in
his house. He said you are not permitted to keep it. He said we could keep it
two weeks and that’s it. During the next two weeks, the dog got bigger and we
became fond of it. To make a long story short, my father allowed us to keep
– 16 –
it. He, himself, became very fond of the dog. However, he did not wish to be
seen with it by members of his congregation. He would walk the dog at night
in the winter. During the wintertime in Cheyenne, it is bitterly cold. But he
would walk the dog and the dog would sit with my father in his study when he
was preparing his sermons. He became very fond of it.
Mr. Pierson: What was the dog’s name?
Mr. Krash: We named the dog Flash. He was a beautiful Irish Setter. My mother was
very fond of him also. There was a very funny episode involving the dog.
There was a meeting in our home involving some dispute in the
congregation. Some rabbis from Denver came to our home and joined the
Trustees of my father’s congregation in our living room. My father warned us
in advance that the dog must be kept out of sight. So Flash was placed in the
back bedroom. However, somehow he got out and immediately raced into the
living room where all these people were present. Flash raced towards my
father, who of course, pretended not to know him. He said it was some
neighbor’s kid’s dog. We laughed about it later, but it was kind of
embarrassing for him. The truth is that the Jews and our family were in many
ways an alien group in the larger culture in Cheyenne. My father never really
connected with that larger culture.
Mr. Pierson: But you did.
Mr. Krash: Yes, I did through my school. My father lived on the edge of the community
in truth. Things like going fishing, horseback riding, I didn’t do because, to
my father, those things were strange or alien. My memories of my father
were of him sitting studying.
– 17 –
Mr. Pierson: So you are out in the West in Wyoming and there is a lot of beautiful country
around you. Did your sister and brother get out in the country?
Mr. Krash: No, they didn’t. I repeat, it was for a variety reasons. Cheyenne is not a
particularly interesting geographical part of the state. Laramie is a beautiful
and interesting part of the state. The most interesting part of Wyoming,
probably, is around Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. There were ranches all
around Cheyenne. The kids from the ranches would come into town on school
buses. I don’t ever recall going to a ranch, though. I was friends with the
children of ranchers and farmers, because there was only one high school and
I got to know them. But I knew nothing about their lives, and I was never
invited out there so I knew nothing about that. I grew up in a small western
town, but I was part of the culture only in a very peripheral way. Years later, I
worked with Judge Arnold, who grew up in Laramie, and who really reflected
the western culture. He had this kind of openness, irreverence and
antiauthoritarianism. He absorbed the western culture more than I did.
Mr. Pierson: What about your classmates in high school, did they have any
aspirations to go to college?
Mr. Krash: Yes they did. Almost all of them went to college. Very few remained in
Cheyenne, because there was basically nothing for them to do there following
their graduation. One of my best friends, Peter Hanson, became an architect
and then a professor at the University of Wyoming. He was a very close friend
of mine. Another friend went to the University of Colorado, which was a very
prized school to go to in my time. McCracken, the publisher of the newspaper,
wanted me to go to the University of Wyoming, from which he was an
alumnus. But, Karl Winchell, principal of my high school, said “Go east young
– 18 –
man”. One of the main reasons I went East upon finishing high school was
because of the influence of my mother’s youngest brother. He was the star of
the family; his name was Abraham Kaplan. He had gone to the University of
Chicago in the late 1930s as a graduate student. He was taught by many
distinguished professors at Chicago, including Bertrand Russell, who was there
at the time. He later became Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at
UCLA and, afterward, he was a professor of philosophy at the University of
Michigan. Abraham Kaplan was a distinguished teacher. He was named by
Time magazine as one of ten best university teachers in the country. When I
was a young man, he was already renowned in the family as being a brilliant
guy. Since he had attended the University of Chicago, that was obviously the
place to go. If someone said to me “have you considered going to Yale or
Harvard, or Michigan,” I would have responded that I knew nothing about
those schools. My world was very limited and closed in. All I knew was that
Karl Winchell said you should go to an eastern university, and the University
of Chicago was fine. As I said, the war was still on, but one would not get
drafted until one was 18 and I was only 17 when I graduated from high school
in June of 1944. I did well in high school. I was considered to be among the
best students. I received lots of honors from the school because I was editor of
the student paper and a champion orator. At the end of June 1944, my father
left the congregation in Cheyenne and become the rabbi in New Castle,
Pennsylvania. I applied to the University of Chicago. Because of the war and
my being a fellow from Wyoming — I am sure there were very few
applications from Wyoming– it was not a big deal to get admitted.
Mr. Pierson: With a recommendation from Karl Winchell I’m sure.
Mr. Krash: Oh yes, r received all kinds of recommendations. Anyway I sailed into the
– 19 –
University of Chicago. It was very different from my children and
grandchildren’s experience of the admissions process. It was a different
Mr. Pierson: So when did you arrive in Chicago for the first time?
Mr. Krash: During the fall of 1944, after my family moved to New Castle, Pennsylvania,
and I moved with them. I remember we took the train from Cheyenne to New
Castle. My family rented an apartment there, and I was with them. In
September, 1944, I went off to college at the University of Chicago without the
slightest idea of what I was going to get into or what it was like.
Mr. Pierson: Had you been to Chicago before?
Mr. Krash: No I had not. I remember going with my mother to the train station in New
Castle to go to Chicago. This was a kind of great adventure for me. I was off to
Mr. Pierson: Any of your high school classmates there as well?
Mr. Krash: No.
Mr. Pierson: You did not know anyone at the University of Chicago?
Mr. Krash: I did not. Some of my father’s family lived on the North Side, but I was on the
South Side of Chicago in Hyde Park. They were way off on the North Side, so
I really knew no one. I was 17 when I arrived at the University. This was the
era of Robert Hutchins. He was president of the University. It was war time.
The college at the U of C in those days began in the 11th grade and took many
11th graders as freshmen. I came as a high school graduate, which meant that I
could complete the college in two years. They had placement examinations to
determine where you should be slotted. I took the array of placement
– 20 –
examinations and was admitted as a conventional college freshman. I went to
live in one of the residence halls. It was called Burton Judson Court. All over
the campus the war was very much of a reality. There were various buildings
in which armed guards were posted. You have to remember that a lot of the
atomic research was going on at the University of Chicago. I’ll tell you about it
later. At any rate, the reality is that I knew nothing about what I was going to
get into when I arrived. I didn’t have the foggiest idea. All I knew was that I
was going to college. But I didn’t have any idea about what college or the
University of Chicago was like.
Mr. Pierson: Did they have courses that you had to take?
Mr. Krash: Everything was mandatory. You had no electives at all for people like me.
There was a program that was prescribed for students like me for their first two
years in the college. I took the required courses in humanities, social science,
biological science, and physical science. Then the second year you took
advanced classes in these subjects. The second year I also took a course
entitled Observation, Interpretation, and Integration. It was essentially an
introduction to philosophy. The U of C was a great culture shock for me. It
was a truly spectacular place. Nearly all my classes were small discussion
groups. There were some supplemental lectures, but basically we were in small
discussion groups. We did not have text books. We read only original books.
They were the great books. You would read and come to class of 25 students
and we would have a discussion. That is the way we were taught. There were
no exams except at end of the year. It was called a comprehensive exam.
Everything was prescribed. Everyone took the same courses regardless of
– 21 –
whether they were going to be a doctor, physicist, engineer, or whatever, we
were all taking the same courses.
Mr. Pierson: Very much like the English system.
Mr. Krash: Yes, except probably not as demanding as the English system. The emphasis
was on learning how to think. It wasn’t to cram you with facts, but learning
how to think. I’ll give you an example. In this course called Observation and
Integration, we read things written by Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas,
Hobbes and various philosophers. I remember going to one class and the
professor spent the entire hour just going over one short paragraph by Aristotle
asking us to explain what was going on, and he would say, “Okay Mr. Kaplan,
What is going on here?” What he was trying to get us to see was how Aristotle
was making distinctions. We were learning how to read very carefully. That
was one of the main things they were teaching, and also to think through an
argument very carefully. The professors at the University of Chicago were
really extraordinary. During my social science class the second year, the
instructor came to class and introduced himself as David Riesman, who later
became a famous professor of sociology at Harvard, a very distinguished
person. Daniel Bell was another professor. We were required to take a physical
science survey course, and one day I walked into a lecture of about a 100
students. The professor was Enrico Fermi, the famous physicist and winner of
the Nobel Prize.
Mr. Pierson: Did you understand who he was?
Mr. Krash: I didn’t have the foggiest idea who he was.
Mr. Pierson: Your second year?
Mr. Krash: This was my first year. I went to a biological science class and the
– 22 –
instructor was nice to me. She put me in a kind of honors section. The
Professor was Ralph W. Gerard, who unbeknown to me, was a world famous
neurophysiologist. I mean just a spectacular teacher and professor. Another
professor was Frank Knight, who was a very famous professor of economics.
He lectured to us. Many of the famous professors in the University, people
holding chairs, taught in the college. That was a tradition at Chicago. There
was an intense intellectual atmosphere, there is no doubt about that. For the
first time, r was encountering students very superior to me. One of the students
who lived in the dormitory with me was George Steiner, who later became a
renowned literary critic. Another contemporary was James Watson, who
together with Crick, discovered DNA.
Mr. Pierson: Francis Crick?
Mr. Krash: Yes. The two of them won the Nobel Prize.
Mr. Pierson: So you have an extremely high level of students and teachers. How did that
strike you personally, did you feel out of your depth?
Mr. Krash: I didn’t feel I was out of my depth, but I knew I had to work hard, and I
came to realize that there were a lot of very bright guys around there who
were better educated than I was. They came out of better high schools than I
did, had a better preparatory education than I did, and they were more gifted
than I was. But I rapidly made friends and I learned a lot from being around
them during the bull sessions. They were really bright and interesting people.
Mr. Pierson: What was Enrico Fermi doing there?
Mr. Krash: He was a professor of physics engaged in atomic research. I’ll tell you a story
about that in a few minutes; my experience with that. A very amusing story.
– 23 –
Many of the courses were taught superbly. Certainly one of the greatest
courses I had was called Observation, Interpretation and Integration. It was
taught by a man by the name of Joseph Schwab. He was a renowned Socratictype
teacher. He was one of the best teachers I have ever encountered. Schwab
was a legend of the University of Chicago. As I said, what he was really trying
to do was to teach you to read with precision, how to think with care and
logically, and how to structure an argument. The social science courses were
eye opening to me. I was beginning to read about people I had never heard of.
We were reading great books in the humanities and social sciences. I thought I
had read a lot before coming to Chicago, but my eyes were being opened to the
kind of things we were called upon to read and discuss.
Mr. Pierson: Did you have any Shakespeare?
Mr. Krash: I don’t recall. I think maybe in the second year, we may have read one of the
plays. I don’t remember. We had a course in poetry where we really read poetry
with great care. There was a professor who taught Humanities. His name was
Elder Olson. He later became famous as a literary critic, and I treasure him as a
great teacher. I remember we were in a class talking about Plato’s Republic and
somebody said they had found a logical fallacy. Olson replied, “Explain it to
me.” He said, “Let me tell you something; I have read the book 55 times and I
never found a logical fallacy, and I don’t think anybody in history has.” It was a
very challenging kind of atmosphere. It was intellectually exciting and we were
caught up in it and I enjoyed it enormously.
Mr. Pierson: So when you get to the end of your first year, do you go back home?
Mr. Krash: I did go home to New Castle. But first, let me tell you something else that
– 24 –
happened during my first year in the College. Shortly after I got to Chicago, I
went to work on the student newspaper. It was called The Maroon. I showed up
at the newspaper office. I had a lot of experience compared to the other
students showing up there. I had three to four years’ experience with The Eagle
newspaper in Cheyenne. It was wartime, and the older guys were gone.
Anyway, the only people there were either very young or not eligible for the
service for one reason or another. So I started to work for The Maroon. In midwinter,
the guy who was editor-in-chief of the paper announced that he had to
leave the University. In any event, the post for that position became open. I
was selected to become editor-in-chief of The Maroon, even though I was just
a freshman. I repeat, the atmosphere was unusual; it was wartime. The Maroon
was a weekly newspaper, and I immediately set out to reorganize it. I put a lot
of time and energy into doing that. It was challenging and
exciting to me.
Mr. Pierson: Did you have a Faculty Advisor?
Mr. Krash: No, there was no Faculty Advisor. There was a University Director of Public
Relations, who was kind of a mentor. And, I’ll tell you a story involving him.
He told me when I became editor that there were a few things we must not
mention in The Maroon, especially anything going on in several of the
University buildings. He didn’t tell me what was going on in those buildings,
and I didn’t ask. We really had no faculty advisor. The paper was very
independent. I had a very close friendship with a fellow who was the business
manager of the paper. His name was Alan Strauss. He and I became very good
lifetime friends. There were a number of other people that I became good
friends with. I tried to change the format of the paper and expand its coverage,
– 25 –
but there were various limitations due to the war. Nevertheless, it was exciting.
Mr. Pierson: Limitations on newsprint?
Mr. Krash: Well, it was eight pages. We published every Friday. But what I was thinking
of had to do with the content. Earlier I mentioned that I had a class with Enrico
Fermi. What happened was this. It became kind of a famous incident. I asked
one of the reporters on the paper to write a story about one of the professors.
We were writing a faculty profile each week. So I asked her to write a profile
about Arthur Holly Compton, who was the Chairman of the Division Physical
Sciences. That is what I knew him as. Unbeknown to me, he was also the
Chairman of the Manhattan Project in Chicago, but I didn’t know that. I said to
the reporter, “Let’s do an article on Arthur Holly Compton.” She went over to
the University’s Public Relations office and looked through the files and wrote
this article. The paper came out on Friday, and we had an editors’ conference at
The Maroon offices on Saturday morning. I went there after breakfast on
Saturday morning, anticipating a meeting with my fellow editors to plan for the
next week’s issue. While I was there, I got a phone call and the person at the
other end of the phone said “I am Major so-and-so with G2, military
intelligence, and I would like to come and talk to you.” I thought it was a gag
by one of the fellows in the dormitory, teasing me about something. I said,
“Oh, sure” and hung up. To my great surprise, about a half hour later, two guys
with trench coats showed up at The Maroon office. One of them took out of his
pocket an ID showing that he was, indeed, a major in the Army. He introduced
his colleague, who was a Lieutenant. He said they wanted to talk to me. So we
went into my very tiny office. The Major said, “We need to talk to you because
The Maroon has just committed a serious breach of the security regulations.” I
– 26 –
had never heard of security regulations. He said he was concerned about what
had happened not recurring. I stressed that I did not understand what he was
talking about, and that it would be difficult to prevent a recurrence if we didn’t
know what we had done. He told me he had arranged for me to talk to the Dean
of Students, whose name was Lawrence Kimpton. I had seen a lot of Kimpton
in my capacity as editor of The Maroon. The Army representative said he
wanted me to talk to Kimpton on Monday. In the midst of this, while we’re
talking, the circulation manager poked his head into the door. He said, you’ll be
pleased to know that the paper was sold out yesterday. You didn’t pay anything
for The Maroon. It was placed in piles at various places throughout the
University where there was a lounge or cafeteria or other gathering place. In
others words, it was circulated all over. I remember the major cleared his throat
and said, “Well, I have to tell you that we, that is the Army, went around the
campus last night and picked up every single copy of The Maroon that we
could find and we also went to the printer and destroyed the plates.” The major
went on to say, “We want you to talk to Kimpton on Monday.”
On Monday morning, I went to Kimpton’s office to see him. I remember it was
late April, a bright, sunny day in 1945. The war in Germany was coming to an
end. I was sitting in Kimpton’s office. He had a copy of the Friday Maroon on
his desk. He said, “You gave some of us here in the University administration
an anxious weekend.” I said, “You know these Army fellows came to see me,
and I don’t have the vaguest idea what this is all about.” He said, “Well, we
have decided we have to tell you something because we don’t want to shut
down The Maroon, but we don’t want you to publish anything further that
could cause problems.” He then pointed to The Maroon story about Arthur
Compton. The story stated that Compton was working on breaking the atom.
– 27 –
Kimpton said, “The reason the military authorities are concerned is because
there is a great project related to the war going on at the University involving
the development of a weapon that will revolutionize warfare and Compton has
been working on that.” He told me this exactly. He said the Army people were
worried that by disclosing this information about Compton, we would have
divulged to the enemy a major secret about what is going on here at the
University. He said “We are working here on a great new weapon.” However,
he didn’t call it an atomic bomb.
Mr. Pierson: He may as well have said an atomic bomb.
Mr. Krash: But he didn’t say that. He said they are working on a great new weapon that
was revolutionary in nature. Actually, Kimpton was an executive on the
Manhattan Project at Chicago, and I didn’t know that either. He didn’t tell me
that either. All he said was that the intelligence people were concerned that
enemy agents would be alerted to the fact that Compton was engaged in
research relating to breaking the atom. The whole thing was ridiculous. In the
first place, nearly every physicist in the world at that time was probably
working on breaking the atom, whatever that means. Secondly, there was a big
dining hall at the University, Mandel Hall. If anybody went there for breakfast
or lunch, you would see Fermi, Leo Szilard, and some of the most famous
physicists in the world having coffee or having lunch there. They weren’t
hiding out of sight. They were present there. You didn’t know what they were
doing but you would see some of the most famous physicists in the world
having breakfast or lunch. Obviously, they were not at the University engaged
in research about Shakespeare. In addition, there was a military guard
marching in front of some University buildings. The notion that we could be
– 28 –
tipping off enemy agents was ludicrous. In any event, the intelligence guys
were tremendously exercised about this. How they found out about the story in
The Maroon, I never knew. Kimpton told me we should not publish anything
further about Compton’s activities. He told me not to discuss our conversation
with anyone. But after I left his office, I did talk to the newspaper’s business
manager, my friend Alan Strauss, who was a major in chemistry. ] asked him
if he knew what Kimpton was talking about. Strauss said he didn’t have the
faintest idea what Kimpton was talking about. We didn’t have any idea what
Kimpton meant by a revolutionary weapon. It didn’t sink in on us.
A week or two later, following this episode, Arthur Holly Compton was
named the President of Washington University in St. Louis. That was a big
story for The Maroon. He was the Chairman of our Physical Sciences
Division. Obviously, that was a front page story for us. In the middle of the
week, I received a call from the Major. He said, “We assume you are going to
be writing a story about Compton becoming the President of Washington
University. I said, “Of course, that’s a big story for The Maroon.” He said,
“Well, we would like to come and review it.” Here I am 18 years old, editor of
the student paper, and I drew myself up and said, “Well, in that case, I would
have to put a slug line on the story “Passed by military censor.” The Major
said, slowly but clearly, “I don’t think that would be advisable.” Suddenly, it
dawned on me that I was in a position where my newspaper could be shut
down. It took me 30 seconds to realize that. So, I said to him, “You can come
and review the article.” And he did. He came in an hour or so and read the
proposed article. He didn’t change a word in the story. We were very careful
not to say anything about Compton’s research relating to breaking the atom or
– 29 –
anything like that. The Major and I shook hands, and he left. I never saw or
heard anything more from him, and we ran the story in the Friday edition of
The Maroon.
Several years later, there was a series of articles in The New Yorker magazine,
discussing breaches of security that occurred concerning the Manhattan
Project. In the article, there was a paragraph that said the student editors of The
Maroon at the University of Chicago, in a burst of schoolboy enthusiasm, had
divulged information about Arthur Holly Compton and atomic research, which
had created a great stir in the Chicago Office of Military Intelligence.
Mr. Pierson: So this was not just a small incident on the campus at the University of
Mr. Krash: No, No. So here I was, in the spring of 1945, in possession of one of the
greatest scoops of the 20th century, the development of the atomic bomb. I had
it in my hand. Of course, I didn’t know it, but I was on the edge of divulging it
in this article. It was really, of course, not divulged. The spring term ended,
and I went home in June. In July the bomb was dropped on Japan, on
Hiroshima, for the first time. I then realized what Kimpton had told me.
Mr. Pierson: This is what, two-three months later?
Mr. Krash: We published the article in April 1945, so yes, two-three months later. But it
was only in August 1945 that I realized what had gone on at the University of
Chicago. Fermi and his colleagues had produced the first chain reaction in
Chicago. A lot of the great, basic research on the atomic weapon was done at
the University of Chicago. Fermi was a scientific genius and one of the great
figures in physics in the 20th century, and one of the foremost figures in the
– 30 –
field of atomic energy. But it was only in August, after Hiroshima and after
Nagasaki, that I realized and appreciated what Kimpton had said to me. I
remember talking to Alan Strauss later, and neither one of us realized at first
what it was all about. At any rate, I went home in June at the end of the school
year, and I was called up for the draft. I was turned down. The war in Europe
had ended. T had bad feet and weak eyes. The whole thing was changing. The
war in Germany had ended several months earlier and the war in Japan ended a
few weeks after I was called. So I went back to the University of Chicago in
the fall of 1945. I remained the editor of The Maroon through the fall semester
of 1945. One of my successors as editor was David Brody, who later became
famous as a columnist for The Washington Post and other papers.
Mr. Pierson: Did you and Brody in later years become good friends?
Mr. Krash: Not close friends, but acquaintances. He died a year or two ago. He was a very
fine person. He was exceptionally able.
Mr. Pierson: One of my favorites.
Mr. Krash: He was a terrific columnist and a first-rate guy. At any rate, I went back to the
University of Chicago for my second year in September, 1945, and around
December, I began to realize that I was pouring so much of my time into The
Maroon that I wasn’t doing what I had come to Chicago to do, which was to
get the benefit of an education. The Maroon just took up enormous amounts of
my time.
Mr. Pierson: Did you think of what you were going to do at this point when you left college.
Mr. Krash: Well, I was thinking I wanted to be a newspaper man and by this time
– 31 –
something else had happened. The University of Chicago had dropped out of
the Big Ten. The University of Chicago was once a famous member of the Big
Ten, with the celebrated Alonzo Stagg. But the University of Chicago refused
to admit students who couldn’t qualify as regular students. There were no
athletic scholarships and no exceptions, no affirmative action for athletes, or
anything like that. In other words, you couldn’t get into the U of C because you
were a good basketball player or a good football player. So Chicago couldn’t
recruit most athletes. They were just hopeless in competing against teams like
the University of Michigan, for example. It was impossible for Chicago to
compete against those guys. There is a famous story that the University of
Chicago played football against Michigan in 1938 or 1939. I think the score
was 72-0. The story goes that Hutchins came into the locker room after the
game and said, “I will make sure this never happens again.” He then convinced
The Board of Trustees that the University of Chicago should withdraw from
the Big Ten. A few years later The University of Chicago did play football and
basketball games with teams of their equal. The U of C continued to play
basketball against small colleges when I was a freshman and sophomore. I
made arrangements with The Chicago Tribune to cover those games. The
Chicago games only got an inch or so of the space compared with
Northwestern or the University of Illinois basketball games, which got major
coverage. The Tribune would send out a wire operator to sit next to me
because they did want The University of Chicago games covered. That’s the
way they operated. I was able to go to college financed partly by a scholarship.
Secondly, I waited on tables in the Burton Judson dining room, and I taught at
a Sunday school at a nearby synagogue on Sunday mornings. I also made a
little money that way. I made a little money by being a sports reporter,
– 32 –
covering games, which was very little because University of Chicago
basketball was not a major subject of interest to The Chicago Tribune to say
the least. But they wanted it covered. So I did so. I was thinking all the time,
because of my experience in Cheyenne as a sports writer, and my experience
as an editor of The Maroon, and my whole outlook or vision of myself, that I
would become a newspaper person. That is what I was thinking r would do.
Really, I wanted to become a political columnist, that is what I thought I
would do when I got out of college.
Mr. Pierson: Were there any political columnists around at the time.
Mr. Krash: There was Walter Lippmann. But I knew very little about him. I would read
some of the columnists in The New York Times and became familiar with
them a little bit. In any event, I thought I wanted to be a political journalist
after I left school. I had no idea of being a lawyer. I didn’t have the foggiest
idea about being a lawyer. There were no lawyers in my family. That wasn’t in
my realm of thinking. My thinking was to be a newspaper person.
The second year of college, like the first year, was intellectually very
stimulating. It was eye-opening. That is when I had David Riesman and Elder
Olson and Joseph Schwab as teachers, and it was really a great awakening for a
person like me coming out of Cheyenne. It really transformed me. I made
many good friends and met some exceptionally gifted people. Because I was
the editor of The Maroon, I was known at the University, and I got to know a
lot of people at the University. For example, I would go and meet with
Hutchins, whom I count as one of the most remarkable people I have ever met.
He was a brilliant, charismatic person. T would see him from time to time, and
he was extremely cordial and nice to me. I got to know Kimpton, who was the
– 33 –
Dean of Students. Kimpton later became President of the University of
Chicago. He succeeded Hutchins. I got to know a number of my fellow
students in the residence halls; many of them were very gifted people.
At the end of the second year in the college, when I was graduating from the
College, I had to decide what to do, and r was still thinking I wanted to have a
newspaper career. Hutchins had been a professor at The Yale Law School and
the Dean of The Yale Law School before he became President of the
University of Chicago. In various talks, he said that a good place to get a liberal
education was in law school. I was pondering whether to go into the Division
of Humanities or the Division of Social Sciences and studying political science,
or history, or, alternatively, going to law school. I was influenced by Hutchins
saying that law school is a good place to get a liberal education. He stressed
that point. However, I knew nothing whatever about The University of Chicago
Law School or being a lawyer. In order to get into the University of Chicago
Law School at that time, you would be admitted if you were a reasonably good
student in the College, which I was, and if a couple of professors in the College
gave you a letter saying they knew you and they thought you would do okay in
law school. I remember on a cold winter day, running into Professor David
Riesman in the Quadrangle. Riesman, unbeknown to me, had been the editorin-
chief of The Harvard Law Review and, subsequently, a law clerk to Justice
Louis Brandeis. I didn’t know that. I knew him as a professor of Social Science.
He had not yet written his famous book, The Lonely Crowd. I asked Riesman to
give me a reference letter to the Law School, and I remember standing there in
the cold hearing him say, “Oh you don’t want to go to law school.” And r said,
“Yes, but I do.” And he said, “You should do something else.” I said, “I do
– 34 –
want to go to law school.” He reluctantly gave me a two-sentence reference
letter. I don’t know what he said. That was one of the two letters I had to get
into law school. I don’t remember who the other letter was from. I didn’t have
to take any kind of test to get into law school at that time. It was very different
from the situation that now prevails.
Mr. Pierson: So now, you’ve got four years of high school and two years of college and you
are going to the University of Chicago Law School.
Mr. Krash: It is now the spring of 1946. I graduated from the College with a Ph.B.
degree. I was 19 years old. If you went to the University of Chicago Law
School as a student coming out of the College at the U of C, as opposed to a
graduate from a conventional four-year college, you were required to go to
the Law School for four years. A graduate from The University of Michigan
or Illinois, for example, was required to attend only three years of law school
at Chicago. In other words, they tacked on another year of law school for U
of C College graduates, where you took economics and other courses. So in
the fall of 1946, when I was 19 years old, I entered the University of Chicago
Law School. The Law School building was part of the Quadrangles. It was at
the center of the campus. I knew nothing about being a lawyer or what a law
school education was all about. I was totally ignorant.
Mr. Pierson: We have now been at this for an hour and a half.
Mr. Krash: What do you want to do? Do you want to stop?
Mr. Pierson: I think this is a good threshold because when we come back, I would like you
to reflect on the same subjects we’ve covered as you cross the threshold of law
school. What are you thinking?
Mr. Krash: I am now 19 years old and I have a degree from the college. But the truth is,
– 35 –
my education is very limited. Let’s not kid anybody here. I am very immature.
This is the fall of 1946, and the veterans who were in the war are now
streaming back and entering the Law School. They are four or five years older
than I am, and they have been to war. Many are married. They are really eager
to get on with it, and they are far more mature and better educated than r am
and, certainly, substantially more experienced. I was really wet behind the
ears. There is no doubt that I did have the advantage of the very superior
education at the University of Chicago College. That was the high point of my
education. That is when I started to understand what being educated was like.
They really exposed me to many great books and to ideas. They taught me
how to think carefully.
Mr. Pierson: Analytical thinking.
Mr. Krash: Very much so. To think with precision and to read with care. And to be able to
present an argument. It was really a superior education, no doubt about it. I
would say in retrospect, however, to finish up here, that I feel, looking back at it,
that there were some deficiencies in my college education. It did have some
deficiencies. It was deficient in that I should have had much more math and
science. One needs to know math because it is the language of science. My
grandchildren learned calculus and beyond in high school. I didn’t have enough
science either. Also learning a foreign language is important. I just didn’t really
appreciate those deficiencies because my interest was in the humanities and
social sciences. And I think I should have studied more history, which, up to
then, I had gotten only from reading on my own in high school. My education
was deficient in those respects. It wasn’t the fault of the College. It was my
fault, although I think they could have been more demanding. Nevertheless, it
– 36 –
as a rigorous liberal education. It was excellent.
Mr. Pierson: It seems to have served you well.
Mr. Krash: It did. I am greatly indebted to the College. The curriculum was excellent. The
faculty was superb. We were not just sitting in big lecture halls. We had small
classrooms with professors saying, “What do you think about this?” Asking
other students, what do you think about Mr. Krash’s answer and to have me
respond. You were taught to speak and write with decision and care and to
read with care. We read significant books. We didn’t have a classical education
in the English sense, with Greek and Latin, but we had a liberal education.
Mr. Pierson: And you talked about face to face encounters, analysis and decisions. You
talked about reading and writing.
Mr. Krash: Fortunately I came to the College with a lot of writing experience. I was the
editor of the high school newspaper and I wrote in the Cheyenne daily paper as
a sports writer. I wrote six to ten articles each day for The Eagle. There were
people there to point out things. By the time I was out of high school, I had
written a lot, considerably more than the average high school student by virtue
of this experience. But the college did not have us do enough writing.
Mr. Pierson: Did you do writing anywhere other than the comprehensive exam?
Mr. Krash: There were very few papers we had to do. That was a weakness of the College.
However, that was later corrected in Law School by my working at The Law
Review. I had an edge going in because of my prior writing experience in
Cheyenne and as the editor of The Maroon. Being a sports writer is scarcely
being Hemingway, but I became somewhat aware of what writing was all about
– 37 –
because of that experience. I learned much more when I was in law school. I
give very high marks to the U of C College. It left me with a lifetime conviction
that a liberal education is greatly to be desired. It is extremely valuable. It
opened my eyes to ideas. It was the beginning of my education. Some of my
fellow students did not like it because it was kind of impersonal. I loved it,
however, and enjoyed it immensely.
– 38 –
– 39 –
Oral History of Abe Krash
Second Interview
August 13, 2013
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of the Historical Society
of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewee is Abe Krash, Esquire, and the interviewer is
Stuart Pierson, Esquire. The interview took place on August 13, 2013. This is the second
Mr. Pierson: It is August 13, 2013 and we are again in the conference room of Arnold &
Porter, LLP. Abe Krash and Stuart Pierson continuing in the second interview
about Abe’s life in law, and Abe will describe four things he wants to address.
You’re on.
Mr. Krash: Yes, I thought Stu that that it might be worthwhile in going forward to talk first
about my experience at the University of Chicago Law School; second, my
experience as a graduate student at the Yale Law School; third, my two years in
practice here in Washington, DC with Raoul Berger and then, fourth my
coming to Arnold, Fortas & Porter in March of 1953.
In reflecting about our first interview, I should emphasize two things I feel
greatly influenced my life. One was the depression. I was a young person
growing up in Cheyenne, Wyoming during the Depression. It very significantly
affected my life, no doubt about it, in terms of my father’s struggle to make a
living. It was a tough time.
Mr. Pierson: Was he a merchant?
Mr. Krash: He was a rabbi. It was a tough period economically. Second, the other event
which greatly affected my life was World War II. When World War II broke out
– 40 –
in 1941, I was 14 years old. I lived during the War years in Cheyenne,
Wyoming. As I discussed with you in our first interview, the war greatly
affected a lot of things. Those two events really profoundly influenced my life.
We stopped in our last interview at the point where I graduated from the
University of Chicago College in June of 1946. Then I took the summer off, and
I entered the University of Chicago Law School in the fall of 1946. I was 19
years old.
Mr. Pierson: You mentioned in our last interview that you were by comparison to many of
the students, immature and not having much experience.
Mr. Krash: Very much so, and I realized it then, and I realize it in looking back and thinking
about it now much more so. The entering class consisted of about 125 students.
Nearly all of them were men. There were, I believe, half a dozen women in my
class at the University of Chicago Law School. The law school admitted women
decades before, so it was not unusual that women went there. There were only a
few African American students in the class. In the class of 125, the vast majority
were veterans. They were men who were returning from their service in World
War II. They were four or five years older than I was. Many of them had gone to
four year colleges, whereas I had only gone two years to college. A number of
them were married. So they were much more mature than I was. They were very
anxious to complete their education and go forward with their lives and careers.
I was very much aware of the fact that many of them were older than I was.
There were a few younger men, like me, who came from the college at Chicago
but only a small number, a very small number. The University of Chicago Law
School building at that time was on what are called the Quadrangles. It was right
– 41 –
in the heart of the University buildings. It was an old building. The law school
curriculum was in large part mandatory. It was prescribed for us during the first
two years. You pretty much had to take what you were assigned to take except
that during the third year you had a little more freedom to do what you wanted.
As I said earlier, I had gone to law school under the conception that it was a
place to get an advanced liberal education. I had no idea of being a lawyer. The
first class which I had remains vivid in my mind after more than 65 years. It was
a course called Elements of the Law. It was taught by Edward Levi, who was
one of most remarkable teachers I met during my lifetime. The Elements course
was an introduction to law. It consisted of our reading papers by Plato, Aristotle
and by other philosophers, on the nature of justice, and we also had various
cases and materials relating to the relationship between a legislature and the
judiciary dealing with the difference between making law and interpreting the
law. I’ll take a minute or two to talk about Levi, because as I said he was one of
the most exceptional men I have known during my lifetime. When I knew him
first as a young professor in 1946, he was about 35 years old. He subsequently
became Dean of the University of Chicago Law School and thereafter the
President of the University of Chicago. In the mid-1970’s, he was appointed by
the Ford Administration as Attorney General. He was a brilliant person. Apart
from being very well educated, he was an absolutely marvelous Socratic Method
teacher. He was very quick witted and incisive in the way that he taught the
class. He was impatient with foolish or ridiculous answers. He was very much
interested in teaching, and he taught extremely well. His classes crackled with
intellectual excitement. People were on the edge of their seats, and I felt I
– 42 –
learned a lot. He also subsequently taught the antitrust course that I took in my
third year. He had been an Assistant to Thurman Arnold in the antitrust division
in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He later wrote that Arnold had a profound
influence on him, Levi was one of the pioneers in teaching Law and Economics.
He taught the antitrust course together with an economist, whose name was
Aaron Director, a very well-known economist. Director would gently chide Levi
and disagree with him about various things that Levi was saying. But they
agreed on many things also, especially about cartels. There was an amusing
episode involving Levi and me that I have always remembered. After we took
our exams, it was the practice in the law school that our grades would be posted
on a bulletin board near the Dean’s office. As students each of us had a number,
such as number 52, and you could tell what your grade was. They were publicly
posted by number, not by name. At any rate, I ran into Levi one day in the lobby
several weeks after the antitrust exam, and he said to me. “A terrible thing has
happened, Mr. Krash. I have lost your exam, paper. I can’t find it.” For once, I
had my wits about me and I said, “Oh that’s too bad because, it is one of the best
exam papers I have written since I have been in Law School.” I remember that
Levi didn’t say a word, he just looked at me for a moment, smiled and walked
off. A few days later the grades were posted, and I got a high grade. I must say,
65 years later, I am by no means confident that he found my paper, or whether
he gave me a grade based on my reply to him at that moment standing in the
lobby of the law school. He probably found it. I just don’t know. Another person
who influenced me was the Dean of the Law School, Wilbur Katz. He taught the
course in corporations that we were all required to take in the second year of law
– 43 –
school. The corporations course began with a required introduction of about six
weeks in accounting. We were expected to get an introduction to accounting,
and I must say I kind of dreaded that idea. I didn’t look forward to it all. I wasn’t
particularly interested in it. What I came to appreciate was what a marvelous
teacher Katz was. He was just superlative in his clarity and analysis and in
making accounting really interesting. I became very absorbed and interested in
the subject when he gave his presentation. In my early years at Arnold, Fortas &
Porter, we had a case where it was essential to cross examine an accountant.
They wanted to know whether I could do that. I said, I’ve taken accounting and I
think I can talk to accountants; I knew the lingo. I knew what a P and L
statement was, and what a balance sheet was. And so I was asked to do the
cross-examination of the other side’s accountant. I did it mainly because I had
learned enough of accounting from Katz’s course. I’m very far from being an
accountant, but I did have an understanding of the fundamentals of accounting.
Mr. Pierson: Was that in the court room that you did the cross-examination?
Mr. Krash: I did this in the court room, the cross-examination.
Mr. Pierson: Was it here in DC?
Mr. Krash: I think it was in New York, as I recall. That experience left me with a lifelong
conviction that every student in law should be required to take accounting.
Accounting should be an element of a law school education. Every law student
should be required to take the fundamentals of accounting and know what a P
and L statement is, and what a balance sheet is and be able to talk to accountants
and understand the basic ideas of accounting. I think it is really invaluable. It is
– 44 –
the language of business, and it is essential to an understanding of corporation
and taxation law. Another professor who influenced my life was Harry Kalven.
In the first year of Law School, I was required to take a course in writing.
Kalven was a young professor, and I was assigned to his group. He was a very
nice and helpful person. I got to know him a little bit. He subsequently became
an eminent authority on Freedom of Speech and the First Amendment. He wrote
a book that was published after he died in the mid-1970s, regrettably very
young. The book was entitled A Worthy Tradition Freedom of Speech in
America. It is a classic in the literature of the First Amendment. Kalven was a
professor who was very helpful to me. Another professor whom I had great
regard for was Walter Blum. He taught taxation, bankruptcy and reorganization
courses. He was a born teacher. He was a very gifted, Socratic- method teacher.
His classes too were intellectually exciting. He was an excellent teacher.
Another professor who influenced me was Professor Sheldon Tefft, who taught
Property and Civil Procedure, and whom I liked. I thought he was a very good
teacher. Apart from Edward Levi, who greatly influenced me, my lifelong
thinking about law was influenced by Professor William Winslow Crosskey. He
came to Chicago as a professor in the early 1930s. He was a student at the Yale
Law School in the mid-20s where he was a student of legendary brilliance. He
became the law clerk to Chief Justice Taft after graduating from Law School.
He left the clerkship to join the Wall Street law firm of Davis Polk where he was
a special assistant working with John W. Davis, who had been the Solicitor
General and in 1924 the Democratic Party candidate for President. Davis
reportedly said that Crosskey possessed the best legal mind he had ever
– 45 –
encountered. Around 1935, he left the Davis Polk firm to accept a position as
Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Crosskey was fascinated by
the arguments that were being made against the Federal Government’s power to
regulate securities. Some people were saying Congress did not have the
authority to do this. Crosskey began researching the original understanding of
the Commerce clause, and to make a long story short, he spent twenty years in
researching the original understanding of the Constitution. In 1953, he published
a book. There were two volumes entitled Politics and the Constitution. Crosskey
was both a historian and a lawyer. He was a genius in terms of his powers of
analysis, originality, and his ability to assimilate enormous masses of material.
The book he wrote, Politics and the Constitution, created a furor when it came
out. Some persons said it was among the best books ever written in American
Law, but others denounced the book. Crosskey in my time was regarded with
awe by the students and faculty in Chicago. He was enormously respected.
Crosskey sought to determine the original understanding of the constitution, that
is, how it was understood by intelligent, informed persons at the time the
document was written and ratified in 1787 and 1788. He felt it was essential to
understand the word usage and language during the colonial period. For
example, how did people understand the term “commerce?” In order to
determine that understanding, he travelled to libraries throughout the country
studying collections of colonial period documents such as newspapers,
pamphlets, and correspondence. One of Crosskey’s basic points was that the
powers vested in Congress by the Constitution “to regulate commerce among
the several states” was a power to regulate all gainful activity among the people
– 46 –
of the United States. That is to say, the word “states” was understood in a
multitudinal sense. That usage is still common today as when we speak of the
“state” of France we mean the people of France. The word “Commerce,” he
insisted, covered all gainful activities. Crosskey maintained that the founding
fathers intended to establish a national government that was fully empowered to
achieve all of the objectives recited in the preamble. The states were to occupy a
subordinate role. The conventional view is that the various powers of Congress
enumerated in Article I, Section 8 were designed to distinguish the powers of
the national government from those of the state governments. Crosskey rejected
that view. He explained that some of the powers were enumerated because they
were executive powers exercised by the King of England, and the draftsmen of
the constitution wanted to transfer those powers to the legislative branch, that is
to Congress. Other powers were enumerated because they had been enumerated
in the Articles of Constitution. Further powers were enumerated to express a
limitation of Congressional power, for example the power to pass uniform laws
of naturalization and uniform laws with respect to bankruptcies. Crosskey also
thought that the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to make all of the
limitations set out in the Bill of Rights which previously applied only to the
National government, applicable to the states. That was also the view of Justice
Hugo Black. His classes were absolutely fascinating to me. He was unlike
Edward Levi, who was a Socratic-method teacher. Crosskey lectured, telling us
about the research he was doing. I remember vividly the first day of his class in
the summer of 1945, a course in American Legal History. He began by saying to
the class, “You have all been brought up to believe that James Madison is the
– 47 –
father of the Constitution, that Oliver Wendell Holmes was a great jurist, and
that Louis Brandeis knew a lot about Federal jurisdiction.” He said, “Before we
finish, I will demonstrate to you that Madison forged some of his notes and
rewrote them to conform with his political ideas.” Crosskey went on to say that
Holmes was a great figure but he was ignorant about a lot of things about
American Constitutional law and that was equally true of Brandeis. Holmes and
Brandeis were demigods to me. What was important, I think, for a young
student was Crosskey’s anti-authoritarianism. That is to say, he would challenge
the ideas of people we accepted as axiomatic. You have to remember that in the
1940s when I went to law school, Holmes was a revered figure as was Brandeis.
I must say, to this day, I have enormous regard for both of them. But Crosskey
forced us to think through and challenge their arguments and question them. His
book came out in 1952 and there were some people who said it was one of the
great books of American Law. It was very harshly criticized by Henry Hart, who
was a distinguished professor at Harvard and his colleague, Ernest Brown, and
by a professor at Columbia named Julius Goebel, They denounced the book
harshly. Crosskey’s work was enormously controversial. It slipped into obscurity
which is beyond the scope of what we’re talking about. I think that occurred, in
part, because he had no disciples who came along and carried on his work. He
was a solo figure, and his work was radical and revolutionary and it startled
people. By the 1950s, the Supreme Court indirectly had come pretty much to the
same conclusion about the commerce power that Crosskey did. The timelines of
his central theme had lost some of its force. Crosskey not only taught law but
history as well. He was kind of a gruff person personally, however, I got to
– 48 –
know him a little bit. He was really a very kindly person, and I grew to like him
a great deal. When his book came out, I wrote an article for The University of
Chicago Law Review summarizing his ideas; that was one of the first law review
articles I wrote. He died in the mid-60s, and after he died, a person who had
been a student of his, put together a third volume of his work which described
the events in the American Colonies beginning with agitation against Great
Britain in the 1760s and continuing up to the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
It is a history of the events in the colonies that led to the Constitutional
Convention. When this volume came out in the 1980s, I wrote a long book
review for The Yale Law Journal called The Legacy of William Crosskey, where
I discussed what his ideas were and why his ideas were not accepted. I also
wrote an article about Crosskey for the Record, an alumni magazine. I have
retained a lifelong interest in his work. I teach Constitutional Law in
Georgetown and I go back and reread some of the things he wrote. Some of his
insights are still very significant and interesting. I’ve never gotten over it. I am
afraid that I have spoken at too great a length about Crosskey. I was fascinated
by his work, and he greatly influenced my thinking. He is one of the foremost
figures in the law whom I ever encountered.
Mr. Pierson: Did you carry on a personal contact with him after you got out of law school?
Mr. Krash: Not very much. He came to Washington, and he taught at Howard for a
semester, and at that time I did see him and talk with him. I regret that I didn’t
know a lot more. I just didn’t know enough then. I wish I could have talked with
him with what I now know about his ideas, because he was so interesting,
– 49 –
challenging and provocative. The answer is I did not really keep contact with
him very much personally. No, I did not.
Mr. Pierson: Did you receive comments from him when you wrote your first article?
Mr. Krash: I don’t recall that I did. I have the two volumes in wrote in 1953. He inscribed
them to me, but I don’t think he ever said anything to me. I got very nice
comments later from various people about the Yale Law Journal review.
Interestingly enough, some people who now write about the Commerce clause
agree with him to some extent. They don’t agree with his point that the power to
regulate Commerce among the several states is a power to regulate all the
gainful activity among the people of the United States, but they agree that his
notion of the scope of the Commerce power was probably correct. He was cited
once by Justice Thomas in an opinion, but he is rarely cited today. Justice
Scalia, who is also an originalist, doesn’t cite him, but Justice Scalia would not
accept Crosskey’s ideas. His ideas are antithetical to those of Justice Scalia.
Someone who wanted to challenge the originalist ideas of Justice Scalia might
rely on Crosskey as an alternative understanding.
Mr. Pierson An outsider.
Mr. Krash: Even at the University of Chicago, where he was such a pillar in his time, at
present, they don’t pay a great deal of attention to him. I know from talking to
various Chicago professors they don’t even know about him, or they know very
little about him. His work takes a good deal of effort to read. You can’t just skip
over it. It is very tightly written, but it is enormously interesting. I would say
that the two people at the Chicago Law School who mostly influenced me were
– 50 –
Levi and Crosskey, though I did learn a lot from a number of other people, such
as Katz and Kalven and Blum. The faculty was relatively small. It is much
bigger now than it was then. The University of Chicago had a great tradition of
good teaching. Most of the classes were well taught. There was a great effort to
organize classes effectively and to teach them well. At the end of the first year,
persons at certain level of grades, were selected to be a candidate for the Law
Review, and I was selected to participate with the idea that I would write notes
on a case, and I did that. In my third, year I was one of the editors of the Law
Review. The Editor in Chief of the Law Review in my time was a man by the
name of Milton Shadur, who was the outstanding student in our class. Later he
became and still is a judge on the United States District Court in Chicago. I
count him as one of the most able lawyers I ever knew. He is an exceptionally
capable person. We have remained friends though I rarely see him. As I
explained in our first session, if you were a graduate from the University of
Chicago College, as I was, graduating after two years, the University of Chicago
Law School required that you go to law school for four years as opposed to three
years. The veteran who came back and who had been a college student, for
example, at the University of Michigan, or Tulane, or Stanford, only went to law
school for three years, but I was obliged to go to law school for four years. I
took courses in economics and other things. In the fourth year, I was running out
of courses to take and I went to see one of the professors whose name was Max
Rheinstein. He was a refugee from Germany and a very distinguished scholar. I
asked him if he would give me a seminar on Roman Law. He was delighted by
the idea because no one had come and approached like that. He gave me a book
– 51 –
by Jolowicz on Roman Law. I came to his office once a week, and we would
talk. I had this seminar with him my last summer in Chicago. I know very little
about Roman Law. It was a very nice experience with him because he was a
European scholar and a very highly cultivated person. I made a number of
friends with other students in the Law School, who have been friends for a life
time, particularly during my time on the Law Review. I would say that the
University of Chicago Law School during my years there was intellectually very
rigorous; it had very high standards. I neglected to mention that another
professor who greatly influenced me was Malcolm Sharp who taught contracts.
He was a very cultured and highly- sophisticated person. I greatly enjoyed his
course. The faculty was relatively small. It was probably about 20 people. One
of the things at Chicago was that they were beginning to develop Economics and
the law, and there was a lot of economics law ejected into our courses.
Mr. Pierson: Was there more emphasis to do that coming out of the Depression.
Mr. Krash: I think it really didn’t come until after the war. The University of Chicago had a
great Economics Department. Some of the people from the Economics
Department were involved in the Law School, including a man by the name of
Henry Simons and later Aaron Director. But there was a great openness to
economics in the Law School. There was not as much interaction with the rest of
the University and the Law School as I think there probably should have been.
The University of Chicago had a great History Department, but none of the
people in history taught in the law school. There was very little interest in my
time about bringing psychiatry into criminal law. I don’t know if that was done
afterwards. I think the University of Chicago’s attitude at that time was that that
– 52 –
are educating people to be practicing lawyers. At the Yale Law School, I think
the emphasis was on teaching people for public service and to become law
professors. The educational system of Chicago was characterized by very high
standards, and it was rigorous. It was a tough place in a lot of ways.
Mr. Pierson: What were your social circumstances during the four years you were in law
Mr. Krash: Well, I was single and I was living in a residence hall, Burton-Judson dormitory,
which is a University residence hall. I had long since given up my editorship of
the Maroon. I was involved in other activities in the University; I was active in
Hillel, the Jewish student organization. Many of my fellow students were
married. At the end of the day they would depart, and I’d go back to the dorm
where I stayed or work in the Law School’s library.
Mr. Pierson: Ever go to the football, basketball games?
Mr. Krash: Yes. I was a sports writer for the Chicago Tribune, so I covered the basketball
games at the University. The University of Chicago didn’t have a football team
at that point but they had a basketball team. I had some very close friends who
were part of a fraternity. I saw a great deal of them. I also had friends in the
residence hall. My social life centered around the dormitory and the residence
hall. I was shy about women, and I didn’t have any real girlfriends. I went out on
dates with different women to various events at the University. My friends and I
would go to the movies on 63rd Street. The south side of Chicago, Hyde Park,
we’re talking about the late 1940s, was still relatively a safe area to live in. It
– 53 –
became a troubled area in years subsequently. But at that time it was still a very
pleasant area actually.
Mr. Pierson: So you’ve come to the end of the law school. What are you thinking about going
into the work field?
Mr. Krash: I started Law School in 1946. I went to law school year round. I didn’t take off
during the summers. I went to law school continuously from 1946 to 1949 and
completed the four years at Chicago in the summer of 1949.
Mr. Pierson: How did you pay your bills for law school?
Mr. Krash: Well, that’s a good question, First of all, as I recall, the law school tuition was
about a $100 per quarter. There were three quarters. There was some additional
small fees. I had ceased waiting tables at the residence hall. There was a
synagogue in the neighborhood, where I worked at the Sunday school where I
taught. I made some small money writing articles for The Chicago Tribune. I
had a scholarship and my father was helping. I scrimped along. I didn’t have to
borrow money at that point. I was able to get along with my father helping me as
best he could.
Mr. Pierson: So you are in the spring of 1949 and you’ve decided what you’re going to do
with your life.
Mr. Krash: During the winter of 1949, I started to think of what to do when I graduated. I
had no intention of being a lawyer. I still had my eye on being a journalist. I was
interested in antitrust and Eugene Rostow, a professor at the Yale, was a very
distinguished antitrust guy. I was 22. I thought it would be desirable to spend a
graduate year at the Yale Law School if could get in. I didn’t want to practice
– 54 –
law in Chicago, which most of my classmates did. I began to think about what it
would be like to spend another year at the university studying. I decided to apply
to the Yale Law School as a graduate Fellow. I applied, and I was admitted to
Yale for the term beginning in September of 1949. I went to New Haven to the
Yale Law School for a year starting in September of 1949. I was at Yale for a
year as a graduate student during the fall of 1949 and the winter and spring of
Mr. Pierson: What did it entail?
Mr. Krash: It didn’t require anything. Some people tried to write a master’s thesis or do
something like that. I went to a number of classes. I was disappointed when I
arrived and discovered that Eugene Rostow had taken a leave of absence for that
academic year. You were invited to do whatever you wished. There were about
25 graduate fellows. Most of the graduate fellows were there with the
expectation of acquiring some additional academic credentials which would be
helpful to them in getting a teaching job. That’s what they wanted to do. I had in
my mind that I might also teach. I certainly didn’t have the idea of practicing
law. Many of the students lived in the Law School resident hall. That was a
much nicer social atmosphere than at the University of Chicago Law School.
There were some pre-fab houses at Chicago that they put up for veterans, but the
law school students were scattered throughout the city, and very few of my
classmates lived like I did in the residence hall. At Yale, the great majority of
students lived in the residence hall. We had a dining hall where we all ate. It was
a very pleasant and nice set up.
– 55 –
Mr. Pierson: So the professors lived there too?
Mr. Krash: Not the professors, No. The professors lived in the New Haven and in the
surrounding area. Most of the students lived in the residence hall and that was an
extremely nice thing. I tried to figure out what I wanted to do when and I
discovered Rostow wasn’t going to be there, I was kind of at a loss. I decided to
go to various classes. There were two classes in particular that I found extremely
rewarding. The Yale faculty was very distinguished. One professor I heard about
was Harry Shulman. Shulman taught labor law at Yale. I had heard he was an
interesting person and teacher, so I went to his classes. Unbeknown to me, he
was the arbitrator/mediator for the Ford Motor Company and the United Auto
Workers. He was a famous labor mediator. He was also an extremely thoughtful,
wise teacher. He was exceptional. He gave a lecture on secondary boycotts
which now after 65 years, I still remember. It was one of the best lectures I ever
heard in law school from anyone. He was just an exceptionally thoughtful,
judicious kind of person, and I greatly enjoyed his classes and went to listen to
him. I didn’t get to know him, but I was very interested in what he had to say.
Another professor who I liked a great deal was the Dean, Wesley Alba Sturges.
Sturges taught a course on Creditors Rights. My interest in that subject on a
scale from 0-10, would be about a 2.
Mr. Pierson: Sounds like mine.
Mr. Krash: I had little interest in the subject matter. However, people told me that he was an
exceptionally good teacher. I was interested in legal education and in teaching
so I went and I sat in the back of the class. He was a marvel. Sturges was a
– 56 –
realist in the way he thought about the law. That is to say he thought much of
the law was incoherent, irrational, inconsistent, illogical and …
Mr. Pierson: And vague.
Mr. Krash: What?
Mr. Pierson: And vague
Mr. Krash: And vague, exactly. His teaching method reflected his philosophy of the law. He
would assign the third year students who were in the class to read two cases in
his case book. The cases were diametrically opposite. He was trying to get these
third year students to reconcile them. They would bust their jaws in class trying
to make reconcile them, and they couldn’t. What Sturges was doing by his
methods of teaching was reflecting his realist philosophy, the inconsistencies,
the irrationalities in the law. I don’t think Sturges covered more than a 100 pages
in his case book during the entire course. All he did by a Socratic method was to
get students to try and reconcile the cases he assigned. He was exemplifying
how a realist would think about the law. I began to grow aware of what he was
doing. He was trying to cultivate the notion or idea of how irrational and
inconsistent and illogical the law was. I thought he was extraordinary. He was
one of the most gifted teachers I ever encountered. I watched with great
admiration his skills and insights as a teacher. There were some other very good
teachers at Yale. There was one professor who was influential among the
graduate fellows. His name was Myers McDougal, who was trying to inject
ideas of social policy into law. He was working together with Harold Laswell, a
famous political scientist. The two of them together taught a course. Laswell
– 57 –
subsequently wrote a book together with my uncle, Abraham Kaplan, regarding
political theory. But I never got to know Laswell or McDougal very well. I went
to their classes and listened with interest to what they had to say. There were
several things about the Yale law school that I would emphasize. Yale provided
a social setting which was special and different from University of Chicago Law
School. It was meaningful to me. I had fellow students all around.
Mr. Pierson: Were there any African American students?
Mr. Krash: Very few. There were a small number of women in law school. One of the
women at Yale was Patricia McGowan, who married Robert Wald.
Mr. Pierson: Ohhhhh
Mr. Krash: I knew her only slightly. One of the things was that this dormitory environment
permitted me to become friends with a number of people. You saw them not just
in class, but you saw them in the dining hall or you could go out and have a bite
to eat, or socialize, or go to a dance. I made a number of very good friends. I
became very friendly with a fellow by the name of Daniel Freed, who later
became a professor at the Yale Law School and an expert on sentencing. Sadly,
he died several years ago. Another person with whom I became friendly in the
residence hall was a man by the name of Sherman Sass. He became a labor
lawyer in Boston. I was also friendly with a fellow by the name Kurt Melchior,
who became a prominent San Francisco lawyer. Apart from the social setting,
there were several things about the Yale law school that I thought were special.
First of all, there was no question that Yale was interested in encouraging people
to think of a career in public service. That was less true of Chicago in my time.
– 58 –
Today, I suspect that Chicago is much like that too, but no question that at Yale,
they were interested in encouraging people to think of a career in public service,
to go into the Government or do other public service. Secondly, Yale was
teaching also people to go out and teach law. A number of students left to teach
law. I would also say that students at Yale were economically more secure than
in Chicago. The fellows in Chicago were very anxious about their professional
careers. Their uppermost thought was, “Will I get a job?” At Yale, there was a
considerably more secure feeling that we’ll get a job. Particularly, they felt they
would get jobs in the Wall Street law firms. In other words, there wasn’t the
anxiety about future jobs that I think permeated the atmosphere in Chicago in
my time. At Yale, that was less true. That’s not to say there was no anxiety about
jobs among Yale students. But there was a feeling they were going to Wall
Street firms. So there was more economic security there. I had been going to a
university continuously since 1944 and now it is the spring of 1950, and I
realized that I’m going to have to get a job and do something. I wanted to teach.
What you have to realize is that I was only 22, and it was very difficult for
young Jewish guys to be hired to teach in law schools at that time. There were
Jewish guys teaching in Chicago, at Yale, and at Harvard, but if you tried to go
to other places, it was very difficult. The Dean of Minnesota came to Yale, and I
had a long talk with him. It was obvious that he was interested in my possibly
coming to the University of Minnesota Law School. I learned later he talked to
Charles Clark, who was a judge on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
He also had been the Dean at Yale. Clark recommended to the Minnesota dean
that he hire his law clerk. He was hired under Clark’s recommendation. Other
– 59 –
graduate fellows were getting offers, but I wasn’t. One day in the spring of 1950,
I decided I would go to Washington, DC to try to find a job in the government.
Mr. Pierson: Was there a process of interviewing?
Mr. Krash: Yes, Various deans of laws schools throughout the country would come to Yale
and interview the graduate students.
Mr. Pierson: Was that for a lot of Wall Street firms as well?
Mr. Krash: I don’t think that they came at that time. But the undergraduate students knew
that they would get a job in Wall Street. There was just such an assumption. It
was true. At any rate, one day one of the professors at Yale who I barely knew,
Boris Bittker, who taught Taxation, spoke to me. He later became a major figure
in taxation. He was then a young professor at Yale. Bittker said that he had
heard through the grapevine that I hadn’t gotten any offers to teach. He said he
had heard that I was going to go to Washington, DC, and he would be happy to
give me a letter of recommendation. He said he knew someone in Washington.
This is out of the blue really.
Mr. Pierson: So you hadn’t decided to go to Washington?
Mr. Krash: No, I had decided that I was going to go to Washington and try to get a job with
the government. Bittker said I’ll give you a reference letter. He said, I don’t
know how valuable it will be but I’ll give you a letter of recommendation to this
person I know in Washington, DC. His name is Raoul Berger. I was grateful, but
I didn’t pay much attention to the letter. It was an exceptionally thoughtful thing
for Bittker to do. I remained forever grateful to him for that. Now, it is 1950 and
I’m broke, and I have made up my mind to come to Washington, DC. I thought I
– 60 –
would try to find a job as a lawyer with the government. I finally made up my
mind to try and be a lawyer, though I didn’t have the foggiest idea what that
meant. I left Yale in the spring of 1950. The war gin Korea had just broken out.
There was a freeze on jobs in the Government. I went to various places in the
government to try and get a job. By this time, I had pretty good credentials. I
was a University of Chicago college graduate, University of Chicago Law
school Graduate, and a Graduate Fellow from Yale. I had been on the Law
Review. The job market was extremely tight. I went to various places in the
government to try and get a job. Clearly, some people were interested in me, but
there was all kinds of constraints. Anyway, I had this letter from Boris Bittker to
Raoul Berger, so I called and made an appointment with Berger. His office was
in the Ring Building on 18th Street. I went to see him, not knowing anything
about him or his practice. Berger at first was very businesslike and cool. I then
said I have this letter from Boris Bittker and immediately that changed the
whole atmosphere of the interview. He said that he thought the world of Bittker.
Berger had been the General Counsel of the Office of Alien Property Custodian
during the war and Bittker worked under him in that office. Berger had great
affection and regard for Bittker, who Berger regarded as a superlative lawyer.
Mr. Pierson: Was Berger practicing long?
Mr. Krash: For only several years. He had been a partner with a man by the name of Donald
Cook. The firm was Cook and Berger. After the war, Berger and Cook set up
this law firm, the two of them together. Cook generated most of the business. He
had been with the SEC. Berger was the lawyer, and Cook was the rain maker.
By the time I arrived there, in the summer of 1950, Cook had gone back into the
– 61 –
government in some capacity. Berger was alone with a practice that he had
developed with Cook. The head of the Office of Alien Property in the
Department of Justice during the War was David Bazelon. In 1949, Bazelon was
appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by President
Truman. Bazelon called up Berger, who had been his General Counsel, and said
I need some help in finding a law clerk, can you help me? A young fellow was
working as an associate for Berger, his name was Abraham Goldstein; he was a
recent law school graduate from Yale. Berger told Bazelon, “I will lend you my
associate, Abraham Goldstein to be your law clerk.” The expectation was that
Goldstein would come back after his clerkship. I arrived shortly after Goldstein
left to become a clerk for Judge Bazelon. Berger was looking for a young fellow
to replace him. To make a long story short, Berger offered me a job for fifty
dollars a week. At that point, I was broke. As I said, I was hired by Berger to
take Abe Goldstein’s place. Berger was a unique figure. He had been a
professional musician, a violinist, and he had played with the Cincinnati
Symphony and the Cleveland Symphony. He was a very good violinist, but he
felt he would never be a soloist and that he would always just be a member of a
symphony. He decided to give up music and become a lawyer. By the time I
knew him, Berger was in his 50s. He had this practice representing clients who
were seeking to recover assets that the government had seized as alien property
during World War II. Prior to the war, Germans who owned assets in the United
States had transferred those assets to U.S. citizens because they were concerned
that their property would be seized in the event of the war. Some of these
transfers were bona fide; some were a sham. People who claimed they were
– 62 –
bona fide buyers were now trying get their property back, but the Government
claimed these were sham deals and had seized the property during the war.
Berger represented these people. That was the core of his practice. He asked me
if I would draft some briefs and do some research. He was extremely an
exacting task master. He had very high standards of craftsmanship and if the
work product wasn’t any good he would reject it. I learned a great deal from him
because I was working directly with the person who had these very exacting and
demanding standards of craftsmanship. Because there was just the two of us, we
would frequently go to lunch together. He also took me to concerts at the
Library of Congress where the Budapest Quartet was playing. He knew those
guys. I think they would play together at his home. When I was going to college,
I’d listen to music on the radio. However, I didn’t know much about music. But
Berger took me to these concerts. He would talk to me about the music, about
the quartets or trios that were being played. I owe a lot to him about my musical
education and enhancing my great love of music which is a very important part
of my life. When I drive my car, I usually do so with a CD playing classical
music. One day, Berger summoned me to his office. He had three violins on his
couch, and he said sit down, I want you to listen to something. He picked up the
first violin, and he played a little excerpt from the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.
He said do you hear that? I listened, and he said that violin is called a Guarneri.
He picked up the second violin, and he played the same passage. Let me tell
you, my ear wasn’t sophisticated, so I didn’t recognize much of a difference, but
I listened very intently. He said do you hear that? He said that’s Guadagnini. I
didn’t know much about it, but later I learned that that was really something. He
– 63 –
said, now I want you to listen to the third violin. He played the same excerpt
from the concerto, and he asked me were the violins the same or could I tell the
difference? Well I could see there was a difference. The third one he said, you
see how velvety it is? It is a Stradivarius. He liked that one, and he bought it. As
I said, he cultivated my interest in music. I learned a great deal from him,
particularly how to write a memorandum and to draft a brief and how to
organize things. He showed me the craft of being a lawyer.
Mr. Pierson: Didn’t you learn something about writing in Chicago, I presume?
Mr. Krash: Well, not much. You didn’t learn to write, carefully either at Chicago or Yale.
Apart from the Law Review, there wasn’t much writing really either in the
Chicago Law School or at Yale. But here I learned to work carefully. Berger and
I wrote a couple of law review articles together, and I began to learn the craft of
being a lawyer. In November of 1952, there was a presidential election, and
Eisenhower was elected. Berger had been counting on Donald Cook returning to
practice with him. Cook essentially was the business generator there. However,
Cook decided not to come back to practice in Washington, DC, but instead to go
to New York as a corporate executive. At that point, I think, Berger concluded
that there was no future for him in practicing any further. He didn’t confide in
me, but he made clear that he didn’t see a future in his practice.
Mr. Pierson: Closing up shop.
Mr. Krash: He closed up the shop. He told me in November, 1952, that I’ll be closing up
shop at the end of the year. He went to the West Coast to the University of
California where he thought he would do some writing. He ultimately went to
– 64 –
the Harvard Law School where he became the Charles Warren Senior Fellow in
American Legal History. He spent the period beginning around 1960s at
Harvard until he died in the late 1990s. He wrote a number of books pertaining
to issues of constitutional law. He was the total opposite of Crosskey. He
believed in states right; he felt the powers of the National government were
limited. He also felt that the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment was much
more narrow than Crosskey did.
Mr. Pierson: Did you have a debate with him about some of these things?
Mr. Krash: No, but I disagreed with him. He was very conservative. I didn’t agree with him.
I saw very little of him after he left Washington in 1952. After his first book
came out, there was a reception for him at the Cosmos Club. He was very
cordial when I saw him there. At the end of December, 1952, when Berger
closed his office, I was without a job. It was a very tough time to be a lawyer in
Washington without a job because what was happening at the time was that the
administration changed, and many of the lawyers who worked in the Democratic
administration were leaving the government. The supply of lawyers was very
high but the demand was not. It was tough, and I was scrambling around to try
to find something to do.
Mr. Pierson: Where were you living?
Mr. Krash: At this time I was living in an efficiency apartment at McLean Gardens on
Wisconsin Avenue. But I was almost broke. I didn’t have anything to do. I was
running around trying to find a job after 2 1/2 years out of law school. One day,
I received a call from Patricia Wald I had known her in Yale as Patricia
– 65 –
McGowan. She had married Bob Wald. After she left Yale, she clerked for
Judge Jerome Frank on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She was
hired by Arnold, Fortas & Porter as an associate. I got this call from her one
afternoon. I hadn’t seen much of her at all since leaving Yale. This was out of
the blue. She said to me that I am an associate at Arnold, Fortas & Porter; I am
going to have a baby, and I’m going to take a leave of absence. She then asked
me whether I would be willing to come over and substitute for her for six
months on a temporary basis. If she had called and asked me if I would come
and sweep the floors, I would have come because I was broke. She said, I’ll pass
your name on. When I arrived at the office, Abe Fortas wanted to see me. I saw
him for 5 or 10 minutes. He told me he wanted me to come to the firm with the
understanding that I was a temporary associate. I would get a considerably
higher salary that I had received previously when working with Berger.
Mr. Pierson: How many lawyers were there on staff?
Mr. Krash: There were then eleven lawyers in the firm. The firm was composed of the three
senior partners, Thurman Arnold, Abe Fortas, Paul Porter, and in addition,
Walton Hamilton, who had been a professor at Yale. Hamilton wasn’t a lawyer,
he was an economist. The other four partners were Milton Freeman who had
been with the SEC; Norman Diamond who had been in various government
positions; Harry Plotkin who was a communications lawyer; and Bill
McGovern, who had been a lawyer in the Antitrust Division. There were three
associates. There was a fellow by the name of Reed Miller, who was a
communications lawyer; an associate by the name of George Bunn, who later
became Dean of the University of Wisconsin Law School; and one other
– 66 –
associate, Duane (Bud) Vieth. I was the twelfth lawyer. All of the persons I have
mentioned are now deceased, with the exception of Bud Vieth, who later
became the Chairman of the firm. He is now 90 years old. He is an exceptionally
fine person. He is the only person now surviving who was at the firm when I
came. I was given an office on the 4th floor of the town house on 19th Street
that the firm occupied. The firm was representing Lever Brothers in an antitrust
suit brought by the Department of Justice against Procter & Gamble, Colgate
and Lever charging them with a conspiracy to monopolize the soap and
detergent business in violation of the Sherman Act. This was the major case in
the firm. Fortas was lawyer in charge of the Lever Brothers matters; he was
assisted in this case by McGovern whose office was on the 4th floor next to the
office I was given. I was supposed to work with McGovern as his associate
helping him. When I arrived, I was immediately put to work on this antitrust
case. I was the youngest associate, but I quickly made friends. I became good
friends with McGovern, who was about a decade older than I was. He was a
Yale Law School graduate who had been in World War II in the Far East. I also
became very friendly with Norman Diamond and Bud Vieth and with the other
younger men. The firm had a weekly luncheon downstairs in the basement, and
we would sit around talking about our cases. Somebody would talk about the
case they had. It was called the Garden Room. In any event, I was working on
this antitrust case. McGovern supervised me.
Mr. Pierson: Was there anything in your educational experience that particularly helped you
on that first case?
– 67 –
Mr. Krash: Well, first I had some antitrust background. That was number one. I went to
Levi’s course. Two, the training with Berger was very important because I was
being asked to write memos and briefs. Berger had taught me how to write a
memo; how to organize one. He really taught me that. I want to go back before I
forget. I mentioned that that Berger had an associate, Abe Goldstein. As I said,
he sent Goldstein to clerk for Judge Bazelon. Goldstein never came back after
the clerkship. He joined Jiggs Donohue, who was kind of a mayor of
Washington, for a period of time. He had a small law firm in Washington, and
Goldstein practiced there for several years. Then he was invited by Eugene
Rostow to join the Yale faculty. He spent the rest of his career there, and he
became the Dean at Yale. To make a long story short, Goldstein and I became
lifelong friends. He died about five years ago. We remained friends for a
lifetime. Later in the 1970s, he invited me to come to Yale and teach seminars.
He was an exceptionally fine and able person. At any rate, here I am, at Arnold,
Fortas & Porter in the spring of 1953 working basically with Bill McGovern and
Fortas on this government monopoly case against Lever Brothers. That is what I
was doing pretty much exclusively. Then, in the summer of 1953, the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Columbia Circuit appointed Fortas as counsel for an indigent
petitioner in a case called Durham v. United States. The Durham case raised the
question of how to define the standard of criminal responsibility. That is, how
do you define the insanity defense? Judge Bazelon was enormously interested in
the relationship between psychiatry and law, and I believe he was instrumental
in having Fortas selected as the counsel for this indigent petitioner, Durham.
Fortas was very friendly with a number of psychoanalysts and psychiatrists in
– 68 –
Washington. So I think that probably had something to do why he was asked.
I’m not sure. Fortas called me to his office and he said I have been appointed as
counsel for the petitioner in this case, Durham v. United States. The case raises
the question, how should the Court define the insanity defense; what must a
defendant who pleads insanity show? He said he wanted to take a fresh look at
this and to see if we could change the existing standard to make it compatible
with modern psychiatry. I knew zilch about the insanity defense. In 1953, there
was very little literature about it. There had been a Royal Commission in
England that had issued a report, but there were very few cases. The standard in
1953 in the District of Columbia was whether the accused knew the difference
between right and wrong. It was a test formulated in England in the middle of
the 19th Century known as the M’Naghten test. The psychiatrist called to testify
as an expert witness in a criminal case was required to give his opinion whether
the defendant knew the difference between right and wrong. He was very
restricted in his testimony by this test. The question of whether the accused
knew the differences between right from wrong was an irrelevant question for
most psychiatrists. Anyway, Fortas said, I want you to write me a draft of a
brief, and this was my first assignment directly from him.
Mr. Pierson: So when he asked you to do the brief, had you and he discussed what the
standard should be?
Mr. Krash I don’t recall that he suggested a particular new test. I think he knew what the
existing standard was. He knew the psychiatrist were very critical of it. He said
we have to see if there is a better approach. It took me several weeks to read the
– 69 –
literature there was on it. There wasn’t very much on it. I wrote a draft brief, and
I really worked hard on it because I wanted to impress him.
Mr. Pierson: How much of what you used was psychiatric and how much was law?
Mr. Krash: Well most of it was law, but I was beginning to sift through the psychiatric
literature, but it wasn’t a lot. I wrote a brief urging that a different test be
adopted. I gave him the draft of the brief.
Mr. Pierson: Which test did you propose?
Mr. Krash: I can’t recall which test I proposed. I think I followed the English suggestion at
that time. Anyway, I gave Fortas the draft and about 2-3 days later he called me
to his office and said to me the draft looks pretty good. He said this is about
what I would have expected from a good young man at Covington & Burling.
C&B was the big law firm in Washington, DC at that time. He then said that he
wanted me to take the draft back and put some poetry into it. He said I want you
to broaden your scope. I went back, and I revised it. I incorporated some of the
things he suggested. Then he took my draft and revised it extensively. Fortas
argued the case in the Court of Appeals. The Court issued an opinion in Durham
v. The United States announcing a new test, that is, whether the offense was the
product of mental disease or defect. The opinion was widely discussed. It was a
sensation. In the fall of 1953, my six months’ period as a substitute for Pat Wald
was up. I had become very friendly with McGovern and some of the other men
in the firm. I felt I would need to look around for a job, and I asked McGovern if
he would give me a reference letter. He said no, don’t look around. A few days
later, he came back and said that they would like to offer me a permanent
– 70 –
position with the firm. This would have been in the fall of 1953. I began as a
temporary employee and remained with the firm for 65 years. Patricia Wald,
later Judge Wald. She and I have remained friends for life. She has had a very
distinguished career. I have great regard for her. Just last week, she was awarded
the Medal of Freedom by President Obama. Her husband, Bob and I became
friends as well; sadly, he died a couple of years ago. Pat Wald never came back
to the firm after having her first child. She had a daughter, Sarah, and then she
had other children later. Her son, Douglas Wald, is a partner in our firm. So here
I am in 1953, the l2th lawyer at the firm. It is a small firm. I’m getting to get to
know the various people better. First, let me speak of Judge Arnold; he grew up
in Laramie, Wyoming. I grew up in Cheyenne. He was born a half a century
before me. He was practicing law in the 1920s in Laramie and teaching at the
University of Wyoming Law School. A friend of his heard there was a position
as Dean open at the University of West Virginia Law School and urged him to
take it. Arnold moved there as Dean. Charles Clark, who was then Dean of the
Yale Law School, saw articles that Arnold was writing on procedure. Clark
liked them and invited Arnold to come to Yale. This was around 1930-31.
Arnold became a wonderful teacher at Yale. It was there that he wrote two
books. One was The Symbols of Capitalism and the other was The Folklore of
Capitalism, which was his most famous book and is still read today. He then
came to Washington, DC to work in the New Deal. He was nominated to be
head of the Antitrust Division around 1938, as I recall. The New Deal, which
had been in favor of government regulation now shifted to being in favor of
competition. Arnold was a hell-raiser. He sued everybody in sight. He
– 71 –
revolutionized antitrust law enforcement. When the World War II broke out, it
became clear that the antitrust practice had to be shelved because you couldn’t
go after these people making war materials. Arnold was nominated to be a judge
on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He was on the Court around three
years. By temperament, he wasn’t cut out to be a judge. He didn’t really enjoy it
because he was an active type of guy. Judging was much too passive for him. He
resigned as a judge in 1945, and for the rest of his life he was called Judge
Arnold. He then started a law firm with another man by the name of Wiprud.
That relationship broke up in about a year. Then Fortas came out of the
government, and he and Arnold teamed up. Fortas had been one of Arnold’s
students at Yale. Of all the hundreds of people at Arnold & Porter, and I’ve been
here for 65 years, I regard Arnold as the greatest person in the firm. He was
extraordinarily generous. He was very funny. He had a Mark Twain originality
about him. He was enormously well educated. I would come into his office and
he’d ask if I read this book or that book. When we went to New York together to
try a case, he would pick out a good restaurant. He loved to go to the theatre and
get a front row seat. After that, he would like to go to our hotel for a drink and
talk for a while. He was very creative and imaginative. During the 1950s he was
asked to act as a lawyer for the poet, Ezra Pound. During the War, Pound was in
Italy, and he made radio speeches supportive of the Fascists that were anti-
Roosevelt and anti-Semitic. Near the end of the war, the U.S. troops picked
Pound up in Italy and brought him back to the U.S. where he was indicted for
treason. He was found mentally incompetent to stand trial, and was confined to
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Robert Frost and others came to Arnold to help get
– 72 –
Pound released. He had been confined in the hospital for several years. Some of
the young Turks in the office who heard about this were aghast. Arnold learned
about this, and he summoned me to his office. He said he had heard that I was
among those raising questions about our representing Pound on a pro bono
basis. He said to me, “Look sonny boy, you like to think of yourself as being a
civil liberties lawyer, don’t you? It is very easy to be a civil liberties lawyer if
you are representing people with whom you agree and whom you like. The real
test is whether you stand up for people who you don’t like and whose opinion
you detest.” He told me, “You have to learn to stand up as a lawyer for such
people.” He taught me a very important lesson. I worked a lot with him on many
matters until his death in 1969. A number of us would come down after work to
our Garden Room for a cocktail and he would say to the persons there: “You
should see the brief that Abe has written. It is the best since the firm was
started.” I would go home walking on air. Two weeks later, he’d be saying the
same thing about something Bud Vieth or Stuart Land had written. He had the
capacity to make people feel good, which is a great gift. I admired and liked him
enormously. I learned a great deal from him.
– 73 –
Oral History of Abe Krash
Third Interview
October 16, 2013
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of the Historical Society
of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewee is Abe Krash, Esquire, and the interviewer is
Stuart Pierson, Esquire. The interview took place on October 16, 2013. This is the third
Mr. Pierson: Today is October 16, 2013. We are here at the offices of Arnold & Porter. I am
Stuart Pierson and Abe Krash is across the table from me. This is our third
session of the interview and as usual Mr. Krash is ready and running to go. Abe
it is all yours.
Mr. Krash: When we adjourned our last session in August, I was describing my coming to
Arnold, Fortas & Porter in March 1953 as a temporary associate to take
Patricia Wald’s place while she was having a baby. At the end of the last
session, I briefly spoke about Judge Arnold, with whom I worked a great deal
after I came here. I thought I would also say a few words about Abe Fortas and
Paul Porter, who were the senior partners at the time when I arrived. When I
arrived at the firm, Abe Fortas was 42 years old. He was one of the three
senior partners. By all measures, he was the dominant figure in the firm. He
was a very complex and enigmatic person. I worked with Abe Fortas from the
time I came in the summer of 1953 until he left the law firm to become an
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in the summer of 1965. Thus, I worked
with him for about a decade. I have met and known many very able lawyers in
my life time, but I count Fortas as the most able lawyer I have ever met. He
was an exceptionally competent person. There is a biography about him by
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Laura Kalman, which was written in the 1990s. I think it is quite good, though
I don’t think it really fully captures the way he was, and I disagree with some
of her judgments about various things that happened during his life. However,
it is a good biography about him. He was an extremely demanding task master.
Anything he assigned to you, he insisted be comprehensively done and that
you look at every nook and corner, and that it be written with care and
precision. When I come into his office, he insisted that I have a pad with me.
He would ask me something and he would say if you don’t know, just tell me
you don’t know and that’s OK. But don’t guess. He wanted you to be certain of
any answer you gave him. He was very impatient with work that he thought
was shoddy or incomplete or didn’t meet his exacting standards. He was a
superb counselor and advisor to people in all kinds of legal matters. He
functioned in many areas of the law. He was an excellent securities lawyer. He
had been at the SEC. He was also active in the antitrust area. He advised
people who had legislative problems; he would counsel people about
international law problems. He was also an exceptionally good appellate
advocate. Justice Douglas, who was on the Supreme Court for 34 years, said in
his autobiography that Fortas’s oral argument in the Gideon case was the best
single argument during his time on the court. Douglas and Fortas were very
good friends so you have to discount that a bit. Nevertheless, it is a high
tribute. Fortas was not a trial lawyer. In the trial courts, he would argue
motions, but he didn’t try cases during the entire time I was at the firm. He was
personally responsible for many of the firm’s major clients. He was on the
board of various organizations. His life was basically his work. He and his
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wife did not have any children. He was very much devoted and dedicated to
working for his law firm.
Mr. Pierson: Where had he been before he came to Arnold, Fortas and Porter?
Mr. Krash: He grew up and went to college in the Memphis area. I’m not sure, I think it
was Southwestern College. He then went to the Yale Law School and
graduated around 1932. He was the editor-in chief of the Yale Law Journal.
Immediately after graduation, he was offered a position on the faculty, which
is a very great tribute indeed. He taught briefly, and then he came to
Washington. He worked at the SEC with William Douglas and at the
Agriculture Adjustments Administration with Jerome Frank, who was later a
judge on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Fortas was the Under
Secretary of the Interior under Harold Ickes when he was 32 years old. There
were a lot of very distinguished lawyers in the New Deal, to put it mildly, but
Fortas was one of the stars. He left the government after the end of World War
II. At that time he was the Under Secretary of Interior under Ickes, and he left
to start the law firm with Judge Arnold, who had left his seat on the bench on
the Court of Appeals. Arnold had been one of Fortas’s teachers at Yale. The
two of them started the law firm, and then they were joined a couple of years
later by Paul Porter; they then became Arnold, Fortas & Porter. I will describe
various cases and matters I worked on with Fortas. I had previously, in my last
session, talked about my experience with him in the Durham case and perhaps
I can say a little about the Gideon case a little later and some of the other cases
I worked with him on. I learned a great deal from him. He was not a hale
fellow well met. Sometimes when I travelled with him, as I did to various
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cities where we had matters, he would speak quite openly about his
background and events in his life, but generally speaking, he was very
secretive about his life and experiences. As I said in our last interview, the first
matter I worked with him on was this brief we wrote for the Court of Appeals
in Durham v. US, where he was appointed by the Court of Appeals. After that I
worked with him on many matters. I helped him write briefs, memoranda, draft
speeches and so forth. The third senior partner when I arrived was Paul Porter.
He was from Kentucky and he had varied experiences in the government. He
had been an Ambassador to Greece. He was the head of the Office of Price
Administration. He had been the Chairman of the Federal Communications
Commission. I think he was the Chairman of the Democratic National
Committee when Roosevelt ran in 1944. So we had very wide governmental
experience and contacts. He was a superb raconteur. He would tell wonderfully
funny and interesting tales. He complemented the two others, Arnold and
Fortas, in an important way in that he had greater experience in the
government than any of them. Arnold was head of the Antitrust Division and
Fortas had been on various jobs, but Porter gave an added dimension to the
two of them in terms of his wide-spread contacts with many people. He had
basically a communications practice involving the problems of radio and
television stations. He also did other things. He was a very good appellate
advocate. I did not work nearly as much with him as I did with Judge Arnold
and Fortas; I didn’t do much communications work. I did a lot with both
Arnold and Fortas, but much less with Porter. As I previously mentioned, I
was hired to work on a major antitrust case which the firm had. We were
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representing Lever Brothers. The Government of the United States had brought
a suit against Procter & Gamble, Lever Brothers, Colgate, and the soap
association, claiming that they were parties to a conspiracy to restrain and
monopolize the soap and detergent trade in violation of the Sherman Act.
Mr. Pierson: So who were your clients?
Mr. Krash: Our client was Lever Brothers. The team consisted of Fortas who was in charge
of all Lever Brothers’ matters for the firm, and working under him in charge,
running this case was Bill McGovern, who had been in the Antitrust Division
and who was then a young partner in his late 30s. I was the third man on the
team. My work was basically with McGovern.
Mr. Pierson: So a major antitrust case with two partners and one associate. Those were the
good old days.
Mr. Krash: Those were the good old days. That was basically the team. Once in a while we
would bring in some other associates when there was a big flurry of things.
This case dragged on for many years in the United States District Court in
Newark. Finally, the government dropped the case in the late 1950s because by
that time the detergent industry had been transformed by the dominance of
Procter & Gamble. What happened was that after World War II ended, Procter
& Gamble introduced a synthetic detergent made from a petroleum derivative.
It was called Tide and caught the two other principle competitors flat-footed.
Within a decade, I would say certainly by the mid-50s, they were by far the
dominant firm, with perhaps half the market. Lever Brothers, which was
almost equal in market share with Procter & Gamble in the 1940s, fell far
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behind. It became clear that it was senseless to pursue the case, and I think the
government came to that realization and they dropped the case. In one matter,
the case went to the Supreme Court, where there was a question about access
to grand jury transcripts. Over the years, the various motions and conferences
in the case were in Newark, and I was very much involved in this with Bill
McGovern. As time went on Fortas faded out more or less. He always kept a
hand in it and watched over it. But really it was McGovern and me who were
the active lawyers in the case by and large. When there were important
motions, Fortas would come to Newark and argue them. Another thing that
was going on at the time I arrived at Arnold, Fortas & Porter in 1953 was that
the firm had become involved in representing employees who were involved in
the Government Loyalty and Security Program, which was started by President
Truman, I believe, around 1948 or 1949. He issued an executive order
requiring in substance that all government employees could be challenged on
grounds of loyalty or security. It lead to administrative hearings. It was a very
bizarre period in American history because what was going on was that
government employees were being charged for being disloyal on the basis of
associations they had back in college, or because of magazines they read in
college, or groups they had joined years before. One feature of the program,
which was very troublesome and problematic, was that these loyalty boards
refused to allow the employee to confront witnesses against them. The Boards
themselves frequently did not see the witnesses. They had FBI or other
investigators talk to parties, and the Board relied on memoranda of these
conversations. The employee didn’t have a chance to confront his accusers. It
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was a Star Chamber type of procedure. It was alien to the American tradition.
Many of these government employees were people of modest means. The law
firm, Arnold, Fortas & Porter, provided counsel in the late 1940s or 1950s to a
number of employees. This had to be done pro bono because these were people
without means. The three senior partners felt very keenly about this. They
thought this was wrong, that it was a deprivation of freedom of speech and
civil rights. Fortas was the driving force behind this, but he didn’t appear
publicly as much as did Arnold and Porter. Two of the cases in this area we
handled went to the Supreme Court. One was Bailey v. Richardson, which is a
case decided before I came to the office. It was decided by the D.C. Court of
Appeals and then appealed to the Supreme Court. At the Supreme Court, it was
4 to 4. They didn’t really deal with it. We were challenging basically the denial
of the right of employees to confront adverse witnesses and the standards that
were applied, which were so vague and subjective. Then, when I arrived there
was a case in the firm involving Dr. Peters, a professor at the Yale Medical
School, who was a consultant to a government agency. He had been charged
with being disloyal. In any event, we drove that case to the Supreme Court. I
helped write the briefs. I remember going to the oral argument. I sat at the
counsel table. The members of the Court were arguing tremendously back and
forth. Following the argument, the court asked for supplemental briefs dealing
with a question that we had tried to finesse. We had in our briefs challenged
the constitutionality of this program and in particular the procedures being
followed by the loyalty boards which we said denied due process to the
employees involved and were in violation of the First Amendment. We wanted
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those questions decided. At the oral argument, the court became preoccupied
with the procedures of the loyalty board. What happened in this case was that
Peters had been cleared by the departmental loyalty board, and then an
appellate loyalty review board reviewed the case and ruled against him. The
Supreme Court asked for supplemental briefs on this issue of whether the
Loyalty Review Board had jurisdiction to review a case which a Departmental
Loyalty Board had decided favorably for the employee. We briefed the case,
and the Supreme Court decided the case on the grounds that the Loyalty
Review Board had no jurisdiction to hear a case involving a favorable decision
to the employee by departmental loyalty board. We won the case on a
procedural point, but we lost the case on what we really had fought the case to
decide. We wanted a decision from the Supreme Court that this was an
unconstitutional kind of procedure and program. As I said, I worked on the
supplemental brief together with Judge Arnold.
Mr. Pierson: Was McCarthy acting in this case:
Mr. Krash: No, by 1953 or 1954 McCarthy had begun to lose altitude. There were Senate
hearings relating to the Army. He had lost a great deal of altitude by the time
of the Peters case. There was another major loyalty and security case which I
worked on, which was called the Fort Monmouth cases. There were a number
of employees at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey who were discharged as loyalty
and security risks. We fought those cases, and we won all of those cases. The
employees were all reinstated. This representation by the law firm of these
government employees became widely known. It took a lot of guts to take on
these loyalty and security cases because people would say you must be
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sympathetic to communist if you are representing these kinds of people. Many
lawyers were unwilling to take these cases because of apprehension that their
clients would terminate their relationship. Arnold, Fortas & Porter stood their
ground. They fought these cases, and the firm became famous as a place that
would stand up for civil liberties. There were a lot of things written about the
firm at that time. Fortas was very much a key influence in these cases. He
believed passionately that this was wrong. The firm also represented a Owen
Lattimore, who was a professor at Johns Hopkins and a specialist in Far East
matters, who had been denounced as a Soviet agent of some sort. There were
extensive congressional hearings in which Fortas represented Lattimore. The
Justice Department then indicted Lattimore on grounds of perjury. The case
was thrown out by Judge Luther Youngdahl. He was an exceptionally decent
person. We successfully represented Owen Lattimore. The proceeding went on
for a number of years. I was not personally involved in the Lattimore
proceedings. Basically Judge Arnold, and before that, Fortas, and Bill Rogers,
then an associate in the firm, who is now deceased, worked a lot with Arnold
on the Owen Lattimore case. I personally was not involved. I was involved at a
number of these loyalty security cases, particularly in the Peters case and the
Fort Monmouth cases. I later read a book about the loyalty and security cases
by John Lord O’Brien, a lawyer at Covington. He wrote a book about some of
these things, that I reviewed. My review was published in The Harvard Law
Review. In any event, I spent a lot of time in the earlier years I was in the firm
working on various aspects of these cases.
The first case I worked with Fortas on was the Durham case, which was in the
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summer of 1953. As I previously mentioned, the Court of Appeals in that case
rejected the existing insanity rule in criminal cases and applied a new rule.
Fortas asked me to draft a brief. He basically wrote it, but I wrote drafts of it,
and he argued it. I subsequently became very much interested in the judicial
administration of the insanity defense. There were many decisions by the Court
of Appeals in the 1950s in the District of Columbia, mainly driven by the
interest of Judge Bazelon, who was very much interested in psychiatry and the
law. A number of people at that time had the idea that psychiatrists could be a
very significant factor in the administration of criminal justice. I think people
over estimated what psychiatrists knew and could do as well the resources that
were available. In my opinion, the insanity issue is not a suitable vehicle for
dealing with much of the administration of criminal justice. It relates to the
most extreme kind of cases and not the typical cases. There is a lot of mental
illness, God knows, among criminal defendants, but the insanity defense is not
the way to deal with it. In the mid-950s I wrote an article describing the various
decisions in this area by the Court of Appeals; there were many decisions
involving pretrial standards, trial standards and post-trial standards. I wrote a
lengthy article describing what was going on that was published in The Yale
Law Journal. Sometime in the mid-50s Judge Bazelon called me and invited
me to be his law clerk. But by that time, I was five or six years out of law
school, and I just felt it was too late for me to do that. At any rate, I remained at
the law firm. We were doing a lot of exciting and interesting things. I also just
got married about that time or was about to get married. Around 1955, I met
my wife, Joan. We got married in February of 1957. She grew up in the New
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York City area and lived later briefly in the Colorado area, and she then came
to Washington, DC. She was working for The Journal of Commerce. She was a
reporter there. She attended George Washington University. She studied
economics there, and I met her, and we were married in February of 1957. We
subsequently had two daughters. We had my daughter, Jessica, who was born
in 1959 and my daughter, Carla, who was born in 1961. Jessica became a
professional musician. In our neighborhood there was a famous piano teacher
at the time when Jessica was growing up. Her name was Ylda Novik. Her
house was just two blocks away from us. We took Jessica to meet her, and she
finally accepted Jessica as a student. To make a long story short, Jessica was
greatly influenced by her and became a first class pianist. Later she went to
Harvard, studied at MIT, at the Julliard School of music, and she got her
Doctorate at Maryland and became a piano teacher and composer. She just had
her second record out consisting of pieces she composed and played. She is a
music professor at George Washington University. My other daughter, Carla,
lives in Philadelphia. She was named after my high school principal, whose
name was Karl Winchell and who greatly befriended me. Carla went to the
Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. She is very artistic. She pursued
a career to some extent in clothing design. She is not doing that any more. She
lives in Philadelphia. Jessica is here in Washington.
I have been greatly enriched by my wife. I like to say that she has been a life
force. She greatly encouraged me to do many things I might not otherwise
have done. She was very supportive. We’ve been married for 56 years.
In the 1950s, I became heavily involved in the D.C. Bar Association. When I
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was a young lawyer in the early 1950s, it was a segregated organization.
Black lawyers were not admitted. A number of young lawyers in town who
were members of the Bar Association observed this, and were very troubled
by it; we felt it was unjust and immoral. So a group of young Turks in town
got together and we presented motions to the Bar Association to abandon
this segregation. We fought it. There was a great meeting of the Bar
Association in 1956 or 1957 at the Mayflower Hotel to consider this issue.
We rounded up a lot of the young men in town, and we won. We got the Bar
Association to drop this rule and to admit black lawyers. There were many,
many guys who joined together in that movement in town here. A whole
group of us were just deeply offended by this, and we really fought it hard. I
remember that some of the older members of the Bar Association urged the
Association to continue to exclude. But the majority of the Bar Association
voted to repeal the rule and so black lawyers were then admitted to the bar
Mr. Pierson: Was Jake Stein involved in that?
Mr. Krash: I can’t recall whether Jake was involved. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was.
Bear in mind, this occurred about three or four years after the Supreme Court‘s
decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Washington was still a very
segregated community. For example black persons rode in the back of street
cars; schools were segregated; many restaurants were segregated; theaters were
segregated. There was a lot of segregation in Washington, which troubled
many of us. But we fought this thing with the Bar Association, and we won.
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There were almost no young black lawyers in the law firms. When I came to
Arnold, Fortas and Porter, which was one of the principal law firms in town,
there were no black lawyers. The law firms in town didn’t hire them. They
didn’t give them a chance. During the 1950s our firm was among the first to
hire women. There was an enormous amount of prejudice in the 1950s against
black lawyers. They were shut out. There was also a great deal of prejudice
against women. There were very few women at law firms that I can remember.
We were very lucky to have Patricia Wald as an associate. Carol Agger, who
was Abe Fortas’s wife, came to our firm around 1960 when we acquired the
Paul Weiss Office in Washington. She was a partner in that office. It was very
rare in Washington at that time to have women as a partner. I remember going
to the local District Court to argue a case before a woman judge. That was very
rare too. There was just a great deal of prejudice and discrimination. With
respect to Jewish lawyers, there was a lot of discrimination still against Jewish
lawyers. In the late 1950s, it began to break down. I think several things
happened to account for that. One was that many men who had been in the
War together with Jewish fellows rose up and became partners in their law
firms and it was not acceptable to them to exclude Jewish men from their
ranks. They were friends. The second thing was that clients began to raise
questions about this. The discrimination began to break down quite a bit in the
late 1950s and early 1960s when you began to see change. But the prejudice
and discrimination against black persons continued, and the prejudice against
women continued long after that, I would say into the 1970s and 1980s. As a
matter of fact, there are still some aspects of discrimination against women
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lawyers. Today, I would say that there is relatively little discrimination with
respect to the hiring of young black lawyers, but they still experience difficulty
in rising up in the law firm. Very few rise up to the top ranks of the firms,
although a few do. We hire many women at Arnold & Porter. I teach at
Georgetown and half of the students in my class are women. Women now have
much more opportunity. I would say that the playing field is still not even in
some ways. For example, you see very few women occupying positions in the
executive committees of law firms. However, more and more opportunities are
opening up.
Going back to what’s going on in my law firm in the 1950s, I was being given
an opportunity because it was a very small firm. Arnold, Fortas & Porter had
less than 15 lawyers in the 1950s. I was given an opportunity to go to court and
argue motions and to take depositions. Sometime around 1956, we were
retained to represent a company in an antitrust suit against the United Fruit
Company involving the distribution of bananas. There was an antitrust suit in
the District Court in New York. Judge Arnold was in charge of this, and he
took me with him to New York. We tried this case in New York, and it was
there really that I began to have a lot of opportunity to do trial work,
particularly working closely with Judge Arnold and to learn the art of being a
trial lawyer. That occurred sometime around 1957 and 1958. It was a terrific
Mr. Pierson: When you were trying this case in New York, did you have an office in New
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Mr. Krash: I don’t think we did. The firm had an apartment in New York. We didn’t have
an office. I think we may have leased some offices or had some offices with
co-counsel. Today, Arnold & Porter, LLP has an office in New York, a branch
office with over a 100 lawyers but we didn’t in 1953. There was co-counsel we
had in New York and we worked there with them. This case went on for
several months, and I had a chance to get a lot of experience as a trial lawyer.
Mr. Pierson: How did the case turn out?
Mr. Krash: The jury was hung. Finally it was settled as I recall. Another thing I did in the
1950s was I was invited to teach at the George Washington Law School. I
taught a course in domestic relations to a big class there and that really grew
out of some experience I had working with Fortas on a domestic relations case,
which went to the Supreme Court, called the Granville case. Anyway, I did
teach this course for one or two years at GW and that was the first time I had
taught anything. As I have stated, during the period of the 1950s I was being
given a lot of opportunity to do different things. One of the things that is very
different now is that the practice today is very specialized. A client who has an
environmental problem wants an environmental lawyer; if they have a
securities problem they want a lawyer experienced in securities matters; if they
have an antitrust problem, they want somebody who has worked in that area.
But in the 1950s, we were generalists. We handled many different types of
problems. There was not nearly the degree of specialization of the bar that is
true today. So I got to work in a lot of different areas, and to do a lot of
different things. The notion was we can learn anything if you give us a chance
to do it. We were not nearly so compartmentalized or so specialized, as is true
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So here we are now in the late 1950s and the law firm is still a relatively small
firm, with 15-16 lawyers, and I am working closely with Abe Fortas and with
Judge Arnold. I’m learning a great deal from both of them. I became very close
friends with Bill McGovern who was an excellent lawyer and a very fine
person. I also became good friends with some of the other younger men in the
firm, including a man by the name of Bud Vieth, who later became the
Chairman of the firm. There was a partner by the name of Norman Diamond.
We were very good friends, we would frequently have lunch together. Arnold,
Fortas & Porter was characterized by great deal of camaraderie and
collegiality, and there was a lot of affection and good will among the people at
that time. My view is that much of that atmosphere was created by Judge
Arnold, who was a person of great generosity of spirit, and who was regarded
with great affection and respect by all the lawyers in the firm. He was just very
good-willed. If you won a case, he was the first to cheer you. If you lost a case,
he was the first to console you and encourage you. Abe Fortas was the manager
and a key guy in terms of our practice. It was a small firm with a lot
Mr. Pierson: Are you going to get to Gideon today?
Mr. Krash: Yes, I’ll get to Gideon. That was in 1963. There are a couple of other things
about the 1950s I should mention before I leave that decade. We were retained
at one point, the firm was, to represent Playboy magazine which was then just
started and had been denied second class mailing privileges. That was
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practically a death sentence for a magazine, if you didn’t have second class
mailing privileges. We succeeded in getting them mailing privileges. Their
privileges were restored.
Mr. Pierson: This was in the 1950s?
Mr. Krash: Yes, This was in the 1950s. The Post Office gave the magazine the permit. If it
hadn’t been for that, Playboy probably would never have survived. In
connection with that, there was a case in the Supreme Court, called the Roth
case, which was the first obscenity case in the Supreme Court. We were
retained by a publisher of a magazine called Greenleaf Publishing Company to
write an amicus brief. You have to bear in mind that there had been no
obscenity cases in the Supreme Court before that. This was the first case. This
is in the mid-50s. We wrote this amicus brief. There was an associate in the
firm at the time whose name was Charles Reich, who was a graduate of the
Yale law school. He had clerked for Justice Black. I got to know him a little bit
and to make a long story short, he came to our law firm as an associate in the
mid-50s. He and I principally, together with Bill McGovern, wrote this amicus
brief in the Roth case. No one had ever really thought much about obscenity
and the First Amendment at this point. One of our principle points in the brief
was that obscenity is a very subjective idea. In order to demonstrate that we
inserted four pictures of scantily clad young ladies in this magazine, which we
were representing as the amicus. The Post Office had objected to two of the
pictures but not to the two others. It was impossible we thought rationally for
anybody to say why two of the pictures were objectionable and two were not.
We wanted to make the point to the court that obscenity is subjective and
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arbitrary. Charles Reich had the idea that we should insert the four photographs
into the brief and point out to the court how irrational all of this was. The
magazine came out in kind of a news print, but when we got the pictures for
insertion in the brief, that were done by a firm out of town, they were glossy,
they would knock your eyes out. Well any way, we inserted them in this
amicus brief. The brief was filed on Friday at the Supreme Court. I got a call at
about 3:30 p.m. from Fortas’s secretary saying that he wanted to see me right
away. I went down to his office, his office was on the 2nd floor of our building.
He had the brief on his desk. His name was at the top of the list of counsel. The
brief was signed by Abe Fortas, Bill McGovern, me and Charles Reich. Fortas
asked me who had authorized putting these pictures into this amicus brief? I
replied that I thought you knew all about it. It was my impression that
somebody had mentioned it to him. He said, I did not authorize it. He said very
emphatically, “I want those damn pictures taken out of the brief.” I told him the
brief had been filed at the Supreme Court earlier in the day. Fortas said, I don’t
care. You get those pictures out of there. I remember the incident vividly. I
raced out of our office; it was almost 4:00 p.m. and the Supreme Court clerk’s
office closed at 5:00 p.m. It was a Friday afternoon with a lot of traffic. I got a
taxi and I raced up to the Supreme Court to the clerk’s office. I got there about
4:30 p.m. and I asked the clerk of the Supreme Court if our brief had been
distributed to the Justice. He said no they have not yet been circulated. I said,
there has been an error in our briefs and I have to correct it. He said fine. He
gave me the copies of the briefs. I sat there at a desk while the clerk looked at
me in amazement as I took a pair of scissors and I cut out the four pictures
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from each brief. One of the briefs was already gone. I understand it went to
Justice Douglas’s office. They were not all there. There were about 38. I went
through every brief and with a pair of scissors and cut out these pictures. Bear
in mind, this is a brief with respect to censorship. That’s what we’re talking
about censorship. So, in a brief on censorship, I censored our brief by cutting
out all of these pictures.
Needless to say, I could not address the fact that that brief referred to these
pictures that were in there. But I did get the pictures out. I still have a copy of
that brief with the original pictures. This is kind of a legendary incident at our
law firm. People become convulsed with laughter over this. I will show them
the brief and people laugh about it when I tell them what happened. Let me tell
you, I didn’t laugh about it at the time.
Mr. Pierson: I think they had not been served on the opposing parties.
Mr. Krash: No, they hadn’t been served yet. Second thought, we probably did serve them
the opposing party by mail. At that time you served by certified mail. But they
hadn’t been delivered to members of the court. The Roth case became famous
as the point where the Supreme Court started to look at the obscenity issue. I
became interested in that subject too. I subsequently wrote a review about the
trial involving Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the novel by D.H. Lawrence. There
was a great controversy about the book in England. I wrote a review for The
Harvard Law Review about the obscenity issue. It was based, in large part, on
my experience in helping to write the amicus brief in the Roth case. This is the
late 1950s now. I’m married and a young associate in Arnold. Fortas &
Porter. In 1960, I was named a partner in the law firm, together with several
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other men, including a man by the name of George Bunn who later left the
firm and became Dean at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He and I
were made partners. I’m a young, busy Washington lawyer. Sometime in the
late 1950s, the Lever Brothers Company purchased from Monsanto Company
the trade mark ALL. Monsanto is a chemical company, and they developed
and manufactured the product, ALL, a synthetic detergent that was the first
major detergent used in dish washing machines. What made ALL unique was
that other detergent products had a lot of suds, whereas ALL did not, and you
didn’t want a lot of suds in your dish washer. The chemists at the Monsanto
Chemical Company had crafted this product to work in dish washers;
dishwashers were just becoming more wide-spread and popular at that time.
This was a unique product. Monsanto was a chemical company, and it was not
good at marketing the product, whereas that was Lever Brothers’ forte. They
were great marketers. So to make a long story short, Lever Brothers entered
into an agreement with Monsanto Company whereby Monsanto transferred
the trademark ALL to the Lever Brothers Company and Lever Brothers in turn
agreed to buy from Monsanto the synthetic detergent, that is the ALL product
itself. The government then pounced upon Lever and Monsanto under Section
7 of the Clayton Act, claiming that this was a transaction that would restrain
competition. The suit was filed in the United States District Court in New
York. Abe Fortas was the responsible partner for Lever work in our firm. Bill
McGovern and I were assigned to represent Lever in this case. We were
supervised by Fortas. This was a major case in our office. I went with
McGovern to New York, and we tried the case before Judge Archie Dawson.
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Early in the case, we made a decision to emphasize to the court the key role
that Procter & Gamble played in the detergent industry and that Lever was a
relatively minor player by this point and accordingly the transaction was procompetitive.
To prove our point, we had to go after Procter & Gamble’s
financials and other data. They fought us like a tiger.
Mr. Pierson: There wasn’t enough evidence in public to disclose?
Mr. Krash: No, No, We wanted to show how profitable they were and that Lever was a
relatively minor player struggling at this point. We wanted to show that
Procter & Gamble was far more successful than Lever. There was no
chance that competition would be adversely affected given their dominance.
What we were trying to prove was that Lever didn’t have the marketing
muscle to restrain competition in the detergent industry. We went after
Procter & Gamble and then after some really fierce engagements with them,
we subpoenaed their data, and I went out and argued the motion in
Cincinnati. The local judge rejected my arguments. I went back to Judge
Archie Dawson and Dawson issued a trial subpoena, which he had the
power to do under the antitrust laws; he could subpoena parties anywhere in
the country. He ordered Procter to produce the documents showing their
profits on detergents. They really resisted it, but we were able to show how
enormously successful they were. Procter & Gamble was a highly
competent organization and very successful, particularly in the detergent
field at this point.
Mr. Pierson: Who represented Procter & Gamble?
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Mr. Krash: As I remember the Dinsmore & Shol firm in Cincinnati represented them. Any
way we tried the ALL case, and we won the case. Judge Dawson decided the
case in our favor. The government then was going to appeal. Under the
controlling statute, the government could appeal the district court’s judgment
directly to the Supreme Court. Fortas, McGovern and I met with the Solicitor
General, Archibald Cox, and we urged him not to appeal, making much of the
same arguments we made to Judge Dawson. He accepted our views, and the
Government did not appeal the case. We won that case. The result of the case
was that it saved Lever’s position in the detergent business. Today, fifty years
later, Lever is out of that business altogether. But for many years, ALL was its
principal detergent product. That was a big case in our office, and once again I
had an opportunity to appear in court, to examine witnesses to make arguments
and so forth.
That brings us to 1962. At this point let me say I am a young partner now at
Arnold & Porter and I am working closely with Fortas in a lot of matters. He
represented Lever Brothers, Federated Department Stores, and other clients. I
was one of the lawyers in the firm he asked to assist him in writing briefs,
memos and things of that sort. Then, one June day in 1962, Fortas called me
to his office, and he said I have been appointed by the Supreme Court to
represent an indigent petitioner by the name of Clarence Earl Gideon. He said
I want you to supervise the research and to help me write the brief on behalf
of Gideon. I vividly remember the conversation a half a century later. Fortas
said to me that he didn’t know much about the case; he just had been
appointed by the court. The case involved the right to counsel, he said. He
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said to me, I want to know everything about the right to counsel since the
invention of money. He meant it. There wasn’t a day that passed that he didn’t
call me and say I want a memo on this point or that point relating to the right
to counsel. We had the obligation as Gideon’s counsel from day one to make
every argument we could on his behalf that would be supported by the record.
However, Fortas made clear to me at the first meeting that he wanted to get
the Supreme Court to rule in this case that every indigent person in this
country tried for a felony is entitled to the assistance of a lawyer. Two people
were assigned to help me with the research and to write the brief. One was a
fellow by the name of Ralph Temple, who was an associate at the firm. He
later left the firm to become the Chairman of the American Civil Liberties
Union office in Washington, DC. The other person assigned to me was a
third-year law student at the Yale Law School, who came to our firm that
summer as a summer law clerk. His name was John Hart Ely. I asked him if
he would write a memorandum on some aspect of the case. I didn’t know what
a third-year law student would be able to do. He gave me the memo to me
about a week later as I recall. I remember that as soon as I read it, I realized at
once that Ely was an exceptionally gifted person of remarkable ability. I was
right. He later became a professor at Yale, author of Democracy and Distrust,
and at Harvard, Dean of the Stanford Law School, and the author of a book
called which is a classic in constitutional law. He was one the leading legal
scholars in the country during the last quarter of the twentieth century.. He
was greatly respected and a highly regarded person. Sadly, he died about a
decade ago. Any way, he was assigned to help me. We treated this matter in
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the same way as if we had been retained by a major client for an important
project. That is the way we approached any pro bono matter. It was given the
same energy, commitment, and dedication. We worked the whole summer
preparing and writing memos for Fortas discussing all kinds of issues that he
was raising for us, and writing drafts of the briefs. There were two great
problems we had to deal with, one relating to an issue of precedent and the
other to a problem of federalism. As of 1962, there was a fundamental
difference as a matter of constitutional law between the right to counsel in the
federal courts and the right to counsel in the state courts. In the federal courts,
the Supreme Court had decided in the mid-1930s in a case called Johnson v.
Zerbst, that in every criminal prosecution, regardless of its nature, that if the
defendant was indigent, the court had a duty to appoint a lawyer under the
Sixth Amendment to assist him. If the court didn’t do that, the judgment was
void. In the state courts the rule was quite different. In a state court, the rule
was that in a capital case, cases involving the death penalty, the court was
required as a matter of constitutional law to appoint counsel for an indigent
defendant. That doctrine was derived from the Scottsboro Brothers case,
Powell v. Alabama, decided in 1933. But in all other felony cases, that is in all
non-capital cases, there was no constitutional obligation on the part of the
state courts to appoint counsel for an indigent individual. That principle was
confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1952 in a case called Betts v. Brady,
which was a Maryland prosecution for robbery. The defendant didn’t have a
lawyer, and the Supreme Court held that the state court was required to
appoint counsel only if there were “special circumstances.” “Special
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circumstances” were such that in this particular case, the court could conclude
that the failure of the defendant to have a lawyer denied him a fair trial. So it
was that many defendants, as of the time the Gideon case was decided, were
being prosecuted for felonies and convicted in the state courts, and sent to jail
without a lawyer. There were no “special circumstances” in the Gideon case.
Gideon’s petition involved a plain vanilla case which raised precisely the issue
as to whether or not in an ordinary felony case, in a state court, not involving
the death penalty, if the accused was indigent, did the state have a duty to
provide a lawyer for him. That was the issue.
As I said, we had two problems. The first was how do we deal with Betts v.
Brady, because there were no special circumstances in Gideon’s case. He was
a 50-year-old man, he was not illiterate, he was mentally competent, he was
not inexperienced in criminal cases. In order to win, we had to persuade the
court to overrule the Betts decision. As of 1962, 45 states furnished a lawyer
to indigent defendants in non-capital felony cases, but they didn’t do so
pursuant to the U.S. Constitution. They did so pursuant to state constitutions,
state court decisions, and state court rules. There were five outlier states, of
which Florida was one, which did not supply counsel to an indigent defendant
in a non-capital case. So our first problem was how to deal with Betts v.
Brady. We urged the court to reject Betts v. Brady, to overrule it. When the
court granted certiorari in the Gideon case, it specifically asked counsel to
brief whether Betts v. Brady should be reconsidered. That was a clear signal
to us that the court was considering abandoning the Betts v. Brady rule.
Problem number two that faced us, a central problem, was federalism,
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because if the Supreme court were to decide, as we were urging, that the
states had a duty to provide a lawyer for defendants in all felony cases, that
would be an intrusion by the Supreme Court to the administration of justice
by the states, requiring states to appropriate the money to pay for defense
counsel. We had to address the federalism issue. It was very touchy. You
have to remember a bit of constitutional history and bear in mind that as of
this time, 1962, there was a tremendous argument going on within the
Supreme Court as to whether the various procedural provisions of the Bill of
Rights were applicable to the states. It was called the incorporation
controversy. I need to take a little detour here. The Supreme Court had
decided in the 1830s, in Barron v. Baltimore, that the Bill of Rights applied
only to the national government, and did not limit the states. That was true as
a general matter even as of 1962. It was still accepted doctrine that the Bill of
Rights, as a general rule, applied only to the national government and not to
the states. There had been a few exceptions as of the time we were briefing
the Gideon case. The Supreme Court had decided that Freedom of Speech
and Freedom of Religion, guaranteed by the First Amendment, are protected
against state infringement by the due process clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment. The Supreme Court also decided that if there was an
unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment, that
the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment made this right
applicable in state courts. But all the other provisions of the Bill of Rights, all
these procedural provisions, were then not deemed applicable to the states.
Justice Black wrote a dissenting opinion in 1948 in Adamson v. California,
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where he said the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to make all the Bill
of Rights applicable to the states. But the majority of the court didn’t agree
with him. In any event, we had to decide how to deal with this federalism
issue. In other words, the question was, is the right to counsel guaranteed by
the Sixth Amendment, applicable to the national government in the federal
courts, applicable under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
to state courts. We had endless discussions in our office about how to deal
with this issue. We knew that the Supreme Court was very deeply divided. At
the end, Fortas’s decision was to argue that Gideon had a right to the
assistance of counsel pursuant to the due process clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment, standing alone, on its own bottom so to speak, without reference
to the Sixth Amendment. In other words, we finessed it. We did not argue
that the Sixth Amendment is incorporated in the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment, because we were afraid we would get caught up in a
cross- fire between different justices on the Supreme Court. That’s how we
presented it. Fortas had a very brilliant insight on this federalism issue. In
many cases tried in state courts where an indigent defendant didn’t have a
lawyer, after he was convicted, and his conviction was affirmed, a lawyer
would file a petition on his behalf in a United States District Court for habeas
corpus claiming that it was unconstitutional for his client to have been tried
and convicted without the assistance of counsel. That meant that the federal
district courts were reviewing state court convictions. Fortas said they’re
doing this ad hoc, that is a by case without any clear governing rule, and
secondly they were doing so ex post facto, that is after the cases were tried. In
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other words, he said that what was going on in the five states, where there
was no counsel provided in ordinary felony cases, the federal courts were
supervising the state courts by habeas corpus, which was a real intrusion into
the states’ rights. The rule that we were proposing which was that a lawyer
should be appointed in every case would be much less intrusive. The state
would be free to devise any method they wanted to provide counsel, but they
would have to provide counsel. In any event, we wrote drafts of this brief.
Fortas then took our drafts of this brief. I can tell you we just went through
numerous revisions and changes. He was never satisfied. He took it himself,
and he substantially revised and rewrote it. That was the brief we filed in the
Supreme Court. It was an elegant brief. It was a superlative piece of work.
We really poured a lot of effort into it. There is an interesting event which
happened after we had written the brief. I was sitting in my office with the
page proofs and going over them when Fortas came to my office. Our office
was then in the red brick house on 19th Street. My office was on the 4th floor.
He didn’t come to my office very often. He said he would like to see the page
of the brief where the signatures of counsel are; and I showed it to him. The
brief showed Abe Fortas, Counsel Appointed by the Supreme Court. On the
left hand side, it said “Of Counsel,” and listed Abe Krash and Ralph Temple.
Fortas looked at the brief and he said I notice that John Hart Ely’s name is not
mentioned. I replied that Ely is not a member of the bar, and you can’t sign a
Supreme Court brief as counsel if you’re not a member of the bar. Fortas
nodded his head and he said let me think about that for a moment. He then
said, I have an idea. You see where it says “Of Counsel” on the left hand
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side? He said, I want you to put an asterisk there, and we’ll drop a footnote,
and the footnote will state in substance that Counsel for the Petitioner wishes
to acknowledge the excellent contribution to this brief by John Hart Ely, a
third year student at the Yale Law School. That is how a third-year law
student’s name was inserted into this famous brief. Fortas wanted to give
recognition to the excellent contributions made by John Hart Ely. He was a
brilliant fellow, and he contributed significantly. At any rate, the Gideon case
was orally argued when I was in New York trying the ALL case so I didn’t get
to go to the argument in the Supreme Court. This year, I’ve been invited to all
kinds of events commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Gideon
decision. The three other lawyers with whom I worked who are named in the
brief, Fortas, Temple, and Ely, sadly are now dead. I am the only survivor,
the last of the Mohicans so to speak. When folks throughout the country were
having these commemorative events and looking for some speaker, I was
called upon. I’ve gone to many places in the past year describing my
experience in the Gideon case. I spoke at the Yale Law School, and in Reno,
Nevada, where they have a college for judges. I was in Charlestown, SC
recently speaking at a daylong conference on the right to counsel. Last week,
I was in New York at a Bronx Public Defenders event. So I’ve made a lot of
talks and written a lot regarding Gideon over the years. People frequently ask
me at these meetings whether we appreciated at the time how significant or
great the case was going to be. The answer is no, we did not. It was obviously
important. The Supreme Court receives hundreds of petitions from prisoners,
and they picked out Gideon’s petition, so it was clearly important. It turned
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out to be a very important case, not only in respect to the right of indigent
defendants to counsel, but also this was the case that opened the floodgates
for incorporating the rest of the Bill of Rights against infringement by the
state. One of the things the Warren Court wanted to do was to improve the
administration of criminal justice in the state courts with respect to poor
people and African Americans. The technique the Court used was to invoke
the provisions of the Bill of Rights against the states. That is, the right against
self-incrimination, double jeopardy, cruel and unusual punishment, and so on
were made applicable to the states. The Gideon case was a key step in that
process because the court decided in that case that the right to the assistance
of a lawyer protected against infringement by the national government
pursuant to the Sixth Amendment, is also applicable to the states pursuant to
the due process claim of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Mr. Pierson: So Justice Black took the step beyond the process.
Mr. Krash: He took the step that we didn’t take. That’s right.
Mr. Pierson: Was there ever a discussion as you were doing the brief of your memory
of Crosskey as it pertains to the Fourteenth Amendment?
Mr. Krash: Yes. But you see, Justice Black had written this Adamson opinion in 1948. All
through the years Justice Black had been fighting this incorporation argument.
Justice Black never referred to Crosskey after his book came out in the early
1950s. The reason Crosskey was not cited, I believe, was because he was so
controversial, and he probably didn’t want to deal with that. If he were cited,
other Justices others would invoke the critics who denounced Crosskey. We
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knew when we were writing the Gideon brief that we had four Justices, that is
Chief Justice Warren, Black, Douglas and Brennan, on our side. It was clear
from cases decided in the two years before Gideon that these Justices were
prepared to vote to overrule Betts v. Brady. But the opinion in Gideon was
unanimous. Justice Harlan wrote a concurring opinion and Justice Clark and
Justice Douglas did also. Another question people frequently ask me is whether
any of us ever met Gideon. The answer is no. He was in state penitentiary in
Florida. There is a long letter by Gideon to Fortas describing his life experience
and background, which he sent to Fortas in the fall of 1962. Fortas had sent
Gideon a letter asking him to describe his life. Gideon replied with this long
letter, which is reproduced in its entirety in Anthony Lewis’s book, Gideon’s
Trumpet. The letter is a dozen pages or more. Neither Fortas nor I ever met
him. At any rate, the Gideon case was a memorable experience.
I have learned a lot at the conferences that I have attended about the right to
counsel. Many of the participants were public defenders who are in the trenches
and can tell me what is going on. I listened to people talk about current
practices. The Gideon case was certainly among one of the highlights of my
career, no doubt about that.
Mr. Pierson: Were there cases during the 50s and 60s where you look back and said, there is
something that could have been better or we made a mistake here or there
where lessons were to be learned.
Mr. Krash: That’s a very good question. One of the things in looking back is that we were
trailblazing in various cases. The Durham case was a trailblazing case. We
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were trailblazing in the Gideon case, and in the Roth case and we were doing so
in our antitrust work. We urging courts in antitrust cases to look at economics.
Let me say that the notion that the courts in deciding an antitrust case, should
consider what economists had to say was a novel idea. We probably could have
done better. You must remember we were sort of fumbling our way through the
dark. I’m sure we made mistakes.
Mr. Pierson: Something about the Supreme Court.
Mr. Krash: Yes, well you know, I was a young lawyer and certainly had enough questions
at the time so I wouldn’t go down the wrong alley and make mistakes. I was
learning the ropes as it were.
Mr. Pierson: Did you try other cases besides the one in New York?
Mr. Krash: Oh yes, I was involved in the Banana case, I tried the ALL case. I was not lead
counsel. I was still just a junior partner, but I was given a lot of responsibility
and opportunity. The ALL case was a major antitrust case. I was given a lot of
tasks which young lawyers today rarely get to do. Again, you have to keep in
mind that we were a small firm, and we were getting these significant and
exciting things to do. The volume of work was such that the older partners gave
the young guys a chance to do these things. I was given a whole lot of
opportunities to do these things which was really quite wonderful. The Gideon
case was decided in March 1963. President Kennedy was assassinated in
November, 1963, and that event had a profound impact on our law firm. Abe
Fortas had been a trusted advisor to Senator and then Vice President Lyndon
Johnson prior to President Kennedy’s assassination. That relationship
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developed in the late 1930s or 1940s. You must remember that Washington
was then a small town. Fortas got to know President Johnson in Congress when
he was working with the Department of Interior. How he got to know him, I
don’t know the story about that. But there is a famous story involving the race
for the Senate seat in Texas of 1948. Lyndon Johnson was running for the
Senate; his opponent in the Democratic primary was a man by the name of
Coke Stevenson, who had been Governor of Texas and who was a very popular
person. There were charges of fraud in the Democratic primary that Johnson
won by a small number of votes. The District Court judge issued an injunction
barring Johnson from appearing on the General Election ballot. Johnson was
surrounded by a group of Texas lawyers who were advising him. They were
very able people. The story is described by Robert Caro in his biography of
Johnson. Johnson asked Fortas to come to Texas and meet with these Texas
lawyers. The issue they were debating was how to proceed following this
District Court’s injunction, which if the Court of Appeals sustained would have
kept Johnson off the ballot, and he would have never been elected as a senator.
The Texas lawyers were urging that the preliminary injunction which barred
Johnson from the ballot should be appealed to a Court of Appeals judge who
they felt would be favorable to Johnson. They were arguing about who might
be the most favorable judge for them in the Court of Appeals. Fortas, to their
surprise, argued that they should go to the judge who would be the least
favorable. In other words, he urged they should go to a judge who was likely to
affirm the District Court’s injunction. Fortas advised that they could then
appeal that order to the Supreme Court, that is to the individual justice for this
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Circuit, who happened to be Justice Hugo Black. After much debate, Fortas’s
advice was accepted. The appeal was taken from the District Court’s order. The
Court of Appeals judge to whom it was assigned promptly affirmed it. Fortas
immediately filed an appeal from that order with the United States Supreme
Court. The matter was brought before Justice Black on an emergency basis
urging him to vacate the injunction. Fortas did so, knowing that Black was
opposed to federal courts intervening in state elections. Fortas argued this
matter in chambers before Justice Black and Black vacated the injunction.
Johnson was elected to the Senate. I believe that event cemented the
relationship between Fortas and Johnson, which is described magnificently in
Robert Caro’s Biography of President Johnson. I think it is in volume 2 of his
biography of Johnson. There are four volumes as I recall, this is in volume 2.
He tells of this incident and describes it very vividly. The point I’m trying to
make is that I think from that day forward, Lyndon Johnson greatly valued
Fortas’s counsel and advice. During the Presidency of Kennedy, Fortas was not
involved with the Kennedy Administration. As I recall, his name is not even in
the index to Arthur Schlesinger’s lengthy biography of Kennedy.
I was having lunch on November 23, 1963 at a restaurant on Connecticut
Avenue when a bulletin was broadcast on the radio saying President Kennedy
has been shot. I immediately left the lunch I was having with colleagues. I
rushed back to the office because I knew that Fortas and I were scheduled to
meet that afternoon with Bobby Baker, who was Johnson’s right hand man and
who had been involved in some matters alleged to be illegal. I was the one who
told Fortas that Kennedy had been shot. By night fall, I believe, Johnson was in
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touch with Fortas, and Fortas was at the White House the next day. A day or so
later, Johnson was working on the speech that he gave the following week
before the Congress. Fortas worked on that speech. From November 23,
Fortas’s life was also changed, and our law firm was changed. You have to
appreciate the fact that Fortas was the principal partner at Arnold, Fortas &
Porter. He was responsible for many of our major clients and for generating a
good deal of the firm’s practice. He was the firm manager. He was then being
called upon by President Johnson for all kinds of matters. I would be in Fortas’s
office, for example, and his secretary would say to him that there is a call from
the White House. Fortas became deeply engaged in advising the President in all
kinds of matters.
The result of all this was because of his many time-consuming commitments
and involvement with the President, Fortas pulled back from practice. The
work had to be delegated to other lawyers. I was thrust more and more into
roles that became my primary responsibility. In the spring of 1965, Fortas
called me to his office and said that I need to make some recommendations to
the President about a successor to Justice Arthur Goldberg who was leaving the
Supreme Court for the UN. I remember suggesting many people to him. I think
one of the people that I suggested was Ed Levi, President of the University of
Chicago. Anyway, at the conclusion of the discussion in his office, I said to
him, well Abe, what about you? He said I can have the appointment if I want it,
but I don’t want it. He mentioned various commitments he had in the law firm.
We left it at that. This would have been around May of 1965. I thereafter went
off on a vacation. I was in Holland in July and I picked up a copy of the
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International Herald Tribune and there was a big story about the appointment
of Fortas to the Supreme Court. President Johnson had summoned Fortas to his
office and told him I’m going to make an announcement, I’m sending the troops
to Viet Nam and you’re going to be my nominee to the Supreme Court to
replace Arthur Goldberg. I knew from our conversation that Fortas did not want
to go to the Supreme Court at that point. I remember vividly that conversation.
I knew Fortas greatly enjoyed the role of advising the President, and he wanted
to continue to do so. I came back from my vacation and had to go to San
Francisco to try a case. I was therefore, not around during his confirmation
proceedings. He was confirmed in the Senate by a substantial majority. In the
fall of 1965, Fortas left our firm to become an Associate Justice on the
Supreme Court. The firm name, of course, was immediately changed to Arnold
& Porter. That event also profoundly affected my life because now the major
figure of the firm was gone. I was given the responsibility for some of our
major clients. I also became deeply involved in the management of the firm,
which really had been pretty much handled by Fortas. We set up a Policy
Committee, and some of the younger attorneys took over the management, such
as Bud Vieth, who became a major figure. I was immediately elected to the
Policy Committee, and at this point I was also made a full partner. I am now in
a situation where my responsibilities and role are greatly expanded. As I said,
Fortas was very busy working with President Johnson and so I was placed in a
role of being the principal contact day by day with Philip Morris who retained
Fortas late in 1963. At that time there were six cigarette companies, R.J.
Reynolds, American Tobacco, Brown & Williamson, Liggett & Myers,
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Lorillard and Philip Morris, which was the sixth ranking and a relatively small
company. The lawyers for the different companies were engaged in almost
continuous meetings here in Washington because of significant problems that
this industry had in Washington, particularly with the Surgeon General and
with the FTC. Since Fortas was no longer available, I became the lawyer
responsible for much of the Philip Morris matters. I sat in on the meetings with
the various company lawyers and other counsel as the lawyer for Philip Morris.
Within that group of lawyers, I became more and more involved. Philip Morris
had a cigarette called Marlboro, which was originally marketed to women.
Some persons at Philip Morris had the idea of putting a cowboy in Marlboro
advertisements and history was made. Marlboro became the most successful
cigarette brand in the world. Philip Morris rapidly ascended to become the
leading firm in the cigarette industry. I became deeply involved in counseling
Philip Morris. In the late 1960s, they acquired Miller Beer, and I became the
lawyer in our office in charge of Miller Beer matters. In those days, they were
major clients in our firm. Philip Morris remains so to this day, it is now called
Altria. I haven’t worked on their matters for many years. The point I’m trying to
make is that Fortas departure affected the internal structure and operations of
the law firm. Fortas had a very large practice and his clients were largely
shifted to younger attorneys. Two of major clients were Lever Brothers and
Federated Department Stores. Bud Vieth became the responsible partner for
those clients, but I was deeply involved in various matters for those two clients.
In addition, my role was really greatly expanded with respect to the internal
administration of the firm.
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One day in the early 1960s, the McKesson and Robbins Company, a drug
wholesaler, came to our firm and said that they had been cut off by American
Cyanamid and by Pfizer, another drug manufacturer, who refused to supply
their drug products to McKesson any further because McKesson was coming
out with an antibiotic drug product under its own label. McKesson was a
wholesale drug company which distributed its drugs to retailers; it got the drugs
it distributed from drug manufacturers, like Pfizer and American Cyanamid,
but these companies cut off McKesson. We advised McKesson to file an
antitrust suit in Philadelphia against American Cyanamid and Pfizer. I was the
lawyer in charge of that case. We were seeking a mandatory injunction
requiring them to sell to us which was hard to get. We tried the case in
Philadelphia on a motion for preliminary injunction. I was the guy in charge.
Bill McGovern played a role, but I was essentially responsible for the team of
lawyers at our firm. The District Court judge granted the injunction.
Mr. Pierson: What was the judge’s name?
Mr. Krash: Davis, I believe. I also learned something about practicing law as an out of
town lawyer. We were in Philadelphia, and we hired as local counsel a lawyer
by the name of Winnett who was a partner in a Philadelphia firm and who also
had been a state court judge. The first day I was standing up making the
arguments before the District Court Judge. He looked at me and he said, where
is Judge Winnett? Why isn’t he here? I had told Judge Winnett he would just be
sitting in court with nothing to do, so he need not come. At lunch time, I ran
out of the court room, and I called him up and I said, I would appreciate it if
you would come down and sit with us as counsel. I gave up my seat as a lead
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counsel and put Judge Winnett in that seat. From that time on, the District
Court judge beamed down at me and smiled at me. I learned that if you’re an
outside lawyer, from Washington, going into a court in another city, and you
retain a local counsel, make sure that that local counsel has a prominent
position. I had to learn the hard way, but I learned it, believe me, sitting there
that day, by bringing in the local lawyer; who was a very nice fellow, but who
knew nothing about our case I just asked him to say a few words and he did.
The District Court judge could not have been nicer to me thereafter. The judge
ultimately ruled in our favor. That was a learning experience for me. This case
became a celebrated event at the firm because it was an unusual result and
McKesson then became a client of ours. Another case in which I was involved
that became well known in our firm was representing the Superior Oil
Company, an oil company located in Texas. They had bid for leases on offshore
oil properties. They lost the bid to another company, but the company
which won the bid failed to sign its bid. The government, nevertheless,
awarded the lease to the company whose bid not signed. They were the highest
bidder, but they didn’t sign it. I looked at it and I said wait a minute. How can
they accept a bid that isn’t signed? There is something wrong here. I advised
Superior to bring a suit in the District Court for a restraining order and TRO
and a preliminary injunction. I urged that the government can’t accept an
unsigned bid. To make a long story short, we won a TRO, and then a
preliminary injunction, and then we won a permanent injunction. I argued it
three times. We were talking about very valuable properties during this time.
Mr. Pierson: Was the case in Texas?
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Mr. Krash: The case was here in the United States District Court. In any event, we then
with the Solicitor General. The question was whether he would appeal the case
to the Supreme Court. I talked to lawyer in his office and I said this is an
unsigned bid, and it should not have been awarded. You’ve got a losing point
here, and we are right about this. They reviewed it, and the case was settled.
They agreed to give the lease to Superior, if we would agree to vacate the
ruling. We won the case for Superior, and for many years afterwards we were
their counsel. They greatly appreciated that we succeeded in doing that and as I
say, it was a case which created a lot of amusement and discussion within the
firm, because it was kind of a far out case but when we won and came back
each time from going to court and said we won that, people didn’t quite believe
Mr. Pierson: Who was the judge here?
Mr. Krash: Judge John J. Sirica, I think (The same as the Watergate case). In thinking back
what my professional life was like in the late 1960’s, I was a young lawyer with
lots of opportunities and responsibilities. We had acquired the Washington
Office of the Paul, Weiss firm around 1960. The office consisted of tax
lawyers. That’s when Carol Agger and several other tax lawyers came to our
firm. Over the years, we also kept recruiting young lawyers. At the time when
Abe Fortas left the firm in 1965 to become an Associate Justice, Arnold, Fortas
& Porter was a firm of about 35 lawyers. In the next five years, we doubled
our size. We developed a very diverse and interesting practice. I rarely saw
Fortas when he was on the Supreme Court. In the spring of 1968, President
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Johnson nominated Fortas to succeed Earl Warren who was retiring as Chief
Justice. Johnson did two things. He called his friend, Senator Dirksen, a
Republican and Minority Leader in the Senate, and he asked him to support
Fortas, which Dirksen agreed to do. President Johnson also met with Senator
Russell of Georgia, who was an enormously influential senator. He was a very
able person, and he was the leader of the Southern Democrats in the Senate. At
the nod of his head, he could command the votes of 13 to 14 Southern senators.
Senator Russell was a very good friend and ally in many ways of Johnson for a
long time, and he agreed at first to support Fortas. Without going into all the
details, what happened was that a group of Republicans led by a senator from
Michigan decided to oppose the Fortas nomination on the grounds that Johnson
had previously announced that he was not going to run again for President.
They took the position that the nomination of Chief Justice should be made by
the man who was elected President in November 1968. As I recall 18 of 19
Republican senators signed a petition to that effect. Then I think, unbeknown to
either President Johnson or Fortas, Senator Russell told the leader of the
Republican group that he would join with them and oppose the nomination.
Why Senator Russell changed his mind still remains somewhat of a mystery. I
believe that what happened was that a person Russell wished to have appointed
as a District Court Judge in Georgia was not being pushed forward by the
Justice Department, and Senator Russell came to think they were holding that
nomination up in effect as a hostage to get him to support Fortas. He was
offended by that. Also, I think it is probable that a number of the southern
senators who were opposed to the Warren Court because of its decisions in
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racial matters, came to Senator Russell and urged him to oppose Fortas, who
was closely identified with the Warren court. At any rate, once you had a
coalition of the 18 or 19 Republicans and 13 southern Democrats, who Senator
Russell commanded, there was a sufficient number to filibuster the nomination
and to defeat it. During the summer, while the nomination was pending, there
was a newspaper story that Fortas had received $15,000 fee to teach a class at
American University, and that this money was raised from Fortas’s former
clients. This story injured Fortas’s prospects of confirmation. However, in my
view, the nomination was dead for political reasons within a week or two after
it arrived at the Senate because of the coalition between the senate Republicans
and the Southern Democrats led by Senator Russell. At any rate, there was a
heated debate in the senate about the nomination over the summer and the fall.
It became clear that there would not be sufficient votes to confirm. In
September, Fortas asked President Johnson to withdraw the nomination. He
remained on the court as an Associate Justice. Chief Justice Warren continued
in his position until his retirement. I had nothing to do with the confirmation
battle. I was never consulted about it.
I should mention a couple of other things that occurred in my life during the
1960’s to make the story complete. In 1966, President Johnson established the
District of Columbia Crime Commission to investigate the problem of crime in
the District. I was appointed to this Commission. There were nine of us on the
Commission. To the best of my knowledge, my appointment came about
because a couple of my friends in the Department of Justice who had a role in
advising who should be picked as members of the Commission, put my name
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forward. The Commission had a number of meetings and hearings. One of the
key staff persons was a fellow by the name of Howard Willens, who later
became a very good friend of mine. Patricia Wald was also a key staff member.
In any event the Crime Commissioner issued an elaborate study of the crime
issues in the District of Columbia. We made all kinds of recommendations for
trying to improve the police force, community relations, and the administration
of criminal justice. Regrettably nothing much resulted from this excellent
study. I spent a couple of years going to meetings and writing memos and
participating in this. I learned a lot, and it was an interesting and significant
experience. At this stage in my life, I was busy representing Philip Morris,
Miller Beer and other clients in all kinds of matters. I did work for Federated
Department Stores. I was counsel for Unilever, which had been one of Fortas’s
clients. Another matter I became involved in related to the Bendix company.
Bendix was a major manufacturer of automobile parts. They acquired FRAM,
a company that made and sold automotive filters. The Federal Trade
Commission challenged the acquisition as a violation of Section 7 of the
Clayton Act. The FTC said it would lead to a diminution of competition in the
making and sale of automobile filters. We tried this case before an
administrative law judge. That case was tried here in Washington over a period
of many weeks. The judge ruled in our favor. Then the commission reviewed
the case and reversed the judge’s decision; it held the acquisition illegal. The
theory of the Commission was that in lieu of making this acquisition of
FRAM, a leader in the auto filter business, Bendix should have entered the
filter industry by acquiring and expanding a small filter company; that is, it
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should have made a “toehold” acquisition. No one had ever advanced that
theory when we tried the matter. This was something that the Commission
sprung on us when they decided the case. We appealed the Commission’s
ruling to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. I felt the Commission’s
action was wacky. This case was being decided against us on the basis of a
theory we never had a chance to refute, or rebut or to present evidence about,
and this made no sense at all. In short, I said this was procedurally unfair. I
argued this before the Court of Appeals in Cincinnati and the Court of Appeals
agreed with me on this point and unanimously reversed the Commission’s
Mr. Pierson: Do you remember who the panel was?
Mr. Krash: I don’t. I can find out. They did not decide the case on antitrust grounds, but
rather there was a violation of the administrative procedure act, and that as a
matter of fairness, Bendix should have been apprised of this particular theory.
Bendix succeeded in acquiring FRAM. Bendix became a client and we
represented it in various matters. Then they were taken over by another firm
about a decade later. I was privileged in having a number of exceptionally
capable young lawyers working with me on the Bendix case. One of the
principal ones was Daniel Rezneck. He came to our firm at the time of the
McKesson case, and he worked together with me for about 25 years. He
closely collaborated with me on many matters. He is an extremely able lawyer,
and I greatly valued his assistance. There were other younger lawyers who
were assigned to me because I was in charge of a lot of matters, and I couldn’t
possibly do these things alone. I needed people to assist me so many of the
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young lawyers worked with me. The firm remained a very collegial place. We
did not have any people who became super partners. We were equal regardless
of how much business we generated for the firm. We were able to attract to the
firm very good young persons who were eager to come to work for us.
In the spring of 1969, Abe Fortas resigned his seat on the Supreme Court. Life
magazine became aware of the fact that Fortas had made an arrangement
beginning in 1965 with a man by the name of Louis Wolfson, who owned the
Transit Company here. Fortas became a member of the Board of Directors of a
public interest foundation established by Wolfson. He entered into an
arrangement whereby he would be paid $25,000 annually. Life magazine
published this story. Wolfson had become entangled with SEC in various
matters. The question Life raised was what is a justice doing being involved
with a guy like Wolfson. In May of 1969, Fortas resigned from the Court. No
one to this day know why he resigned. In any event, there were discussions
among the partners about his coming back to the firm. Laura Kalman describes
these discussions in her biography of Fortas. The end result was that he didn’t
come back. He joined a Chicago law firm, and he had an office in Georgetown.
Fortas died in 1982 as a result of a ruptured aorta. I rarely saw him from the
time he left the Supreme Court until he died. The rejection of his nomination to
be Chief Justice and his subsequent resignation were severe blows to those of
us in our firm. I regard Fortas as a tragic figure. Various people disagree with
me about his characterization. The feel he brought about his own down fall. He
was perhaps not tragic in the sense that the Greeks would define tragedy, that is
to say a man of noble birth who experiences a great misfortune as a result of a
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defect of character. He was tragic, I believe, in the sense that he was a person
of enormous ability who never fulfilled the expectations people held of him, or
fully realized his great gifts. He was an exceptionally able person. He was one
of the most able persons I have ever met. His rejection as Chief Justice and his
resignation were traumatic events. Fortas was a very sensitive man, and I’m
sure that those things caused him a great deal of anguish. I should point out that
it has never been shown that Fortas acted illegally or that he violated then
existing ethical standards. Carol Agger, his wife, remained with the firm as a
significant partner in charge of our tax practice. As I previously mentioned,
Fortas died in 1982, and she died about a decade or so later, in the 1990s. What
we have been talking about today is my experience at Arnold & Porter from
1953 to around 1970. I had great opportunities. The firm was and is a very
exciting place to be. I was a lucky fellow to have had a chance to work with
two extraordinary figures, Abe Fortas and Judge Arnold. I learned a great deal
from each of them and from other partners. I enjoyed the friendship of younger
lawyers at the firm. I was supported by a cast of exceptionally talented younger
lawyers whom the firm was able to attract, and they gave me tremendous,
important assistance. It was an exciting and interesting period in my life.
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Oral History of Abe Krash
Fourth Interview
November 7, 2013
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of the Historical Society
of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewee is Abe Krash, Esquire, and the interviewer is
Stuart Pierson, Esquire. The interview took place on November 7, 2013. This is the fourth
Mr. Pierson: Today is November 7, 2013, Abe Krash and I (Stuart Pierson) are here at the
offices of Arnold & Porter. This is the fourth session in our interview. When
we last stopped, we designated this interview to begin with Abe Krash’s life in
the 1970s.
Mr. Krash: Yes, We stopped near the end of the 1960s, and I thought if we could talk
about things in the 1970s, possibly into the 1980s and then perhaps we’ll have
one final concluding session, which should be a short session.
There was one significant matter that occurred at the end of the 1960s that I
neglected to talk about last time which I felt I should discuss and that was my
involvement in a Court of Appeals decision with respect to the Federal
Communications Commission involving the fairness doctrine. What
happened briefly is this. A man by the name of Banzhaf filed a complaint
with the Federal Communications Commission with respect to cigarette
advertising; it was being carried by licensees, that is TV and radio stations.
The FCC had a doctrine called the fairness doctrine which had been
formulated in 1949; in substance it provided that if licensee presented one
side of a controversial issue, it was obliged to present the other side. That
doctrine had never been applied to advertising. In response to this petition by
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Mr. Banzhaf, the FCC issued an order which in substance required all
licensees, that is all television stations and all radio stations who carried
cigarette commercials, to devote a significant amount of time to the position
that cigarette smoking is hazardous to one’s health, that is to the other side.
The cigarette companies and the networks challenged the validity of this rule.
Under the appropriate statutory procedure, that appeal had to be lodged with
the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. My law firm was
retained to represent the cigarette manufacturers. There were separate counsel
representing the various networks. The contentions we made were as follows.
First of all, this was the first occasion where the fairness doctrine had been
applied to advertising. It previously had been applied to political messages,
and we said that the FCC neither had the authority nor was there a precedent
for applying the fairness doctrine to the advertising of a product. Our second
point was based on the Cigarette Labeling Act, which Congress had passed
shortly before this proceeding; It provided in substance that the cigarette
companies had to place a warning label on each cigarette package, but it also
provided that there should be no other regulation with respect to advertising.
We argued that this FCC’s order violated that provision of the Act of
Congress with respect to advertising. Finally we complained about the
procedure. There had never been a hearing or notice from the FCC about this
rule. The FCC just issued this order in response Mr. Banzhaf’s petition.
Mr. Pierson: Who was the Chair of the FCC? Was it Minow?
Mr. Krash: No, Minow left long before. At any rate, I argued this orally before the Court
of Appeals. I presented the position of the cigarette manufacturers and other
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counsel representing the networks presented their argument also. This was a
very unusual type of order by the FCC. The Court of Appeals ruled against us;
it sustained the power of the FCC. The FCC had conceded that it could not
abolish cigarette advertising on radio and television. They could not do that,
consistent with their statutory authority. Also, they had admitted that they
could not require warning notices in broadcast cigarette advertisements. The
Court of Appeals said the FCC rule here was not a regulation of advertising
within the meaning of the Federal Cigarette Labeling Act, and it sustained the
FCC’s power to do this. This decision led to a series of events. The cigarette
manufacturers decided several years later to withdraw all cigarette advertising
from broadcasting. That is on both television and on radio. That was an
extremely dramatic action by them. The problem in a nutshell was that no one
manufacturer wanted to do that unilaterally. If it was to be done, it would have
to be done by the entire industry. But if there was to be an agreement to do
that, that would raise serious questions under the antitrust laws because there
would be an argument that this was a conspiracy, in effect, to boycott the
broadcast licensees with respect to advertising. A party who did that would be
very vulnerable to an antitrust attack. We had to shape this in the way of a
Noerr-Pennington doctrine, which was the idea we were petitioning in effect
the legislative branch to do this, and we persuaded the Justice Department to
acquiesce in this. So this very significant action involving hundreds of
millions of dollars of advertising stopped on television and radio.
Mr. Pierson: Can you explain to the people who are going to read this what the Noerr-
Pennington doctrine is and explain how it works?
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Mr. Krash: The Noerr-Pennington doctrine is a doctrine that joints efforts to solicit
legislative or administrative agency action restricting competition is immune
under the antitrust- law.
As I said this cessation of advertising occurred in the early 1970s. Let me
then just go back a minute and describe what the situation was here at the law
firm at the beginning of the 1970s and what my role was in the law firm. As
of 1970, Arnold & Porter was a firm consisting of about 70 lawyers. We had
grown substantially during the 1960s. Judge Arnold died in the fall of 1969.
Beginning in the decade, meaning the 1970s, the only one of the three
founding partners who was still here was Paul Porter. He died in 1977; he
was eating dinner at the Palm Restaurant, and he choked on a piece of food
and died shortly afterwards. Abe Fortas who had left to take a seat on the
Supreme Court in 1965 did not return to the firm after he resigned from the
Court in 1969. What then happened essentially then was that, given the death
of Judge Arnold and the departure of Abe Fortas, some of the younger
lawyers obviously were moving up in terms of position in the firm. At this
point, beginning around 1970, I was the lawyer in the firm in charge of
several of the firm’s most significant clients. This role was called the
responsible partner. Needless to say, I didn’t do all the work for each of these
clients. I had many people working with me, but I was the responsible partner
for the firm’s representation of Philip Morris. We were the Washington
counsel for Philip Morris, and also I was the responsible counsel for Miller
Beer that they had acquired. I was the counsel in charge of the work of the
firm for Unilever. I was very deeply involved in the firm’s representation of
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Federated Department Stores, which had been a long-standing client with the
firm. They had a number of antitrust problems, which I was responsible for
handling; Bud Vieth was the responsible partner for Federated. In addition, I
had other clients that I was responsible for at this point. In addition, to that, I
was deeply involved in the management of the firm. The firm was managed
by what is called the Policy Committee which is an elected committee, and
beginning in the early 1970s a new generation began to assume the
management responsibilities of the firm. I was elected a member of the
Policy Committee. I remained a member of the Policy Committee until I
retired in the 1990s. I was also a member of the Compensation Committee
which annually determined the compensation of partners. In addition, I was
the partner in charge of the firm’s antitrust practice group. I was very deeply
involved with both the practice and management of the firm which was
expanding and growing at this particular point.
Early in the 1970s, the law firm of White & Case became involved in a
proceeding with the Securities and Exchange Commission. What happened
was that the SEC had decided to challenge actions by lawyers and
accountants as well as companies. This was the first case in which that
happened, I believe. In any event, suit was brought by the SEC against White
& Case and other law transaction closing, there should have been disclosures
made concerning the financial conditions of various parties. This was called
the National Student Marketing case. The White & Case firm, a very
prominent law firm in New York, retained us to represent them in this
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Mr. Pierson: Do they have a Washington Office?
Mr. Krash: They did not at that time. The responsible partner in our firm in charge of this
matter at the time was Milton Freeman, who had been a partner with the firm
going back to the 1940s, shortly after the firm was founded. He was an SEC
specialist, and he asked me to assume responsibility for the litigation, so I was
the litigating partner. We ended up with a large staff of lawyers working with
me. This was a very significant matter for the bar and the SEC, and needless
to say, for White & Case. We had many, many meetings with the partners at
White & Case discussing how to conduct this litigation.
Mr. Pierson: Was there a driving force within the SEC?
Mr. Krash: Yes, Stanley Sporkin was in charge of enforcement, and the SEC was
determined to now challenge lawyers. This litigation was before Judge
Barrington Parker and it went on for four or five years. I was very deeply
involved in it together with a team of lawyers at our firm. I was assisted by
Daniel Rezneck and Robert Winter among others. To make a long story short,
the case ultimately settled; we negotiated a settlement with the SEC. Some of
the other parties went to trial and lost. That proceeding occupied a great deal
of my time for several years. There were lots of depositions and arguments
and many meetings with the SEC. I think it is worth my pointing out at this
point that unlike the situation in 2013, there was much less specialization of
the bar in Washington in the 1970s, so that while I was not an SEC specialist,
that was not my basic area of law, it was possible for lawyers like me to be
asked to take on significant matters outside of our particular specialty. I was
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not a communications lawyer either, but I was asked to argue this significant
fairness doctrine case, which was an important SEC matter, and I was asked to
do this representation of this litigation involving the SEC. If I may just
interject, I think today that would be more difficult. I think clients tend to
want people who are specialists, that is either communications specialist or
SEC specialists. Not necessarily, but there is a tendency for that.
Going forward into the mid-1970s, one day in the fall of 1976, I was in
Chicago on a matter, and I received a call in the middle of a meeting; a person
came into the meeting and said to me that the White House was calling. I was
startled, I didn’t know what this was all about. I left the meeting. The person
on the other end of the phone was a man by the name of Ed Schmults, who
had been a partner in White & Case and who was then a member of the
White House counsel team for President Ford. He said he needed to see me
right away about an urgent matter, and he asked me when I would be
returning to Washington. I remember it was a Friday, and I told him I would
be catching a plane within several hours from O’Hare, returning to
Washington. He then said he would meet me at the airport. I arrived at
Washington National, as far as I can remember, late in the afternoon, flying
from Chicago. Ed Schmults was there in the parking lot outside of the
terminal. He said to me that he had an urgent matter which he wished to
consult with me about. We were sitting in his car, and then he said your client
is the President of the United States. He asked me if I would be immediately
available to meet with President Ford that evening. This was kind of a
command performance and I said of course, I would be able to do that. Within
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an hour or two, I was in the White House in the Oval Office. There is a small
office adjacent to the Oval Office where I met with President Ford. Daniel
Rezneck was a partner assisting me, and I asked him if he would immediately
come with me. Essentially the matter on which I was consulted involved an
issue relating to campaign contributions from a labor union. Charles Ruff,
who later became a prominent lawyer here and the U.S. Attorney was the
independent counsel investigating this matter. I was being asked to advise the
President with respect to the legality of these contributions. I should tell you I
found President Ford extremely intelligent and pleasant. We sat in a small
conference room outside the oval office for about an hour discussing this. I
was asked to take on this representation.
Mr. Pierson: Do you know why you were chosen?
Mr. Krash: I don’t know, I can only speculate. I think it might have been more
understandable for them to have gone to someone who was widely known as a
white collar criminal lawyer, like Edward Bennett Williams, but I think they
did not want to do, this. Why not, is pure speculation on my part. I think they
were concerned if they did that that it might appear to have the coloration of a
criminal matter or a more significant matter than it was. Ed Schmults knew me
by reason of my representation of White & Case where he was a partner, and
I think he had a decisive voice in the selection of counsel. But I don’t really
know why they chose me. Anyway, I handled this matter during the midst of
the campaign of the 1976 presidential campaign. I didn’t see the President
again. I did see his general counsel and Ed Schmults a number of times. We
persuaded Mr. Ruff that there was really wasn’t much substance here. It went
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on for several weeks during the campaign, and he agreed with our presentation
or conclusion that there was no serious problem here and he dropped the
matter. Subsequently, there was a dinner at the White House, and I was
invited, along with my wife, Joan, to dinner at the White House. That’s is the
only occasion in which I ever went to a White House dinner. It was a splendid
occasion and event. They really do it elegantly. Subsequently, I received a
very nice letter from President Ford thanking me for helping him, but I never
saw him again. That was the only occasion, as I say I had any dealings with
him or met him. I had a very favorable impression of him because of the type
of person he was. He was incisive and intelligent, and he was very friendly, of
Also, sometime in the mid-1970s, at or about this time, I got a call from the
Dean of the Yale Law School, Abraham Goldstein. I had previously
mentioned, I think in our first interview, that he had been an associate of
Raoul Berger, and I succeeded him there as an associate. Goldstein left
Berger’s office to clerk for Judge Bazelon on the Court of Appeals. He then
practiced briefly here in Washington in the mid-1950s, and he then went to the
Yale Law School as a professor. By the mid-1970s, at the time when I
received this call from him, he was the Dean of the Yale Law School.
Goldstein was an exceptionally able person and a very fine lawyer. He was a
very distinguished, criminal law scholar. He came to my house to see me. He
said he wanted to invite me to come to Yale to be a visiting lecturer. He
proposed that I offer a seminar at Yale. He asked if I would be interested in
doing that the following year. The idea was that I would fly to New Haven
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and teach once a week. I had been a graduate fellow there. I also knew a
number of the members of the faculty; they were friends. This was a very
appealing idea to me and so I suggested to Goldstein that I could offer a
course which I thought they didn’t have; I thought I might be able to make a
contribution. I said I could offer a course in Complex Litigation. Goldstein
was very enthusiastic about that and said that would be great. To make a long
story short, I then prepared the seminar which I offered the following fall at
Yale Law School. I would fly to New Haven each week. I thought the students
were very gifted. Not all, but many of them, had graduate degrees, and they
were very smart. They were very interested and engaging; it was a small
seminar consisting of about 25 or 30 students as I remember. It was very
pleasant because I would stay for dinner with members of the Yale faculty
who invited me to meet with them. I valued that experience a lot. There were
a number of very interesting people there. I did this for four years, that is with
a break for two years, and then for two more years. It is an experience that I’ve
looked back at with pleasure. I made it a policy that I would never try to
recruit any of these students to my law firm, even though my mouth watered
at the thought of having some of them, but I never did. A few of them later did
show up and did come here, but I was very meticulous about not recruiting
them. I thought that many of them were exceptionally gifted young people.
Mr. Pierson: With respect to the course, as a seminar, did they write papers?
Mr. Krash: They took exams. I took as a theme of the seminars something I had been
taught by Judge Arnold. Arnold had a very striking insight. He said that the
rules of procedure can be thought of as techniques or ways to speed up a case
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or to slow down a case. I had never thought of the rules that way. I wanted to
demonstrate to students various tactics or strategies which were used by
lawyers either to speed up a case or to slow it down and show them what went
on in litigation. I took some of the cases I had worked on, including pleading
arguments and briefs, which they normally were not familiar with. The
students were very interested. A lot of them had in mind, I think, or a hope
that they would become litigators. I was able to contribute something to the
law school, which I don’t think they had at that point. The Yale Law School, I
think, expected that a number of students would enter public service and also
that a number of them would become law school teachers. A considerable
number of the graduates however, went into practice. They were very
welcoming and cordial. I greatly enjoyed that experience at Yale.
Going back to the things I was doing for various clients, I did a lot of work for
Philip Morris. I did not do product liability work for them, which our firm did
later, that is in representing them in tort cases that were brought by people
claiming they had been injured by smoking. My role was primarily dealing
with Washington issues. In the early 1970s, Philip Morris acquired Miller
Beer, which is located in Milwaukee. That was its basic location. It was then a
relatively small beer company. The beer industry was dominated by Anheuser
Busch. The person sent out by Philip Morris to manage Miller Beer was a man
by the name of John Murphy. He was sent from New York to Milwaukee as
the chief executive to run Miller Beer. Murphy was a lawyer whom I had
come to know while doing other work for Philip Morris, and we became very
good friends. He was a very engaging person, and an exceptionally able
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executive. When he arrived in Milwaukee, he immediately got in touch with
me, and he asked me to come out there. He made clear to me that he wanted
me to play an active role in advising him about problems with Miller Beer,
and I did that. One day, sometime in the mid-1970s, he said we have an
opportunity to acquire a product called Light from a brewery in Chicago by
the name of Meister Brau. Light then was an insignificant brand; it was
basically being marketed to women. Murphy had a gleam in his eye that he
could take this brand and transform it. It was a point when the antitrust
authorities were challenging acquisitions, especially in highly concentrated
industries, like the beer industry. Miller Beer was a small firm at this point. It
was a very touchy question whether they could make this acquisition.
Anyway, Murphy went forward with the acquisition. His action transformed
the beer industry. He took this Light Beer, that was essentially being marketed
to women, and he transformed it by marketing it differently. He developed a
slogan: “Tastes Good, Less Filling.” The idea was that you can have a good
tasting beer of low calories that would be an attraction to young men. It
transformed the whole beer industry. It was the beginning of the development
of light beer products. Anheuser Busch now has its own light beer product,
which is a very successful product. In any event, Murphy built up Miller Beer,
which had been a relatively minor factor in the beer industry at that time. As I
said, I was counsel to him in many ways. He frequently called and consulted
with me and invited me to Milwaukee many times. It is a dreadfully cold
place in the winter time. I got to be friends with a number of the executives
and people there and to work closely with them. We had one important case
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for them which was called the Universal Brands case. What happened was
that Miller Beer was appointed as the American distributor for Lowenbrau,
which is a beer made in Germany. Miller wanted to have that product
distributed through the Miller Beer wholesalers. They terminated the
wholesale distribution arrangement of existing wholesalers and transferred the
product to the Miller wholesalers. One of the wholesalers, who was cut off,
Universal, sued Miller in Florida claiming this was a violation of the anti-trust
laws. We won that case. It was clear that a company could change its
distributors. At the same time, I was also deeply involved during this period in
the 1970s in advising Philip Morris, and I have to take a minute to explain
something about what’s going on in the cigarette industry. When we began to
represent Philip Morris, in late fall of 1963 the cigarette industry consisted of
six companies. Philip Morris was the sixth, the smallest with only about 6% of
the market. The three major cigarette companies and brands were R.J.
Reynolds, which was the manufacturer of Camels; American Tobacco, which
was the manufacturer of Lucky Strikes, and Liggett & Meyers which
manufactured Chesterfields. Those three companies between them accounted
for about 75% of the market. Philip Morris in the mid-1960s acquired a
product called Marlboro, which was a filter cigarette, basically marketed at
the time to women. I don’t know who, but some of the Philip Morris
executives had the idea to transform this product by using a cowboy to
advertise it. To make a long story short they built Marlboro into one of the
world’s greatest brands. I read an article recently that described Marlboro as
one of the world’s best known brands. What happened was that Philip Morris
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which was a number six company at the time when I came on board and
started to advise them, kept growing and developing and it came to the point
where it became finally as of today, the leading company in the cigarette
During this period of which we’re talking about (1970s) they called on me
for many matters. Basically I was their Washington counsel, I was not doing
corporate or product liability work for them. They had separate counsel for
that. There were many serious issues that I was asked to advise them about, I
got to know them very well. They were an exceptionally well-managed
company. They were very cordial, helpful and supportive of lawyers, and
they valued and trusted lawyers.
Mr. Pierson: From starting as an associate, when you are assisting Abe Fortas, and other
senior partners at Arnold, Fortas & Porter, you have now become principal
counselor and trust advisor, regulatory advisor, you know, uncovering the
Mr. Krash: By this point, I was in my mid-forties and in the meantime, Arnold & Porter
was growing and thriving. A lot of these clients obviously required
additional partners and associates. We kept growing. People like Stuart
Land, Dennis Lyons, Bud Vieth and Bill Rogers were making tremendous
contributions to our firm. It was a period of growth for the firm. The period
for me was a time of great opportunity; it was an exciting and interesting
time. It was a good time to be a lawyer in Washington because companies
needed advice with respect to Government regulations, and we were in a
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position to give them that advice.
I represented Lever Brothers until early 1970s and then other lawyers in the
firm took it over. Unilever had two subsidiaries in the United States, Lever
Brothers, whose headquarters are in New York, and Lipton, the tea company.
I did work for Lever Brothers, and also I did a little work for Lipton. I was
also counsel for Unilever, the parent company, whose offices were located in
London and in Holland. I was invited to come on several occasions to
London and to address the Board of Directors about American problems. I
enjoyed that experience. London is a wonderfully interesting city. When I
was going there in the late 1960s, London had begun to recover from the
war, and I got to know some of the senior people at Unilever, which is a
great world company. They have branches all over the world. I was invited
into their inner circle to talk with them about issues relating to the United
States. I did that in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Sometime in the mid-1970s one of the folks in our office asked me if I would
be willing to go to Germany. I had never been to Germany. Our firm had
represented some German clients and so I thought this would be an interesting
thing to do. I went to Frankfurt, and we counseled a German company. That
was my initial trip to Germany. I remember coming there and the executives
we were meeting wanted to take us to lunch after we had flown over night.
There was a Pan American flight to London and then we flew to Frankfurt.
Anyway, we were quite tired because of the overnight flight. They wanted to
take us to lunch and they took us to an eating house, which was beautiful,
going back to World War I, I think. They had marvelous food and German
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wine. They were very gracious to us. Frankfurt still showed signs of bombing
from World War II, when I as there. I have a vivid memory of going to
Germany and talking to these folks about the problems they had in the United
Going back to my work for Philip Morris, in the early 1970s Philip Morris
decided to diversify, and they made three major acquisitions. The first was
Miller Beer. I was not involved in that acquisition, but I subsequently became
deeply engaged in representing Miller. Philip Morris acquired two other
companies that I was involved in. First, they acquired General Foods, which
is a food manufacturing company and I was involved in counseling and
advising about that. Sometime in the 1970s they decided they wanted to get
into the soft drink business and they acquired the 7-Up company, which is
located in St. Louis. 7-up retained us for various matters. We traveled to St.
Louis to meet with them on a number of occasions.
In the mid-1970s, I was retained by a Sperry Rand, which was a computer
manufacturer at that time with offices in Philadelphia. Subsequently they
became Univac. They had some matters that they wanted to consult me
about. I had an opportunity to see what the computer industry was like in its
infancy. I went to Philadelphia and talked to their technical people, and it was
fascinating. I witnessed dramatic transformations in three great industries by
virtue of the relationship I had with different companies. Univac was one,
although they were called Sperry Rand at that time. They developed the main
frame computer. They were the pioneers in developing computers, not IBM.
Sperry thought that what you should do is sell the computer. IBM had the
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great insight that what you should do is to lease it to customers. As it turned
out that was a much more effective method of introducing the computer,
because people didn’t know what the computer was. To make a long story
short, IBM quickly outpaced Sperry Rand, because people weren’t
knowledgeable about computers. Sperry was trying to sell it and IBM was
trying to lease it, and I think customers felt more comfortable leasing it than
buying it. Sperry was an innovator and a pioneer in computers in a very
dramatic way. They were the pioneers but they began to lose out to IBM
which became enormously successful and a dominant company. I witnessed
this transformation of the computer industry at that stage.
The second industry I saw transformed was the detergent industry, where we
were representing Lever Brothers. Beginning in the late 1940s, Abe Fortas
had been retained as Lever’s counsel. At the time we began to work for them,
the detergent industry consisted primarily of Procter Gamble, Lever Brothers
and Colgate. Procter Gamble was somewhat larger and had about 30% of the
market, Lever Brothers had about 25% and Colgate was somewhat behind.
Then promptly after World War II ended, Procter & Gamble introduced in
the market a synthetic detergent, that is a detergent made from a petroleum
derivative as distinguished from one made from fats and oils. It was called
Tide. Within a few years, Tide became overwhelmingly dominant. It was
enormously successful. It was brilliantly marketed. Lever Brothers knew
about this technology, but it was slow in introducing a synthetic detergent.
So the industry was transformed. Procter became by far the dominant firm in
the detergent industry by virtue of their being able to develop this product
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Tide, which is still on the market. It was brilliantly marketed by Procter and
developed by them. Lever subsequently came out with a detergent called
Surf, but it did not compete successfully with Tide.
Mr. Pierson: Surf sounds demeaning to Tide.
Mr. Krash: As I said, Procter then became dominant. I have not represented Lever for
many years, but I understand that they sold their U.S. detergent business a
few years ago. Procter still remains, I believe, a very successful detergent
The third industry where I saw dramatic changes was the cigarette industry.
Philip Morris, at the time we began representing them in 1963, was the sixth
ranking company, but they perceived the future of the filter cigarette. In
particular, they marketed it in a spectacular way. Some of the other
companies, particularly American Brands, did not perceive that the market
was going to be transformed that way. Philip Morris emerged in the end as
the premier company. It is interesting to see how various marketing decisions
profoundly affected what happened to various companies.
Mr. Pierson: Marlboro was purchased by Philip Morris? Was there any indication of
concerns with the medical impact of cigarettes that filters would be more
Mr. Krash: You have to remember the Surgeon General’s report came out in 1964
saying that smoking cigarettes is hazardous to your health. So, yes, the filter
cigarette was developed partly in part, in response to the feeling that it
would be a safer, less hazardous cigarette. Some people thought so, I think,
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at the beginning. That was one aspect of it. In the computer industry, Sperry
Rand was technologically more advanced than IBM, but IBM had the great
marketing insight that you should lease it to customers rather than sell it.
Procter & Gamble had the insight that a synthetic detergent made from
petroleum derivatives had various advantages over something that was made
from fats and oils. Again, it was about marketing. I had a grand stand seat
watching what was going on during all these periods of counseling and
advising people about it. Philip Morris, of course, succeeded spectacularly,
whereas Sperry and Lever Brothers were less successful, although there
were very good people at those two companies.
We have talked a lot about what I was doing professionally. I thought maybe
I’d take a few minutes to talk about what is going on with my personal life
during this time. In the mid-1970s, I had two daughters growing up, Jessica
and Carla. Jessica went to Harvard and later to Julliard, and subsequently
got a doctorate degree from the University of Maryland. She is a professor
of music and a composer. She composes and teaches music. She has two
discs of her music that are now out. My other daughter, Carla, is also
artistic. She went to the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and
became a clothes and furniture designer. She lives in Philadelphia. Jessica
lives in Washington, DC. Joan and I in the 1960s purchased a home in
Somerset in Chevy Chase. We were fortunate to find a house with a threequarter
lot on a dead-end street. In the mid-1970s, we acquired a summer
place in Truro on Cape Cod. It is a beautiful area. The National Seashore
surrounds us so it has retained its beauty. We have a house sitting on a hill
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which overlooks the bay.
Joan and I have also travelled a great deal. We went to England, France,
Italy, and Greece. We went to the back of the Iron Curtain at a later date. We
went to Israel several times, and we also went to the Far East. We went to
Japan, China, Cambodia, Viet Nam. We also went to Alaska and Hawaii and
to the Galapagos. We traveled a lot. We also took a number of trips to the
West to Wyoming and to Colorado. I have no family left in Wyoming, and
very few of my school day friends there are alive. But I still have an affection
for that part of the world. I grew up in Cheyenne; it is not a particularly
pretty place, but Laramie, 40 miles away is quite beautiful, and what’s even
more spectacular and beautiful is the Northwest corner of Wyoming where
Yellowstone is located. Apart from all these things, I would say that I greatly
love classical music, and Joan and I have attended many concerts. On the sad
things in my life was that I never learned to play an instrument. My daughter,
Jessica, plays the piano beautifully, but I never learned to play. I greatly like
the theatre. I love plays. I am greatly interested in art. Joan and I have visited
museums throughout the world. I’m also a film-buff. I like the movies a lot.
Mr. Pierson Any particular kind?
Mr. Krash: Good movies. One of the things that took me a long time to learn was how
to balance my professional life with my and personal life because my work
was very demanding and kept me very busy and deeply engaged. Joan
greatly encouraged me to travel to new places and to expand my horizons.
Beginning in the early 1970’s, Joan enrolled in the graduate psychology
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program at American University. She obtained a Ph.D. degree and had
extensive training in psychotherapy. She became a psychotherapist and
practiced for almost thirty years. She was also deeply involved for many
years with the Washington School of Psychiatry. She served on the Board of
Directors of the schools. That is essentially what was going on in the 1970s.
Mr. Pierson: May I stop you for a minute and ask you about grandchildren?
Mr. Krash: Yes, my daughter, Jessica, was married in the mid-1980s, and she has
three children. She had twins, Zachary, a son, and Rachel, a daughter, who
are now 27. My father was a twin. Zachary went to college at Haverford
College and now is in San Francisco counseling homeless people. Rachel
is a graduate of the University of Chicago College and is now
contemplating going to Graduate School. Francesca, the third daughter, is
presently a sophomore at the University of Chicago. Our other daughter,
Carla, as I said, went to the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence
and became a clothes designer. She adopted a daughter named Jinx. She
went to China and adopted her. She turned out to be a pistol. None of my
grandchildren are married, so we do not have any great grandchildren. My
daughter, Jessica, lives nearby in Chevy Chase so we see a good bit of her
and her family.
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-141 –
Oral History of Abe Krash
Fifth Interview
December 16, 2013
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of the Historical Society
of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewee is Abe Krash, Esquire, and the interviewer is
Stuart Pierson, Esquire. The interview took place on December 16, 2013. This is the fifth
Mr. Pierson: It is December 16, 2013 and we are at Arnold& Porter; Abe Krash is on the
opposite side of the table, Stuart Pierson here. We’ve designed this as a final
session with the D.C. Circuit Historical Society on the history of Abe Krash.
We finished last time talking a little bit about personal things and as you have
been directing the course of things throughout this, it’s your ball now.
Mr. Krash: Well Stu, in our last session we discussed various things through the 1970s,
and I thought that in our last session here today, we would talk about things in
the 1980s up to my retirement from the firm in 1992, and then talk about what
I’ve been doing in the years since I retired from Arnold & Porter.
Going back for one minute to something I realized that I had not mentioned in
the late 1970s. I was involved in a fairly significant matter for the Ford Motor
Company, who retained me to represent them in connection with an issue
under the Auto Safety Act. The question presented related to the appropriate
notice that had to be given with respect to a recall. This case was litigated in
the D.C. Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals ruled in Ford’s favor. I did a
number of matters for Ford in the late 1970s and during the early 1980s.
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During the period of the 1980s, I continued to do a good deal of work on behalf
of Philip Morris and Miller Beer. I also was retained to represent a number of
other parties. I did a great deal of work for the Monsanto Chemical Company
in various matters, in the 1970s and the 1980s. I was retained by United States
Steel Company to represent them, and I was also engaged in representing the
American Broadcasting Company on some issues. I remained very busy during
that decade. One of the major clients with whom I was involved was Philip
Morris. The company had begun process of diversification in the late 1960s
when they acquired Miller Beer. They then acquired General Foods, and I
became the counsel representing those entities as well. In the 1980s, Philip
Morris made a very large acquisition when it bought the Kraft Company in
Chicago and I was one of the lawyers representing Philip Morris.
Mr. Pierson: Was there litigation?
Mr. Krash: No, there was no litigation. There was some negotiations that went on. But in
any event, Philip Morris did acquire Kraft Foods and we subsequently became
counsel for Kraft in a number of matters. By this point Philip Morris had
diversified quite a bit. Apart from the cigarette business, of course, which was
its primary business, they had acquired Miller Beer in Milwaukee and then
General Foods. Philip Morris also bought the 7-Up Company which I talked
about in our last meeting. They were located in St. Louis, and we then became
actively involved on matters on behalf of 7-Up. Arnold & Porter had a policy,
instituted I believe in the 1970s, of allowing partners to take a sabbatical if you
had been at the firm for a number of years. At any rate, you were allowed to
take a 6-month sabbatical; I had postponed taking that for many years. Finally
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around 1984, I did take that sabbatical with my wife. We went first to Paris
where we lived for four months. We had an apartment on the Isle St. Louis in
the midst of the city, and we traveled around France to various places, which
was enormously enjoyable. Paris, I thought, was one of the most pleasant cities
I have ever been in. There is a different experience for people when they come
to visit Paris for just a few days or a week, but if you live there for a while, as
we did, you really get to enjoy what an enormously, culturally, rich and
interesting city it is. We traveled a great deal during the sabbatical. We went
back of the Iron Curtain. We went to Budapest, Prague and then to Germany.
We went to Berlin. We were visiting in Berlin at the time of the Iron Curtain
and going from West Berlin to East Berlin was really quite an experience.
During the second part of my sabbatical, I was a fellow at Wolfson College in
Oxford. We lived in Oxford for several months during that fall semester there,
and I had a chance to get to know a number of people at Oxford. We travelled
extensively in England. We spent a lot of time in London; it is just a short train
ride from Oxford. We did travel around the country side and saw a good bit of
England, and we enjoyed that experience a great deal. Wolfson College is a
graduate college. I regretted that I wasn’t in one of the under graduate colleges.
While I was there I met the master of Oriel College, and he told me that he
regretted not knowing I was coming to Oxford. He said he would have
arranged for me to be a fellow at Oriel, which was an undergraduate college.
But at any rate, I enjoyed the experience at Oxford. I didn’t have much to do
there. I had hoped to do more than I did, but I did get to see a good bit of what
the University was like. I talked to a number of people and traveled in England
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a good deal and that was a very enjoyable experience.
I previously mentioned that I taught a seminar on litigation at the Yale Law
School in the late 1970s for two years and then I was invited back in the early
1980s and I taught a seminar there again for two years. I would travel to New
Haven one day of the week to teach that seminar. Sometime in the late 1980s, I
became president of The Friends of the Law Library of Congress. The Law
Library of the Congress has a great collection of books but it is largely
inaccessible to the general public. You can go to the library physically and sit
at the library and they’ll bring a book to you while you are sitting in the library,
but you can’t take it out. The only people who can check books out are
members of Congress and the Supreme Court. At any rate, the library is largely
inaccessible to the public except in this very limited fashion. The Library had a
practice of giving an annual award to a distinguished lawyer; it was called the
Wickersham Award, named after a former Attorney General. I was engaged in
the process of selecting individuals who would receive that award, and we
would have an annual dinner. At first we had it at the Supreme Court, which
lent us its facilities. The court room was opened for us. We did that for 6 or 7
years. We attracted a large attendance, and it was a lovely occasion. Justice
O’Connor then told me that we couldn’t have a fundraising event at the Court,
even though it was for the benefit of the Law Library of Congress which the
Court uses. I then arranged with the Congressional Library to have the
Wickersham award dinner held there. We had a dinner once or twice and then
they told me that we couldn’t have the dinner there because this was a fund
raising event. I said we’re trying to raise money for you; it is for the benefit of
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one of your divisions, the Law Library. But they told us we could not do it. At
that point, I threw up my hands and gave up. One other thing which I tried to
do was that I felt the Law Library should not be just a source or center of a
great collection of books, which it is. It has a wonderful collection, but I felt it
should also be a sponsor of law related activities, such as lectures and
seminars. I tried to get that started, and we had one or two events. I
experienced a good deal of difficulty in doing that. We never really got off the
ground. I was President of this organization for about a decade, beginning in
the late 1980s into the 1990s. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to do more,
but the obstacles of doing more seemed to me to be insurmountable and I gave
up. I don’t know what’s left of the Friends organization. I lost contact with the
organization and therefore haven’t heard much about it for quite a long time.
My wife and I in the late 1980s took a trip to China. We had previously gone to
Japan and we wanted to go to China. It was a tourist trip. At the time there
were a lot of demonstrations in China. We had known that these were going to
be going on. We came up the Yangtze River on the last trip, I believe, on the
river. We came to Chungking and we were put up in a hotel at the outskirts of
the city, and I was very disappointed. I asked the concierge if we could go into
the city, and with some reluctance, he got us a car and we went into the city.
There we saw all these big demonstrations involving thousands of people. We
were stopped by a plain clothes Chinese police officer because we were taking
pictures, and he warned us to stop taking pictures. He didn’t take our camera
away. We were approached by many students and younger people who wanted
to know what the reaction was to the demonstrations in America. This was not
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just a demonstration of young people; this was a demonstration of both young
people and old people.
Mr. Pierson: Was it the same time as Tiananmen Square?
Mr. Krash: Yes, we went to Beijing, where Tiananmen Square was occupied and we saw
that. We were staying at a hotel about three blocks from the square. The streets
were being monitored by young people who had arm bands. You could not get
into the Forbidden City. We saw demonstrations there and we left Beijing
about a week or ten days before the troops and tanks moved in about a few
blocks from where we had been staying. It would have been extremely
dangerous if we had remained there for another week. I found China to be one
of the most fascinating places I have ever visited. It was just amazing. A lot of
the country’s great artifacts were looted or taken away by the Westerners, by
the British, French, and the Americans, so they didn’t have any great museums
that you could go to, or very little, anyway. One of the most interesting things
of all to do was to just walk the streets and to see what was going on in the
streets in the various cities we were taken to.
Mr. Pierson: They were teeming with people?
Mr. Krash: They were teeming with people. You got a sense of the enormous potential
capacity of the Chinese people. My wife went back a year or so later because
she was very interested in Chinese medicine. She went back a second time and
had the same impression that it is an exciting and interesting place. It also was
rather a frightening place when you saw how tightly controlled it was. You
could sense that it was a police state. It was an enormously rewarding and
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exciting trip, and I enjoyed it immensely.
Mr. Pierson: When did your wife go back?
Mr. Krash: She went back a couple of years after we were there. We were there in 1989,
and she went back I believe in 1991 and spent some time there. During the
period of the 1980s I was busy with representing the various clients that I have
mentioned in many different kinds of matters. It was the policy of Arnold &
Porter that when you reached age 65, you retired from all management
responsibilities. As I previously mentioned, I was a member of the Policy
Committee of the firm; I was a member of the Compensation Committee; I was
head of the Antitrust Practice Group. When I became 65 in 1992, under the
terms of firm’s partnership agreement, I stepped down from all of those
responsibilities, and I ceased to be active in the management of the firm. The
firm’s policy was called a step down, that is to say between the ages of 65 and
70 your responsibilities and income were reduced every year, a certain
percentage. It was called a phase down or step down, but you continued to have
an office and be busy and do whatever you wanted so I remained quite busy in
the firm doing various things. One of the major matters which I handled after I
retired in the mid-1990s was that I represented Kraft Foods, which as I said,
was a subsidiary of Philip Morris at that point, in connection with their
acquisition of the Nabisco Cereals business. The Attorney General of the State
of New York brought an antitrust suit in the Federal District Court in New
York against Kraft with respect to the acquisition, claiming it would restrain
competition in the cereals business.
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Mr. Pierson: Had the Federal Government passed on it?
Mr. Krash: The Federal Government passed on it. They did not impose any objection.
Mr. Pierson: So this is now during the Clinton Administration?
Mr. Krash: Yes, this is during the Clinton Administration, and this action is brought by the
State Attorney General of New York. We tried the case before Judge Kimba
Wood in the Southern District of New York. We weren’t able to resolve it
before trial. We tried it for three weeks in New York. The cereal business was
dominated by Kellogg’s and by General Foods; Nabisco was a relatively minor
factor, as was Kraft’s existing cereal business. Judge Wood ruled in our favor
after a three week trial. That was the last trial I had. It was the late 1990s. I had
a large team of lawyers there and we were there day after day until midnight
working each day to try this case, which was important to the Kraft folks,
needless to say. Judge Wood is an excellent Judge. She is very patient and as I
said, at the conclusion, she ruled in our favor. I concluded at the end of that
trial that I should probably stop trying to do trial work. I found it to be a real
challenge and wearing at that point. It was a lot of pressure and timeconsuming.
But in any event, the outcome was successful. The Kraft people
were very pleased. At the same time, during the 1990s I was involved in a
number of other things. I participated in the writing of an amicus brief in the
Supreme Court in a case entitled Glucksberg v. Washington, which involved
the question of the constitutionality of assisted suicide. Nearly all states have
statutes prohibiting assisting suicide. When a physician gives a lethal drug to a
terminally ill person, that is assisting suicide, and it is a criminal offense. A suit
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was brought in Washington by some terminally ill patients and doctors arguing
that there was a right under the due process clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment to prescribe a lethal drug to adult, terminally ill patients with their
consent. That is to say, the argument was that doctors should be immune from
the statutory offense of assisting suicide if they prescribed a lethal drug to
mentally competent, terminally ill patients in those circumstances. That was
the argument.
Mr. Pierson: Did the statute require that the patient be conscious?
Mr. Krash: The Washington statute prohibited all assisted suicide. What we were arguing
was that statute which prohibited assisted suicide in general terms should be
inapplicable to doctors who prescribed it for mentally competent patients,
terminally ill with their consent under various protective procedures. We
argued that there should be a right under the due process clause for people to
die with dignity. The amicus brief was written on behalf of a group of
prominent American philosophers. The brief became known as the
philosopher’s brief. The principle author of the brief was Professor Ronald
Dworkin. He was a prominent professor of Oxford and NYU and also a
distinguished philosopher. He died a few months ago. I worked on our brief
together with him and some other Arnold & Porter lawyers. I thought Dworkin
was an exceptionally able and gifted person. He was very thoughtful. As I said,
we wrote this brief on behalf of this group of prominent, half of a dozen, major
American philosophers. Our principal argument was that doctors were
permitted, I believe in almost all jurisdictions, to withdraw life support systems
at the request of the family resulting in the death of the patient; we maintained
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that there was no logical difference between doing that and giving a terminally
ill patient at his/her request a lethal drug that would permit one to die with
dignity. That was a major point we were making. You could argue that giving a
patient a lethal drug is active and that terminating life support is passive, but
that argument wouldn’t wash because doctors are active in withdrawing life
support systems and they are active in giving a drug. There is one difference. I
think that one could say that in the case of a withdrawal of life support, such as
oxygen or food support, that the patient dies from the underlying disease or
illness, whereas when a doctor gives them the lethal drug, they die from the
drug. But in either case the doctors are aware that the patient is going to die.
They may be a few circumstances where a patient may not die if the life
support system is withdrawn but it is very rare. The essential argument was
that people in terminally ill conditions were suffering, and a doctor should not
be prosecuted for giving them a lethal drug. Anyway, I collaborated in writing
this brief. The Supreme Court decided against that position; it distinguished the
situation of the withdrawal of a life support system, which the Court
sanctioned, but the Court refused to recognize a constitutional right of doctors
to prescribe lethal drugs for terminally ill patients. In its opinion, the court said
the matter should be left to the states to further experiment and deal with. After
the case was decided and after I continued to read a good deal of things about
the subject, I changed my mind from the position we had taken in the brief. I
concluded that the court was probably right not to constitutionalize, to freeze
this right at this particular time. I came to that conclusion because I felt that
there is no consensus in the United States about this situation. There is a great
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diversity of opinions and views, and I thought for the court to have done what
we were advocating would be to freeze, as a matter of constitutional law, that
one is entitled to such a right. I concluded it was premature for the Court to do
that at this point. I distinguish a decision by the Supreme Court on this point
from action by a state legislature. If I were a legislator and the issue before me
was do you support a law allowing terminally ill patients to obtain a lethal
drug, under appropriate protective procedures, I think I would support such a
statute. But that’s different from saying the Supreme Court should do this as a
matter of constitutional law which because then it would have been recognized
as a right which a legislator couldn’t alter. I changed my mind about it. I have
followed the matter with interest as the years have gone by. There has not been
as much experimentation as I would have thought. In the Northwest part of the
country, in Washington and Oregon, I think there is now a statute permitting
assisted suicide in limited circumstances. You have to have two doctors, a
written consent, and a waiting period and there are various protections so it
won’t be abused. I understand that there is a very limited group of people who
have this right. What really troubled me as I come to my conclusion was that
there are people who are extremely sick, in pain, terminally ill and who want to
die in a dignified way. I think Justice Stevens in his concurring opinion in the
Glucksberg case expressed well my feelings and views when he observed that
people want to be remembered after they die in a certain way. This issue of a
doctor’s prescribing a lethal drug for terminally ill persons is a problem with
tremendous ethical and moral implications. It involves issues with respect to a
doctor’s role and function. It is a very complex and difficult issue. As I said: I
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subsequently came to the conclusion that it should not be recognized at this
time as a constitutional right, but I distinguish that from doing it as a matter of
legislation. I think basically my view still is that is a matter to be resolved
between the physician and the family and what really goes on I think in
practice is that people are terminally ill in this situation and they will receive
morphine or other things and they will die that way. But the issue is as I say
very subtle and complex. I still find it quite fascinating as to what is a proper
resolution of this issue.
Mr. Pierson: My wife and I were struggling with this. She recently lost some close relatives
and of course I’ve lost both of my parents. I think it is like anything else in the
ultimate events of life. There are so many different kinds of situations. I would
think only over time could society come to a consensus. I think really over
Mr. Krash: I agree with that. I think we are not there yet by any means. Technology and
science has affected this issue a great deal. One other serious problem that was
pointed out by Justice Souter is the slippery slope involved. Once you start to
recognize a right for a doctor to dispense a lethal drug, whom do you
recognize? Do you recognize it for people with Alzheimer’s, for example,
would you recognize it for children seriously deformed. I noticed that recently
in Belgium, a law permits assistant suicide for children. I am really troubled by
that. But the question is who would you permit it for? There are serious
religious issues for many people, various people who have different beliefs
about this. Another point is that you think of the doctor as a healer rather than
somebody who is going to hasten death if he hands out a lethal drug that really
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alters the role of what the physician’s role is. So it is a very complex and
difficult issue. But as I said, at the end of the day, I still couldn’t get over
thinking about the people like the petitioners in Glucksberg who were suffering
from terrible, advanced illnesses and doctors who were, I think, extremely
decent people, wanting to help them. The question is in a moral, just, decent
society should we allow patients like that and doctors at their request under
various safe-guards to give them a lethal drug? It is a very difficult issue, and I
have spent many years thinking about it. I have read a lot of stuff about it. I
still find it is a very complex issue.
Shifting to another event that happened in my life, I had previously mentioned
that I had taught seminars on litigation in Yale. In the early 1990s, I was
approached by my colleague, Bob Pitofsky, who was the Dean at the
Georgetown Law School at that time. He asked if I would like to come down
and teach a class at Georgetown. Georgetown has had a practice for many
years of annually inviting a member of the bar in the District to come to the
school and teach a course. They call the person involved a Distinguished
Visitor from Practice. Every year they invite some member of the bar to do
that. Bob Pitofsky was Of Counsel in our firm, and a very good friend of mine
going back many years; he was also the Dean of Georgetown. He knew of my
interest in legal education, and he I asked me if I would be willing to teach a
course and be the visiting professor for one term at Georgetown. So I thought
about it, and I said yes I would be willing to do that, and they asked me what I
wanted to do. I said I wanted to teach first year law students and I’d like to
teach constitutional law. They checked me out and came back and said fine. I
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went there, and they were extremely cordial. I had a small first year class that I
taught. At the end of my first year in teaching this constitutional law course,
the Assistant Dean came to me and asked me if I would I be willing to come
back for a second year. This was without compensation, and it involved my
going down to the school a couple days each week and teaching this course. I
said I’d be willing to do that. I came to the school the second year and I taught
there. At the end of the second year, the responsible dean came and invited me
to return again and told me in substance I could teach anything I wished. They
welcomed me and made clear they’d like for me to come. I thought about that
and then I said okay. I returned, and I taught a course there on litigation; I also
taught a seminar on the legal profession, and then I taught what’s called the
Federal Courts Course. It’s the course on federal jurisdiction, which is a very
complex challenging course and a very important course.
Mr. Pierson: Jurisdiction vertically or horizontally?
Mr. Krash: Federal Court Jurisdiction of all kinds. I used the famous case book by
Professors Hart and Wechsler. I did not have an appointment at the law school;
I was a visitor. They gave me an office, and they invited me to all kinds of
faculty events. I have not in any way participated in meetings relating to
appointments to the faculty. First of all, I don’t feel qualified to do that; it
would take an enormous amount of time; and I also felt that would be
inappropriate for someone who didn’t have an appointment to do that. I have
been invited to participate in graduation exercises. The folks at Georgetown
have been very welcoming and invited me to participate in the life of the
school, which I have enjoyed. Every year they’ve called me up, for almost 15
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or 20 years, they call me every year and ask me if I’d be willing to come back
and teach. I will be teaching starting in January 2014. I will be teach the
advanced Constitutional Law course in Georgetown.
Mr. Pierson: This is not the first year students.
Mr. Krash: No. At Georgetown, I’ll explain, the practice is that all of the first year students
are divided into small sections and they are required to take what’s called
Constitutional Law I, which consists of cases relating to the separation of
powers, federalism, and judicial review, and the basic structure of the
government. That is the Constitutional Law I course. The Constitutional Law II
course is an elective course in Georgetown for second and third year students
and consists basically of decisions with respect to the Fourteenth Amendment,
that is Due Process and Equal Protection issues, and First Amendment, that is
with Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion issues. These are exciting,
difficult and controversial issues, and it is an extremely interesting course to
teach. While it is an elective, the vast majority of the students take the course.
There are other professors who teach it. I teach one of the courses twice a
week. What’s been very nice for me is that it has been an opportunity for me to
meet many of the Georgetown Faculty. There are a number of excellent people
there; I have enjoyed meeting and talking with them and participating in the
life of school. I’ve been doing that regularly for about 20 years now from the
mid-1990s to now. As I said, I’ll be doing it again in mid-January, 2014.
Mr. Pierson: You’ve watched the Supreme Court go through a number of stages or versions.
Mr. Krash: Oh yes indeed. Let me say this, that one of the best ways to learn anything is to
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teach it. Although I have read a lot about Constitutional Law, still I find that
there are all kinds of things I don’t know. I continue to find things I don’t know.
I keep up with the Supreme Court decisions. I read nearly all of them as they
come down. I read a lot of the oral arguments, and I read a lot of the literature
in the law reviews. One of the things I came to realize was that teaching
requires an enormous amount of effort. If you are going to be serious about, it,
you have to prepare in a serious, conscientious way. I’ve done that and I try to
do that even though I’ve taught it before, there are still new cases coming out,
new articles being written, new issues that emerge. I have found it to be a
rewarding and interesting experience. The students are very good. Georgetown,
during the years I’ve been there, has evolved a great deal. There are many
talented, gifted young professors that they have recruited and they have a really
good student body. It is an intellectually exciting and good place, and I feel I’ve
been privileged to have this opportunity to be there. This all occurred following
my retirement in 1992. When you retire at Arnold & Porter, you have to give
up your palatial partner’s office, and you get an associate’s office. You get
secretarial support. It’s really quite a wonderful perk to have an office and
particularly all the support and facilities of a great law firm, which I fully
enjoy. If I want something from the firm’s law library, I just call up and they
are wonderfully responsive and helpful. Since I’ve retired, I’ve been coming to
the office nearly every day. That is really a matter of habit more than anything
else. But also I’ve been spending a couple of days a week at Georgetown. I
spend a good part of the day there. I pretty much ceased to practice after I
reached the age of 70 in 1997. The policy at the firm is that when partners
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reach retirement, they turn over their clients to younger men and women in the
firm and as I mentioned earlier, you withdraw from all administrative
responsibilities. I transferred my client responsibilities over a period of years to
the younger men and women and I withdrew from my administrative duties.
Mr. Pierson: How did the clients take that?
Mr. Krash: I think, on the whole, pretty well. You have to remember that the general
counsel with whom I dealt with were younger people. The problem was that if
I continued and went to meetings with the younger men and women, the clients
would look to me and the younger people wouldn’t really have the first chair
responsibility. I saw what was going on and I thought that wasn’t a healthy
thing. I thought that the younger folks should have their time in the sun, and so
I stepped back. Most of the clients were able to see that exceptionally able
attorneys were working with me. I was careful to cultivate the client’s
confidence in those people, and I was withdrawing slowly, but I did withdraw
and so in my early 70s I was pretty much withdrawn from most of the client
responsibilities. I found that at first the younger men and women would come
and consult me and seek my advice on various issues, but as time went, that
faded away pretty much, so I ceased to have clients with whom I had very
close contact over many years. In the last decade or so, I have had virtually no
contact with them at all.
In 2006, I decided to give a lecture at the Georgetown Law School on changes
in the legal profession from the time that I had begun to practice in the 1950s. I
revised the lecture and then published the article in the D.C. Bar Journal. The
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article was entitled The Changing Legal Profession. As I said in the article,
there are five or six major ways in which the profession has changed from the
time when I entered the profession.
First of all, when I began practicing law in Washington, DC in the early 1950s,
the firms were very small. The largest was Covington & Burling, which
consisted of about 50 or 60 lawyers. The Hogan firm consisted of about 30
lawyers. One of the great changes that has occurred in the profession since the
time I began to practice is the enormous growth in the size of the law firms.
When I started at Arnold & Porter, it was a firm of twelve lawyers; it is
presently a firm of about 800 lawyers. The Hogan firm now consists of a
couple of thousand lawyers, and the Wilmer, Hale firm consists, I believe, of
over 1200 or 1300 lawyers. A related development was the emergence of
branch offices. That was almost non-existent in the 1950s. But it is now
common place.
Second, another change is that the legal profession became very much more
competitive than it was when I began. Law firms now compete for practice in a
way that would have been unthinkable in the 1950s and 1960s.
The third thing that has changed is specialization. When I began to practice in
the 1950s, and certainly it was true up until the 1970s and 1980s, we were
generalists. We felt that we could handle anything that came in. As I previously
mentioned, I represented clients in anti-trust matters, auto safety matters, SEC
matters and I represented the cigarette industry in the FCC fairness doctrine
case. I represented clients in all kinds of matters before different agencies. I
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handled many legislative matters. I handled international matters. What has
happened in the profession since the last quarter of a century, is this
tremendous specialization so that clients now want to retain lawyers who they
regard as experts. If a client has an environmental problem, it wants lawyers
who have spent years practicing in the environmental area. If a client has a
securities problem, they want people who have done that; if they have an
antitrust problem, the same. Specialization very dramatically transformed the
legal profession.
The fourth thing that has changed, I think, is the demographics. When I began,
there was a great deal of discrimination against women, an enormous amount
of discrimination against black lawyers, and there was discrimination against
Jewish lawyers; Catholics were also subject to discrimination. One of the
things that has happened over the years, is a development that I regard as very
healthy, is the fact that a lot of the barriers have broken down. Not completely,
but there are now much greater opportunities for women, much greater
opportunities for black lawyers and for other minorities than there were a half
century ago. The demographics of the firm are very different. In my firm, we
have many women, we have many minority lawyers and that was not true in
the 1950s and 1960s. There were a lot of barriers. I don’t mean to suggest that
all discrimination has been eliminated from the legal profession, but the
situation has dramatically altered from what it was when I began.
The fifth thing that has changed involves developments in technology. In 1960,
we copied documents in a very cumbersome way. I remember going to the law
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firm of Sherman & Sterling in New York at that time and the lawyer there
showed me a copy of a document they were copying and it was on typewriting
paper. It was clear and you could easily write on it. I was told that the
document was reproduced by a process developed by a small firm in Brooklyn
called Haloid Xerox. I was astonished. We didn’t have computers until the
1980s. I remember going to Sperry Univac. I represented Sperry as I
mentioned earlier in the 1970s, and I saw the beginning of the computer
industry. The computer has profoundly transformed the practice of law. For
example, I don’t see how you can have many branch offices without a
computer because you couldn’t communicate about conflicts and other things
very rapidly. It would be very cumbersome and very difficult to do.
Mr. Pierson: When I was in the Justice Department in the late 1960s, early 1970s, they had
just acquired something called magnetic card machines. These were magnetic
cards which were the processor for CD and tape disks and there was one of the
few times where the Government was actually a little bit ahead of the curve.
Mr. Krash: Well, it took quite a while for it, but those of us in my generation were largely
computer illiterate. It was really hard to adjust. Not only the computer, but of
course the iPad, the new sophisticated telephones and the internet have
transformed the way law practice is conducted. Technology has had an
enormous impact on the way the law profession is conducted.
One of the differences that has occurred is the way lawyers are viewed by the
client. I think what has happened is that there has been a change in the
relationship between lawyers and clients. I think that lawyers are now regarded
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much more as technicians in the way that accountants might be. I don’t mean to
say that many lawyers don’t enjoy very close relationships with their clients,
but I think that has changed. When we sent out statements for legal services in
the 1950s and 1960s, we always sent a statement to clients for legal services
rendered in whatever the amount was (e.g., $22,000.00) and that was that. I
was almost never questioned about a fee statement. Today, clients insist on
very detailed computer breakdowns of the time spent on each matter for each
of the lawyers in the firm. Part of the explanation for the change is that clients
now have General Counsels who are very knowledgeable. When I began to
practice, they weren’t as experienced, but the General Counsels now are very
sophisticated and supervise the work done by the law firm much more closely
than was true when I practiced law. Some of the changes that have occurred, in
my view, are good changes. The demographic and technology changes I think
are good changes. Some of the other changes, I’m more skeptical about. I think
what has happened with firms like Arnold & Porter is that we have gone from a
partnership mode to a corporate mode. I think that is true in terms of the
relationships among people within the firm and the relationships of people
within the firm to clients. It would have been unthinkable for firms like ours
who had partners who reached a certain age to reduce their status in some way,
to pay them less income because they didn’t have the same kind of practice we
formerly had. We wouldn’t have thought of doing that. Moreover, there was not
the movement of lawyers from one firm to another. People came to a firm and
regarded the firm as a place with which they remained throughout their career.
The extensive movement of partners from one firm to another is a major,
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dramatic change. It occurred very rarely in my day, whereas today it is
commonplace. There is much more mobility, and people feel free to shift from
firm to firm. I think that the pressure on younger people also is very different
from when I was a young lawyer. What was then expected was that if one
worked hard and did excellent work, you could anticipate rising within the firm
and becoming a partner. Today that is not true. I think firms now want to know
whether young associates are going to cultivate a practice for the firm before
they are advanced to partner status.
Mr. Pierson: Abe, may I ask you how are all those changes of the profession have affected
our courts?
Mr. Krash: Well, It is hard to say. I think judges have become more skeptical of lawyers
perhaps. But that would be hard for me to demonstrate. What has also
happened is that the enormous expense of litigation has caused people not to
try to resolve matters by the litigation process. It is so expensive,
unpredictable, cumbersome and burdensome. Many clients just want to avoid
litigation if they can possibly do so. You have all these alternative resolution
procedures now that have developed.
Mr. Pierson: And so there are fewer cases going to trial?
Mr. Krash: I think so. The other thing is when I began to practice half a century ago, the
idea was that the practice of law was regarded as a learned profession. I think it
has become a much more of a business than it was then. Of course, it was
always a business, because it was a way of making a living, but if you have
very large law firms, which is what we now have, they are under enormous
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financial pressures. They have enormous expenses for overhead for staff and
facilities, and there are much greater financial pressures, than existed when I
Another thing that happened was that beginning sometime around the early
1980s, particularly during the era of the great corporate takeover fights, what
happened was that the lawyers who were involved in these matters saw that
their counter-parts, people with whom they had gone to law school who were
working in investment bankers firms, were making enormous incomes. These
lawyers felt, well why shouldn’t I be making an income of comparable level.
The result was enormous pressure to make a lot of money. I have previously
mentioned that there was no such thing as branch offices at the time when I
began. You were a New York firm, or a Cleveland firm, or a Chicago firm, but
today, of course, it is common for firms to have many branch offices. Once you
do that, there are several implications that you have to appreciate. First of all, it
is almost impossible to have a common firm culture, because you haven’t
grown up together. It is impossible to know your colleagues in the same way.
How can you possibly know somebody well if your practice is in Washington
and you have partners in Los Angeles or London? You just don’t know them.
That really changes the whole atmosphere of practice. I think that there are
efficiencies of the practice that now accompany the things you can do, which
you couldn’t do previously. But it also alters the practice and the way we think
of ourselves as lawyers and colleagues. So those were very profound changes
during that time.
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At the end of our last session, there were several things that you asked me to
think about. You asked me to think of distinguished lawyers I’ve known and
also judges. You have to bear in mind that during the period when I was a
young lawyer and growing up as a lawyer, that Washington was a very small
legal community. There was a division between so-called local lawyers and the
people who had kind of a national practice, such as we did. But we still knew
many lawyers all around town. It still was a relatively small town in many
respects. Of the people I’ve known in my time, I would say, as I said
previously, that Abe Fortas was one of the best lawyers I ever knew, measured
by any standard. He was an extraordinary able man. There were many other
lawyers in Washington of outstanding ability. I had a lot of respect for Lloyd
Cutler, who I thought of as a person of a wide range of capabilities and talents.
He was a very gifted person. I knew Edward Bent Williams slightly, and he
was certainly one of the best trial lawyers of his generation. Hugh Cox,
Howard Westwood and Charles Ho of Covington, whom I never really knew,
were enormously respected lawyers in my time in Washington. There were a
number of younger men in Washington, for whom I have great regard. One of
them was Bob Wald, who was Patricia Wald’s husband. We were very good
friends. As I previously mentioned, I have the utmost regard for Patricia Wald;
she recently received the Medal of Freedom from the President. I was also very
good friends for many years with Fred Rowe, who was a partner in the
Kirkland firm. He was the author of a book on the Robinson-Patman Act. He
retired some years ago. He was a person with outstanding abilities. Dan
Margolis and I were good friends; there have been many exceptionally able
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people within my own firm, such as Dennis Lyons, who was the president of
the Harvard Law Review and a law clerk to Justice Brennan, who was certainly
a person of extraordinary ability. He was one of the most capable people I have
ever met. There were many other outstanding lawyers here at Arnold & Porter
over the years, I include such people as Stuart Land, Bud Vieth, Jerry Hawke
(who served in the Government as head of Federal Deposit Insurance
Company), Melvin Garbow, Paul Berger, Walter Rockler, Jim McAlee, Mike
Curzan, Bill Rogers, Peter Bleakley, Murray Bring, David Kentoff, and Bruce
Montgomery. I was privileged as I mentioned earlier to have exceptionally able
younger people working with me, including among others, Daniel Rezneck,
Jerome Chapman, Len Becker, Robert Weiner, and Merrick Garland, (who is
now Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals). Robert Winter, Melvin Spaeth
and Jerome Chapman worked together with me on many matters and I have
high regard for each of them. There were other very gifted people who worked
together with me, such as Brooksley Born, who has been a great champion of
women in the law.
You asked me about judges that I’ve known. One of the outstanding judges I
encountered was a judge in New York. His name is Edward Weinfeld. I
thought he was a person of extraordinary thoughtfulness and ability. He was a
superlative District Court Judge. I did argue in various courts of appeals
throughout the country. I met briefly Judge Henry Friendly, but I never
appeared before him. I regard him as probably the greatest federal appellate
judge in the last 30-40 years. He was an extraordinary individual. I also have a
lot of respect for Judge Richard Posner, whom I know slightly. There were
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many fine judges in the District, for whom I have great regard. I thought very
highly of Judge Harold Leventhal, who regrettably died at an early age, but he
was a very gifted man and a very fine judge. I knew Judge Bazelon quite well.
We were friends. I believe Judge Gerhard Gessel was excellent.
You asked me, reflecting on my own experience; what I would say was the
virtue most prized among lawyers. I think most lawyers would agree that, good
judgment is probably the most valuable quality. I’ve given a lot of thought over
the years to how you teach good judgment. I don’t know how you can teach
good judgment. I don’t think you can. I think you may be able to teach it to
some extent by example. I learned it by being around people older than myself
and watching them. Another virtue which I think is critical is what I call moral
courage. It is the ability to stand up in court before a judge who is critical of
your position and respectfully and firmly stand your ground. It is the capacity
to reject a client’s demand for an opinion which you know it is not wise or
prudent or correct. It is the ability to stand up on behalf of someone who is
being discriminated against. Again, I don’t know how you teach people moral
courage. I’m not sure that it can be taught. It is a quality that is maybe innate.
To some extent, I think you learn it by seeing other people who encourage you
to stick your neck out. Those two qualities, that is good judgment and moral
courage, are two of the qualities which I believe distinguish the very best
lawyers. The other thing I would say I have learned is that there is no substitute
for preparation. I’ve never known anyone who was a first rate lawyer, in my
judgment, who didn’t have to work hard. There is just no way out. That is the
nature of the beast. In terms of mastering the facts of the situation and getting
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on top of it, it just requires enormous work. You really have to work very hard.
Another thing that has struck me is that people who were, not necessarily the
most gifted in terms of their ability to take a law school exam, turned out to be
excellent lawyers, because they had virtues such as imagination, the capacity to
persist, good judgment, and good inter-personal relations.
Mr. Pierson: I’m deeply impressed by your summing up. I have nothing to add.
Mr. Krash: I should conclude by noting that the past year, 2013, was the fiftieth
anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Gideon case. I am the only
survivor in our firm among the four lawyers who were named in the brief we
filed on behalf of Gideon. I was invited by many organizations who wanted to
commemorate the decision to participate in seminars or panels, or to give a talk
about my experience with the case. I participated in a very fine seminar on the
representation of indigent defendants at the Yale Law School. I spoke at the
Judicial College in Reno and to the Public Defenders in Charleston, South
Carolina. I learned a good deal about the right to counsel. It was a very
interesting and enjoyable experience.
I am sometimes asked if I would be a lawyer if I had a chance to start over
again. Nobody in my family was a lawyer. When I went to law school, I never
even thought about being a lawyer. I thought about being a newspaper man. I
found that the practice in the period from 1950 to the 1980s was very
challenging and I especially enjoyed that period. I think that there are presently
exciting, challenging and worthwhile things for young people to do in the law.
It is just tougher than when it was when I began.
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Mr. Pierson: Thank you very much Abe, this has been a remarkable event for me and I hope
for you too.
Oral History of Abe Krash
7-Up Company, 134, 141
Adamson v. California case, 98
Agger, Carol, 85, 112, 118
Alaska, 138
ALL detergent case, 92-94, 101, 104
Allison, Jinx (granddaughter), 139
Altria. See Philip Morris
American Brands, 136
American Broadcasting Company, 141
American Cyanamid, 110
American Tobacco, 108
Lucky Strikes, 131
Anheuser Busch, 129-130
Arnold & Porter, 71, 86-87, 94, 108, 118, 122, 132, 140-141, 146, 148, 155, 157, 160, 164
Antitrust Practice Group, 146
Compensation Committee, 146
Policy Committee, 146
Arnold, Fortas & Porter, 39, 43, 65, 67, 73, 75, 78-79, 81, 86, 88, 107, 112, 132
Arnold, Thurman, 42-43, 65, 70-73, 79- 81, 86, 88, 107, 118, 122, 128
Department of Justice Antitrust Division, 76
Folklore of Capitalism, The, 70
Loyalty Review Board, 80
personality, 71
Symbols of Capitalism, The, 70
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
appointed, 75
resignation, 75
Yale professor, 75
Auto Safety Act, 140
Baker, Bobby, 106
Banana case, 104
Banzhaf case, 120-121
Banzhaf, John, 119-120
Barron v. Baltimore case, 98
Bazelon, Judge David, 61, 67, 82, 127, 165
appointed to U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 61
head of Department of Justice Office of Alien Property, 61
Becker, Len, 164
Bell, Daniel, 21
Bendix Corporation, 115-116
Berger, Paul, 164
Berger, Raoul, 39, 59, 65, 67, 127
Charles Warren Senior Fellow in American Legal History, 64
Cook & Berger law firm, 60
General Counsel of the Office of Alien Property Custodian, 60
professional musician, 61
violins, 62-63
Betts v. Brady case, 96, 97, 103
Bill of Rights, 46, 98, 102
Biography of President Johnson, 106
Bittker, Professor Boris, 59-60
Black, Justice Hugo, 46, 84, 89, 98, 102-103, 106
Bleakley, Peter, 164
Blum, Professor Walter, 44, 50
Born, Brooksley, 164
Brandeis, Justice Louis, 47
Brennan, Justice William, 164
Bring, Murray, 164
Brody, David, 30
Bronx Public Defenders, 101
Brown & Williamson, 108
Brown, Professor Ernest, 47
Bunn, George, 65, 92
Burlington Railroad, 13
Burton Judson Court, 20, 52
Cambodia, 138
Caro, Robert, 105
Biography of President Johnson, 106
Changing Legal Profession, The (article), 157
Chapman, Jerome, 164
Charlestown, South Carolina, 101
Chesterfields cigarettes. See Liggett & Myers
Cheyenne, Wyoming
country club, 8
ethic diversity, 5
Fort Francis E. Warren, 3, 11, 13
Frontier Days, 5, 8
prejudice, 8
thriving Jewish community, 3
Tribune, 6
World War II expansion, 3
Chicago Office of Military Intelligence, 29
Chicago Tribune, 31, 52, 53
China, 138-139
Beijing, 145
Forbidden City, 145
Chungking, 144
Cigarette Labeling Act, 120, 121
Clark, Judge Charles, 58, 70
Clark, Justice Tom, 103
Clayton Act, 92, 115
Colgate-Palmolive Company, 77, 135
antitrust suit, 66-67
Colorado, 17, 83, 138
Complex Litigation at Yale, 128
Compton, Arthur Holly, 28, 29
Chairman of the Division Physical Sciences at the University of Chicago, 25
President of Washington University, 28
Cook, Donald, 63
Cook & Berger law firm, 60
Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), 60
Covington & Burling, 69, 157
Cox, Archibald, 94, 163
Crick, Francis, 22
Crosskey, William Walter
and James Madison’s writings, 46
and Oliver Wendell Holmes, 47
and the Articles of Constitution, 46
law clerk to Chief Justice Taft, 44
original understanding of the constitution, 45
Politics and the Constitution, 45
regulation of commerce, 45-46
University of Chicago Law School, 44-50, 64, 102
Curzan, Mike, 164
Cutler, Lloyd, 163
D.C. Bar Association, 83
segregation, 84-86
D.C. Bar Journal, 156
Davis Polk, 44, 45
Davis, John W.
1924 Democratic Party presidential candidate, 44
Solicitor General of the United States, 44
Davis, Judge John, 110
Dawson, Judge Archie, 92-94
Democracy and Distrust, 95
Depression, 3, 39, 51
Diamond, Norman, 65, 66, 88
Dinsmore & Shol, 94
Director, Aaron, 42, 51
Dirksen, Senator Everett, 113
Donohue, Jiggs, 67
Douglas, Justice William, 74, 75, 91, 103
Due Process and Equal Protection issues, 154
Duluth, Minnesota, 5
Durham case, 69, 75, 81, 103
insanity defense, 68
standard of criminal responsibility, 67
Dworkin, Professor Arnold, 148
Eagle, The, 6, 24
Eisenhower, President Dwight David, 63
Ely, John Hart, 95, 100
Democracy and Distrust, 95
England, 46, 68, 91, 138, 142
Esquire magazine, 14
fairness doctrine, 119-120, 125, 157
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 119-121, 157
Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 115
tobacco companies, 109
federalism issue, 99
Federated Department Stores, 94, 109, 115, 123
Fermi, Professor Enrico, 22, 25, 27, 29
Nobel Prize winner, 21
First Amendment, 44, 79, 89, 98, 154
Ford Motor Company, 55, 140
Ford, President Gerald, 125
Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyoming, 3, 11, 13
Fort Monmouth case, 80
Fortas, Abe, 39, 43, 65- 69, 71, 73- 79, 81-82, 85- 88, 90, 91-92, 94- 96, 99-109, 112-115, 122,
132, 135, 163
advisor to President Lyndon Johnson, 107
Southwestern College, 75
teaching at American University, 114
Under Secretary, United States Department of the Interior, 75
United States Supreme Court
Associate Justice, 73, 108
resignation, 117-118
Yale Law Journal editor in chief, 75
Fourteenth Amendment, 64, 98, 99, 102, 148, 154
Fourth Amendment, 98
FRAM, 115, 116
France, 46, 138, 142
Frank, Judge Jerome, 75
Frankfurt, Germany, 133-134
Freed, Daniel, 57
Freedom of Religion, 154
Freedom of Speech, 154
Freeman, Francesca (granddaughter), 139
Freeman, Milton, 65, 124
Freeman, Rachel (granddaughter), 139
Freeman, Zachary (grandson), 139
Friendly, Judge Henry, 164
Friends of the Law Library of Congress, 143
Frost, Robert, 71
Garland, United States Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick, 164
General Foods, 134, 141, 147
Georgetown Law Center, 48, 86, 117, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156
Gerard, Professor Ralph W., 22
Germany, 26, 30, 50, 131, 133, 142
Gessel, Judge Gerhard, 165
Gideon case, 74-75, 88, 94, 101-104, 166
federalism issue, 97-98
fiftieth anniversary, 166
”special circumstances”, 97
Gideon, Clarence Earl, 94
Gideon’s Trumpet, 103
Glucksberg v. Washington case, 150, 152
assisted suicide, 147
Goebel, Professor Julius, 47
Goldberg, Justice Arthur, 107-108
Goldstein, Abraham (Abe), 61, 67, 127
Government Loyalty and Security Program, 78
Haloid Xerox, 159
Hamilton, Walton, 65
Hanson, Peter, 17
Harlan, Justice John, 103
Hart, Frederick, 95, 100-101, 153
Hart, Professor Henry, 47
Harvard Law Review, 33
Hawaii, 10, 138
Hawke, Jerry, 164
Hillel, 52
Howard University, 48
Hutchins, Robert, 31-32
Dean Yale Law School, 33
influence on Abe Krash pursuing law, 33
President of the University of Chicago, 1
IBM, 134, 137
Ickes, Harold, 75
incorporation controversy, 98
insanity defense, 67, 82
International Herald Tribune, 108
Japan, 138, 144
Hiroshima, 29-30
Nagasaki, 30
Johnson v. Zerbst case, 96
Johnson, Lyndon
election to the United States Senate, 106
Texas Senate seat race of 1948, 105
Vice-President of the United States, 104
Journal of Commerce, 83
Judicial College, Reno, Nevada, 166
Kalman, Laura, 74, 117
Kalven, Harry, 44, 50
Kaplan, Abraham (uncle), 57
Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at UCLA, 18
University of Chicago, 18
Time magazine, 18
Kaplan, Florence (mother), 4
Katz, William, 42-43, 50
Kellogg Company, 147
Kennedy, President John F., 104
Kentoff, David, 164
Kimpton, Lawrence, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32
Kirkland & Ellis, 163
Knight, Frank, 22
Kraft Company, 141, 146-147
Krash, Abe – Personal
classical education, 36
Irish Setter, 15
deficiencies in education, 35
desirability of liberal education, 37
high school
Denver debate championship, 14
friendships, 17
Gibson, Miss (English teacher), 9
Lariat student newspaper, 6
Rice, Miss (debate coach), 9
Wyoming state oratory championship, 9
influence of the World War II, 10
married, 82
Menominee, Michigan (birthplace), 1
parents married 1926, 5
Ph.B. degree, 34
quality of high school education, 9
sports editor of The Eagle, 6
Sunday school teacher, 31
Alaska, 138
Berlin, 142
Budapest, 62, 142
China, 138-139
Beijing, 145
Forbidden City, 145
Chungking, 144
England, 142
France, 142
Galapagos, 138
Hawaii, 10, 138
Iron Curtain, 138
Israel, 4, 9, 138
Italy, 71, 138
Greece, 76, 138
Prague, 142
Truro, Massachusetts (Cape Cod), 137
University of Chicago, 18-23, 29- 35, 39-40, 45, 49, 51-54, 57, 60, 107, 139
admissions process, 19
atomic research, 20, 22, 26-30
Big Ten, 31
emphasis on learning how to think, 21
mandatory curriculum, 20
waited on tables, 31
“wet behind the ears,” 35
University of Chicago Law School, 39
admission, 33
mandatory curriculum, 41
World War II influence
Japanese relocation center, 12
Pearl Harbor, 10
rationing, 12, 13
turned down by draft, 30
writing experience, 36
Wyoming state oratory champion, 6
Yale Law School, 39
Krash, Abe – Professional
Arnold & Porter
retirement from management responsibilities, 146
changes in the courts
alternative resolution, 161
financial pressures, 161
judges more skeptical of lawyers, 161
Changing Legal Profession, The (article), 157
D.C. Bar Association, 83
District of Columbia Crime Commission, 114
Philip Morris, 108
qualities prized among lawyers
capacity to persist, 166
good judgment, 165-166
moral courage, 165
imagination, 166
inter-personal relations, 166
preparation, 165
sabbatical, 141-142
Paris, France, 142
teaching at George Washington Law School, 87
thoughts concerning legal profession changes
client views of lawyers, 159
competition, 157
corporate mode, 160
demographics, 158
growth law firm size, 157
specialization, 87, 124, 157
technology, 158-160
Krash, Carla (daughter), 83, 137, 139
Krash, Esomor (brother), 10
Krash, Hadassah (sister), 9
Krash, Hyman (father)
Butrimonis, Lithuania (birthplace), 1
Farrell, Pennsylvania, 4
Fort Warren, Cheyenne, Wyoming chaplain, 11
pride in son, 8
soft spoken and scholarly., 3
rabbi in charge in Cheyenne, 2
religious background, 1
Salt Lake City, Utah, 2
twin sister, 1
killed in Holocaust, 2
Washington Highlands Jewish Center, 4
Krash, Jessica (daughter), 83, 137-139
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, 91
Land, Stuart, 72, 132, 164
Laramie, Wyoming, 7, 17, 70, 138
Laswell, Harold, 56
Lattimore case, 81
Lattimore, Professor Owen, 81
Lee, Joan (wife), 82, 127, 137, 138
interest in Chinese medicine, 145
Journal of Commerce, 83
Ph.D. at American University, 139
Washington School of Psychiatry, 139
Leventhal, Judge Harold, 165
Lever Brothers, 77, 92-94, 109, 133, 135-137
antitrust suit, 66-67
Levi, Edward, 42, 44, 46, 50, 67, 107
Attorney General of the United States, 41
University of Chicago Law school Professor, 41
University of Chicago President, 41
Lewis, Anthony, 103
Gideon’s Trumpet, 103
Life magazine, 117
Liggett & Myers, 108
Chesterfields, 131
Light Beer, 130
Lippmann, Walter, 32
Lipton tea, 133
London, England, 133, 142, 162
Lonely Crowd, The, 33
Lorillard Tobacco Company, 109
Lowenbrau beer, 131
Lucky Strikes. See American Tobacco
Lyons, Dennis, 132, 164
Madison, Wisconsin, 4
Manhattan Project, 25, 27, 29
Margolis, Dan, 163
Marinette, Wisconsin, 1
Marlboro cigarettes. See Philip Morris
Maroon, The, 24-26, 28-30, 32, 36, 52
breach of the security regulations, 25
Mayflower Hotel, 84
McAlee, Jim, 164
McCarthy, Senator Joseph, 80
McCracken, Tracy
head of delegation to Democratic convention 1960, 6
University of Wyoming alumnus, 7
Wyoming newspapers and radio stations, 6-7
McDougal, Myers, 56
McGovern, Bill, 65-67, 69, 77, 78, 88- 90, 92, 94, 110
McGowan, Patricia (Wald), 57, 65, 69, 73
clerked for Judge Jerome Frank, 65
leave of absence from Arnold, Fortas & Porter, 65
Medal of Freedom, 70, 163
McKesson and Robbins Company, 110-111, 116
Meister Brau, 130
Melchior, Kurt, 57
military intelligence, 25
Miller Beer, 109, 115, 122, 129-131, 134, 141
Miller, Reed, 65, 129
Minow, Newton, 120
M’Naghten case, 68
psychiatric literature, 69
Monsanto Chemical Company, 92, 141
Montgomery, Bruce, 164
Murphy, John, 130
Nabisco Cereals antitrust suit, 146
National Student Marketing case, 123
New Castle, Pennsylvania, 19
New York, New York 14
New York Times, 32
New Yorker (magazine), 29
Newark, New Jersey, 77-78
Noerr-Pennington doctrine, 121-122
Northwestern University, 31
Novik, Ylda, 83
O’Brien, John Lord, 81
O’Connor, Justice Sandra Day, 143
obscenity case, 89
Olson, Elder, 23, 32
Oriel College, 142
Oxford University, 142
Paris, France, 142
Parker, Judge Barrington, 124
Paul Porter, 65, 75, 76, 122
Paul, Weiss, 112
Pearl Harbor, 10
Peters, Dr. John, 79-80
Peters case, 81
Pfizer, 110
Philip Morris, 115, 122, 129, 134, 136-137, 141, 146
Marlboro cigarettes, 109, 131, 136
Pitofsky, Bob, 152
Playboy magazine, 88- 89
photos in amicus brief, 90
Plotkin, Harry, 65
Politics and the Constitution, 45
Porter, Paul, 73, 76, 79, 122
Posner, Judge Richard, 164
Pound, Ezra
found mentally incompetent, 71
indicted for treason, 71
radio speeches, 71
Powell v. Alabama case, 96
Procter & Gamble, 77, 93, 135-137
Procter & Gamble antitrust case, 66-67
psychiatry, 51, 67-69, 82
Public Defenders of Charleston, South Carolina, 166
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, 108
Camels cigarettes, 131
Reich, Charles, 89, 90
Reno, Nevada, 101
Rezneck, Daniel, 116, 124, 126, 164
Rheinstein, Max, 50
Riesman, Professor David, 21, 32
Lonely Crowd, The, 33
Robinson-Patman Act, 163
Rockler, Walter, 164
Rogers, Bill, 81, 132, 164
Rostow, Eugene, 53, 54, 55, 67
Roth case, 89, 91, 104
Rowe, Fred, 163
Ruff, Charles, 126
Russell, Senator Richard, 18, 113, 114
Sailors, Ken, 13
Sass, Sherman, 57
Scalia, Justice Antonin, 49
Schlesinger, Arthur, 106
Schmults, Ed, 125, 126
Schwab, Professor Joseph, 23, 32
segregation in Washington, 84
Shadur, Judge Milton, 50
Sharp, Professor Malcolm, 51
Sherman & Sterling, 159
Sherman Act, 66, 77
Shulman, Professor Harry, 55
Simons, Professor Henry, 51
Sirica, Judge John J., 112
Sixth Amendment, 96, 99, 102
Souter, Justice David H., 151
Spaeth, Melvin, 164
Sperry Rand, 134, 137
Sporkin, Judge Stanley, 124
St. Louis, Missouri, 28, 134, 141, 142
Stagg, Alonzo, 31
Star Chamber, 79
Stein, Jake, 84
Steiner, George, 22
Stevens, Justice John Paul, 150
Stevenson, Coke, 105
Strauss, Alan, 30
student newspaper business manager, 24
Sturges, Professor Wesley Alba, 55-56
Superior Oil Company, 111, 112
Surf detergent, 136
Surgeon General
tobacco companies, 109
Surgeon General’s report, 136
Symbols of Capitalism, The, 70
Szilard, Professor Leo, 27
technology, 135, 158, 160
Tefft, Professor Sheldon, 44
Temple, Ralph, 95, 100, 101
Thomas, Justice Clarence, 21, 49
Thurman, Arnold
Folklore of Capitalism, The, 70
head of the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division, 70
Laramie, Wyoming, 17, 70
Symbols of Capitalism, The, 70
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 71
University of West Virginia Law School, 70
Yale University, 70
Tiananmen Square, 145
Tide detergent, 77, 135, 136
Truman, President Harry, 61, 78
Truro, Massachusetts (Cape Cod), 137
Unilever, 115, 122, 133
Union Pacific Railroad (U.P.), 3, 13
United Auto Workers, 55
United Fruit Company, 86
United States Court of Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 71
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 116
United States District Court (Chicago), 50
United States Steel Company, 141
United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 60, 65, 74, 75, 117, 123, 124, 157
United States Supreme Court, 47, 74, 78, 84, 87-89, 91, 94, 98, 104-107, 112, 117, 122, 143,
147, 149, 154-155, 166
Univac, 134, 159,
Sperry Rand
Universal Brands case, 131
University of Chicago, 18-23, 29- 35, 39-40, 45, 49, 51-54, 57, 60, 107, 139
admissions process, 19
atomic research, 20, 22, 26-30
Big Ten, 31
emphasis on learning how to think, 21
Hutchins, President Robert, 1
mandatory curriculum, 20
University of Chicago Law School, 39
diversity of student body, 40
mandatory curriculum, 41
Record, 48
University of Illinois, 31, 34
University of Michigan, 18, 31, 34, 50
University of Minnesota Law School, 58
University of Wyoming, 6, 7, 14, 17, 70
1994 National Collegiate Basketball Championship, 13
Viet Nam, 108, 138
Vieth, Duane (Bud), 66, 72, 88, 108, 109, 123, 132, 164
Wald, Douglas, 70
Wald, Patricia. See McGowan, Patricia
Wald, Robert (Bob), 57, 65, 163
Wald, Sarah, 70
Warren, Justice Earl, 113
Washington Post, 30
Washington School of Psychiatry, 139
Watson, James, 22
Wechsler, Professor Herbert, 153
Weiner, Robert, 164
Weinfeld, Judge Edward, 164
Westwood, Howard, 163
White & Case, 123, 124, 125, 126
Wickersham Award, 143
Willens, Howard, 115
Williams, Edward Bennett, 126, 163
Winchell, Karl, 6, 17, 83
father figure, 8
“go east,” 18
high school principal, 5
Winnett, Nochem S., 110
Winter, Robert, 124, 164
Wiprud, Arne, 71
Wolfson College (Oxford University), 142
Wolfson, Louis, 117
Wood, Judge Kimba, 147
World War II
influence on Abe Krash, 39
newspaper staffing, 6
A Worthy Tradition Freedom of Speech in America, 44
Wyoming, 3, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 17, 39, 40, 70, 138
Yale Law School
diversity, 57
fellowship, 25, 26, 54-59, 85
graduate studies, 33, 44, 52-54, 57, 66, 70, 75, 95, 101, 127-129, 143, 166
Yangtze River, 144
Youngdahl, Judge Luther, 81
Oral History of Abe Krash
Table of Cases
Adamson v. California, 332 U.S. 46 (1947), 98
Banana Distributors v. United Fruit Company, 162 F. Supp. 32, S. D. New York, 104
Banzhaf, et al. v. Federal Communications Commission, et al., 405 F.2d 1082 (D.C. Cir., 1968),
Barron v. Baltimore, 32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 243 (1833), 98
Betts v. Brady, 316 U.S. 455 (1942), 96, 97, 103
Durham v. United States, (214 F.2d 862), 67-69, 75, 81, 103
Fischler, et al. v. McCarthy, 117 F. Supp. 643, S. D. New York, 81
Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), 74-75, 88, 94, 97-98, 101-104, 166
M’Naghten’s case, [1843] UKHL J16 (19 June 1843), 68
Peters v. Hobby, 349 U.S. 331 (1955), 81
Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957) , 89, 91, 104
SEC v. National Student Marketing, 457 F. Supp. 682,1978 U.S. Dist., 123
United States v. Owen Lattimore, 232 F.2d 334, 81
United States v. Lever Brothers Company and Monsanto Chemical Company, 193 F.Supp. 254
(1961), 66-67
Universal Brands v. Philip Morris, et al., 546 F.2d 30, 131
Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702,117 S. Ct. 2258,117 S. Ct. 2302; 138 L. Ed. 2d 772,
150, 152

Abe Krash
Retired Partner
Abe Krash received a law degree from the
University of Chicago in 1949 and was a
graduate fellow at the Yale Law School. He
has been a visiting lecturer at Yale Law
School and is presently Visiting Professor
from Practice at the Georgetown University
Law Center where he teaches Constitutional Law. Mr. Krash is the
author of numerous articles on topics relating to constitutional law,
antitrust and trade regulation, criminal law, and federal civil
procedure. He was for many years head of the Arnold & Porter
antitrust practice group, and he was President of the Friends of the
Law Library of Congress. Mr. Krash was counsel for many major
companies, including among others Miller Brewing Company, Kraft
General Foods, Philip Morris, Lever Brothers, and Monsanto, in all
kinds of proceedings.
 Abe Krash “The Architects of the Gideon Decision: Abe
Fortas and Justice Hugo Black” Texas Law Review, Volume
92, No. 5, April 2014
 Abe Krash “Sounding The Trumpet: The Gideon Case” 1996
 Abe Krash “Insanity and the Law, Part II: Toward A Saner
Insanity Defense–The Durham Case” 1996
Contact Information
tel: +1 202.942.5752
fax: +1 202.942.5999
555 Twelfth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004-1206
Graduate Fellow, Yale Law
School, 1949-50
JD, University of Chicago Law
School, 1949
BA, University of Chicago, 1946
District of Columbia

Firm Practice Areas Professionals Recognitions Diversity News & Events Contacts
Stuart F. Pierson
E: spierson@morvillolaw.com
T: (202) 803-5852
F: (202) 775-5937
Representative Experience Selected Publications Distinctions Work Experience
Bar and Court Admissions Education
Stuart Pierson, Counsel to Morvillo LLP, has 40 years of experience
in white collar, internal investigations, compliance and complex
litigation. His clients include corporations, executives, political
figures and journalists. He specializes in Justice Department, SEC, congressional and other
government investigations, federal and state litigation and counseling on the increasing compliance
requirements for business organizations.
Representative Experience
Enforcement and Internal Investigations
• Advice to and representation of Volt Information Sciences, Inc., a $2 billion public company, for
internal investigation and SEC matters (2009-2013).
• Representation of official of national housing company in response to federal allegations of
kickbacks (2008).
• Internal investigation for Security National Bank, a regional bank. Resolution of internal needs
and compliance remediation (2007-2008).
• Representation of government sub-contractor in response to investigation of alleged gratuities
provided to military transportation officials relating to award of shipping business (2004-2007).
• Representation of Stiles Kellett, chair of the Worldcom Board of Directors’ Compensation
Committee in class actions and over 100 individual actions consolidated in the Southern District
of New York arising from the collapse of WorldCom, Inc. (2004-2006).
• Representation of federal government lawyer in criminal investigation concerning allegations of
inappropriate conduct in a sentencing proceeding (2006).
• Representation of global technology company in federal investigation of municipal procurement
fraud (2000-2003).
• Representation of former employees of the Democratic National Committee in investigations by
both houses of Congress and the Department of Justice concerning campaign financing (1997 –
• Representation of former Congressman Charles N. Wilson in various federal investigations as
he was the principally effective advocate for assistance to the Afghan resistance to Soviet
occupation. (1983-1999) See also Charlie Wilson’s War, Atlantic Monthly Press.
Morvillo Law | Bio Stuart F. Pierson, Counsel Page 1 of 3
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Advice to clients on the established elements of an effective compliance plan for public and private
business and regulated entities, including Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, Federal Sentencing
Guidelines, Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission policies.
Complex Litigation
• Omaha Public Power District v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., District Ct., Douglas Co., NE:
Representation of utility on claims for breach of contract and negligence for failure to maintain
defendant railroad’s roadbed and infrastructure in the Powder River Basin, causing failure to
deliver required coal supplies (2007-2008).
• Contract Arbitration: Representation of Midwest utility in response to an arbitration claim that it
had intentionally undermined sale of a substantial company asset (2003-2004).
• United States v. Church, et al., S.D. WV: Representation of second defendant charged with
conspiracy to obstruct a federal bank examination (1999 – 2002).
Early Landmarks
• U.S. v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. WA 1974) (the “Boldt Decision”): lead plaintiff’s
counsel for the judgment recognizing Indian off-reservation treaty fishing right of Pacific
Northwest Indians to take up to 50% of the harvestable salmonid stock as the supreme law of
the land. Judgment revolutionized Pacific Northwest fisheries management, and steadily
improved the lives of the Indians. Upheld in four Supreme Court challenges.
• Martin Marietta v. Evening Star, 417 F. Supp. 947 (D.D.C. 1976): counsel for defendant
newspaper in establishing that public corporations have the same First Amendment burden as
individuals to prove actual malice to recover for defamation on a matter of public interest.
• Manuchar Ghobanifar (mid-1980s): Counsel for the Iranian middle man in the Iran Contra affair,
who was never charged or required to testify in the grand jury or congressional proceedings.
Legal Ethics
Chair, D.C. Court of Appeals Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law (1992-1998).
Selected Publications
• Author of “Responding to a Criminal Investigation,” Privacy & Data Security Law Journal, June
• Author of “Individual Legal Expenses: Should You Have A Policy?,” July 2006.
Author of “A Trap for the Unwary: Can a Company Deny Advice-of-Counsel Evidence?,” March
• Other periodic publications concerning cases and representations, and articles in media
periodicals on developments in the law.
Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America in Criminal Defense: White-Collar Law (2010-2014).
Work Experience
• Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP, 1998-2012
• Private Practice in Washington D.C., 1973-present
• Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, Western District of Washington, 1973-1975
• Assistant U.S. Attorney, Western District of Washington, 1971-1973
• Trial Attorney, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 1968-1971
Bar and Court Admissions
• District of Columbia
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• New York
• U.S. Supreme Court
• U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
• Other U.S. Courts of Appeal
• U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
• U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
• Duke University (J.D., 1968)
• Hobart College (B.A., cum laude, 1965)
NYC Tel: 212-796-6330 | NYC Fax: 212-240-8267 | Washington DC Tel: 202-470-0330 | Washington DC Fax: 202-775-5937
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