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:
Katia Garrett
April 8, October 9 and November 14, 2002
January 14, February 13 and April 11, 2003
April 12, 2004 and June 14, 2005
William Schultz
February 18, April 15, May 7, July 7 and November 22, 2010
Preface . ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. i
Oral History Agreements
Stephen J. Pollak, Esquire ……………………………………………………………………………… ii
Katia Garrett, Esquire ………………………………………………………………………………….. iv
William Schultz, Esquire ……………………………………………………………………………… vi
Oral History Transcripts of Interviews
April 8, 2002 …………………………………………………………………………………………………1
October 9, 2002 ……………………………………………………………………………………………23
November 14, 2002 ………………………………………………………………………………………43
January 14, 2003 ………………………………………………………………………………………….69
February 13, 2003 ………………………………………………………………………………………..92
April 11, 2003 ……………………………………………………………………………………………124
April 12, 2004 ……………………………………………………………………………………………160
June 14, 2005 …………………………………………………………………………………………….194
February 18, 2010 ………………………………………………………………………………………227
April 15, 2010 ……………………………………………………………………………………………249
May 7, 2010 ………………………………………………………………………………………………273
July 7, 2010 ……………………………………………………………………………………………….287
November 22, 2010 …………………………………………………………………………………….308
Index …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. A-1
Table of Cases ……………………………………………………………………………………………………B-1
Biographical Sketches
Stephen J. Pollak, Esquire …………………………………………………………………………C-1
Katia Garrett, Esquire ………………………………………………………………………………C-7
William Schultz, Esquire ………………………………………………………………………….C-8
Appendix 1: Remarks for the Unveiling of Portrait of Judge Greene ………………………………. D-1
Appendix 2: Notes for Preparing Your Own Witness for Deposition by Opposing Counsel . D-9
Appendix 3: SJP Recollections of Trip to the Johnson Ranch…………………………………………..D-12
Appendix 4: Washington Post- Billy Carter Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Testimony ….. D-16
Appendix 5: Washington Post– Pollak Named Successor to Doar at Civil Rights Division…D-17
Appendix 6: Sunday Star Article – Pollak Appointed District White House Liaison ………… .D-18
Appendix 7: Letter to Sargent Shriver …………………………………………………………………………. D-20
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, 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 CDs resulting from eight
interviews of Stephen J. Pollak conducted on the following dates:
Pages of
Interview No. and Date Number of Tapes or CDs Final
No. 1, April 8, 2002 Cassette Tape and DVD 1-22
No. 2, October 9, 2002 Cassette Tape and DVD 23-42
No. 3, November 14, 2002 Cassette Tape and DVD 43-68
No. 4, January 14, 2003 Cassette Tape and DVD 69-91
No. 5, February 13, 2003 Two Cassette Tapes and DVD 92-123
No. 6, April 11, 2003 Two Cassette Tapes and DVD 124-159
No. 7, April 12, 2004 Two Cassette Tapes and DVD 160-193
No. 8, June 14, 2005 Two Cassette Tapes and DVD 194-226
No. 9, February 18, 2010 DVD 227-248
No. 10, April 15, 2010 DVD 249-272
No. 11, May 7, 2010 DVD 273-286
No. 12, July 7, 2010 DVD 287-307
No. 13, November 22, 2010 DVD 308-337
The electronic media are in the possession of Stephen J. Pollak.

Schedule A
Tapes recordings, digital recordings, transcripts, computer diskettes and CDs resulting from
eight interviews of Stephen J. Pollak conducted on the following dates:
Pages of
Interview No. and Date Number of Tapes or CDs Final
No. 1, April 8, 2002 Cassette Tape and DVD 1-22
No. 2, October 9, 2002 Cassette Tape and DVD 23-42
No. 3, November 14, 2002 Cassette Tape and DVD 43-68
No. 4, January 14, 2003 Cassette Tape and DVD 69-91
No. 5, February 13, 2003 Two Cassette Tapes and DVD 92-123
No. 6, April 11, 2003 Two Cassette Tapes and DVD 124-159
No. 7, April 12, 2004 Two Cassette Tapes and DVD 160-193
No. 8, June 14, 2005 Two Cassette Tapes and DVD 194-226
The electronic media are in the possession of Stephen J. Pollak.
The Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit
Oral Histor, Agreement of William 8. Schultz
l. Having agreed to conduct oral history interviews of Stephen J. Pollak for the
Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit, Washington, D.C., and its employees and
agents (hereinafter, “the Society”), I, William B. Schultz, do hereby grant and convey to the
Society and its successors and assigns all ofmy rights, tiUe, and interest in the voice recordings
(digital recordings) and transcripts of interviews us described in Schedule A hereto, including
literary tights and copyrights.
2. I understand that the Society may duplicate, edit, or publish, in any form. or
format, including publication on the Internet, Bild permit 1he use of said voice recordings (digital
recordings) and tmnscripts in any manner that the Society considers appropriate, and I waive any
claims J may have or acquire to any royalties from such use.
3. [ agree thal I will make no use of the oral history or fl1e information contained
therein until it is concluded and edited, or until I receive pennission from the Society.
Williwn B. Schultz
? day of ?be.r , 2013.
ACCEPTED this &f /tt day of ?Go\ , 20? by Stephen J. Pollak, President of the
Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit.
Schedule A
Voice recordings (digital recordings) and transcripts resulting from five
interviews of Stephen J. Pollak conducted on the following dates:
Interview No. and Date Description of Media Pages of
Containing Voice Recordings Final Transcript
No. 9, February 18, 2010 DVD 227-248
No. 10, April 15, 2010 DVD 249-272
No. 11, May 7, 2010 DVD 273-286
No. 12, July 7, 2010 DVD 287-307
No. 13, November 22, 2010 DVD 308-337
The electronic media are in the possession of Stephen J. Pollak.
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
First Interview-April 8, 2002
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is Katia Garrett. The interview took place at the Shea & Gardner law firm at
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, in the District of Columbia on Monday, April 8, 2002, at 10:00
a.m. This is the first interview.
Ms. Garrett: Let’s just jump right in, Steve, to talking about you and where it all started. When
you were born, where you grew up, your family and the like. Tell me about your
Mr. Pollak: Well, I was born March 22, 1928. My parents lived on the South Side of
Chicago, close to their parents. I was the first child. My parents were married in
August 1926, and I was born in 1928.
Ms. Garrett: What were your parents’ names?
Mr. Pollak: Maurice August Pollak and Laura Kramer Pollak. My father was 13 years older
than my mother. He was a head taller or more than my mother. My mother was
almost immediately out of Smith College (class of June 1926) and my father had
gone two years to the University of Chicago. His father had died when he was
quite young. His mother never remarried. When he was going to the University
some friend of the family counseled him that he should get on with the business
of life and leave college and get a job, which he did, probably greatly to his
regret. He had held a number of different jobs, none of which I am really familiar
with when he married my mother. My mother has told me that my father lost the
job he had while they were on their honeymoon. He then went into the real estate
business that my mother’s father and another man had begun in 1893, Draper &
Kramer. He spent a lifetime in that business. My father loved that business. He
– 2 –
worked five and a half days a week. When I can begin remembering anything, I
was then living in a suburb of Chicago. My family moved north of the city to a
village called Highland Park on Lake Michigan and rented a house in a little
division of Highland Park called Ravinia. It was on the Northwestern Railroad
line between Chicago and Milwaukee. My father took the “8:10” in the morning
to work and the “5:10” home. The train left from Highland Park and went nonstop
into the city. One memory that I have is that each Sunday evening, or
Sunday, we would drive into the city to visit the grandparents.
Ms. Garrett: Were all four of the grandparents living during your childhood?
Mr. Pollak: No. My father’s father had died when he was a young boy, and I didn’t ever
know him. My mother’s parents were living at 53rd and University Avenue on the
South Side of Chicago. My father’s mother and his sister, who didn’t ever marry,
and a brother of his mother, were also living on the South Side, ultimately at 51st
and University. We would visit them Sunday — my memory is of visiting each
family. I don’t think that those visits saw the grandparents getting together. We
would visit one set and then the other.
Ms. Garrett: What was that neighborhood like? 53rd and University, 51st and University?
Mr. Pollak: Well, it was, to my recollection a very benign, probably totally white
neighborhood. It was five, ten blocks north of the University of Chicago campus.
I remember that milk was delivered — the families purchased their milk from the
Wanzer Dairy that delivered milk to the homes in a horse-drawn wagon. I can
remember hearing the clop-clop of the horse on the pavement. There was a small
– 3 –
drugstore on the corner of 51st and University, and I can remember going in there
and getting candy or something like that with one or another of the family of my
father. My grandfather raised English Bulldogs that he had brought over from
London, England, to the United States, and showed them in the shows of the
American Kennel Club. I remember my parents telling me that he was the first
Jewish member of the American Kennel Club. He had in his back yard in the city
a run and dog houses for a number of these English bulls. One of the show names
of one of the best dogs was “Glorious Sobriquet.” In any event, the grandparents,
like grandparents everywhere, doted on us children. I had one sibling, a sister,
who is two years younger than I am. It was a sizeable trip from Highland Park to
the South Side of Chicago. When we would go home on Sunday evenings, we
would drive along the waterfront east of the Loop in Chicago, and there were
these neon signs on the top of the buildings. I remember one of them was for
Glidden Paint. And it showed someone pouring paint over the world. We would
be driving home in the dark and we would get to that place on the trip and my
father would always point out these neon signs and my mother would say, “Oh,
Maurice you’re waking up the children.” I think in a way that may tell something
about my parents. My father enjoyed making us children happy about whatever
was available and my mother was thinking about what was good for us, like
getting enough sleep or making the trip go along without incident. The town in
which we lived was just a benign existence. The family next door named
Armstrong had a son my age, Mason. I was friendly with him and we would go
– 4 –
overnight to each other’s house and his parents were just like my own parents.
They accepted us running around doing whatever we did. I had a friend across
the street, named Buzz Laurie who became an artist and is a painter living in
Taos, New Mexico. We called ourselves the “Three Musketeers” and played all
around the home area. Down the street, I had another friend named Bobby Jones,
who now lives in Durango, Colorado. Those were my earliest friends. Mason
died relatively young. Young meaning probably 35 or 40.
Ms. Garrett: Are you still in touch with them?
Mr. Pollak: I am at the holidays, and I have purchased paintings of Buzz Laurie. I was just in
touch with him because I offered to purchase one of his paintings for my daughter
who lives in Boulder, Colorado. He paints Southwest United States scenes. Buzz
sent me a bunch of his transparencies to look at. Yes. And I’m in touch with
Bob Jones at the year end. Durango is a hard place to get to, and I haven’t seen
him in many, many years, but we were friends and remain so. My friendships
arose based upon the capability to meet without automobiles and those boys lived
very close. I had to cross one street to get to the Laurie household and the Jones
household. A little further away (meaning three blocks), there was a family with
twins my age named Hotchkiss. I went all through school with Gene and Jim and
both twins are still good friends of mine. Jim is an investment counselor and has
provided that kind of help for my family and my parents and my wife Ruth’s
parents. Gene became a college president and we are still close. So, those are
four people that I’ve known for 65 or 70 years, pretty stable acquaintances.
– 5 –
We all attended public school right from kindergarten through the end of
high school. Bob Jones went away to high school. He had very accomplished
sisters and one brother, and I think the pressures on him academically were heavy.
He wasn’t doing as well as they had done, although I think he was very capable.
The twins were separated after the first or second year of high school.
Ms. Garrett: They were sent to different schools?
Mr. Pollak: Gene continued at the public school and Jimmy went to Vermont Academy, for
no reason, I think, other than to foster their independent development. Then they
went to the same college and I went to that college, too, Dartmouth. They and I
joined the Navy when we arrived at college, and I went through the Navy with
them, so I’ve spent a lot of time with the Hotchkisses. They are probably my
longest close friends from childhood.
Ms. Garrett: Before we get into school, I want to hear a little bit more about your parents.
Your mom, you said she went to Smith. What did she major in and what did she
do when she returned to Chicago?
Mr. Pollak: My mother went away to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Interestingly enough, my mother was called Polly during her youth and then she
married Maurice Pollak and that fit with her new last name. She was a good
student. I don’t know what her major was. It surprises me that I don’t. She spent
her junior year at the University of Chicago. She told me recently that she had
met my father and that led her to transfer to the University of Chicago. I don’t
believe she prepared herself for a career. I think that those were not life paths that
– 6 –
were recognized as available then. I think my mother was very capable and in
today’s world would have charted out a career. She actually followed a career of
voluntary work.
Ms. Garrett: What kind of volunteer work did she do?
Mr. Pollak: Her major activity that I remember during my childhood was the League of
Women Voters. She was very active in the League and during my young years
was President of the Illinois State League and served on the National Board.
Given my propensity for horrible puns and not-so-funny jokes, I would often say
my mother was active in the “National League,” meaning the baseball league,
although, of course, it was the National League of Women Voters. She knew, I
think, the founder of the League, Anna Lord Strauss, and other women leaders.
She was active in the League with Emily Taft Douglas, who was married to Paul
Douglas, later Senator from Illinois. Emily Taft, as she was often referred to, was
for a term or two a congresswoman from Illinois. My mother also was active, as
was her brother Ferdinand Kramer, who with my father, ran the real estate
business after my grandfather died in 1944, in the Chicago Planning and Housing
Council. The Council has had a material effect on the development of the City of
Chicago. That was a volunteer activity. Later, perhaps during the 1950s, maybe
later, my mother was a member of the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission
which was a seven-person authority with power over planning of public works in
northeastern Illinois, including the City of Chicago. That was a public body to
which she was named by the Governor.
– 7 –
When I was little, I remember that many of the people living in Highland
Park would call my mother when elections came around to find out how they
should vote. She was up on politics and interested herself in it. I don’t remember
either my mother or my father actively involving themselves in political
campaigns. My mother was working for good government. I harbored the view
then that my mother was a Democrat, or supported the Democratic candidates
mostly, certainly Franklin D. Roosevelt. I recall my father as being more business
oriented and possibly leaning a little toward the Republicans, but I’m not sure that
he did. Later, I don’t think that he did at all.
Ms. Garrett: Was politics or public affairs something that was discussed in your household a
Mr. Pollak: I think it was. I remember in grammar school, called “Ravinia School,” my father
for a period of time served on the School Board for the District 108 which
consisted of four or five grammar schools. In 1936, my school had a mock
election for president. My memory is that there was a large number of students
for Alf Landon from Kansas. I was one of four voting for Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The mock election could have been in 1940 when Willkie was the Candidate.
Ms. Garrett: A distinct minority in the town were Democrats?
Mr. Pollak: That’s true, but I don’t have the feeling that Highland Park was an archly
conservative area. I think it elected Republicans in Lake County, and that
continues to this day. Concern with public affairs, concern for good government,
these were concerns of our household. From almost the earliest that I can
– 8 –
remember I was interested in civics, probably coming a good bit from my mother.
I remember my mother having an interest in those concerns stemming from and
driving her involvement with the League. My father was supportive, but I don’t
think that he exhibited, at least at a verbal level, the same interest. My father
liked to play golf and the family was a member of a Jewish country club located
in Ravinia called Northmoor. My father played golf each Sunday in the temperate
part of the year. Sometimes as I grew older he would come out early from the
city on Wednesday or Friday or Saturday and I’d play nine holes with him. He
taught me to play golf and I have very fond memories of doing that with him. He
liked athletics and was very supportive of my interest in athletics. My parents
were big on volunteering. One responsibility my father took on, possibly
connected to his service on the School Board, was to be the citizen responsible for
supervision of the public ice skating rink. Winters were cold, and starting in
November, the playfield at the grammar school was flooded as an ice skating rink.
We kids went skating every night there. There was one employee who would
flood or spray the skating rink each evening and my father supervised that and
probably other matters relating to the rink as well. We were very active ice
skaters, my parents, my sister, and I.
When I was very young, our family would go with the very earliest kinds of
skis and ski on the golf course which had a few very little hills.
Ms. Garrett: I imagine hills were hard to come by in that area.
– 9 –
Mr. Pollak: Very. As we got a little more accomplished, we went into southern Wisconsin
and skied at a place called Wilmot. We also skied further north at La Crosse,
Wisconsin, and Ishpeming, Michigan. My parents’ closest friends were Bernard
and Ruth Nath. They lived in Highland Park and had two daughters. Their
daughter my age was named Marjorie. She was my earliest girlfriend. We went
all through public school together. She is still a close friend of mine. One year
we went skiing at Lacrosse over Christmas. When we were going home, it was
very cold and we were at the railroad station waiting for the train. One would
travel back and forth by train. I had been in a play or been reading a play, and
went out on the platform and came back in to the station house and said to the
group, “It is bleak without and I am but thinly clad.” My mother has always
remembered that, as have I. It was from Shakespeare. On cold days, my mother
would repeat the saying with a twinkle in her eyes.
One of the lovable things about my mother, something that she has willed to
me, is that she loves the almost musical sound of persons’ last names. Highland
Park was blessed by the fact that at the northern end, the whole town probably
was maybe four miles from north to south, bordering on Lake Michigan, was Fort
Sheridan, an army base. The community around Fort Sheridan was called
Highwood and it had a large immigrant population of Italians and Swedes. That
meant that the high school was more diversified than just suburbanite families. A
lot of the Highwood families serviced in one way or another the needs of the
military base and its personnel. In any event, in my high school class there were
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many students with these melodic Italian names like Tagliapetria, Pignataria,
Almadeo Minerini, Passuello. My mother used to like to roll these names off her
tongue. The children from these Italian and Swedish families contributed a great
deal to my learning experiences coming from different backgrounds.
My memory is that all through my 13 years of public school in Highland
Park, kindergarten through eighth grade at Ravinia School and four years at
Highland Park High School — my graduating class in 1946 had 242 students — is
that there was one black family named Brown. There were two children in that
family, the daughter was the younger of the two and may have been in my class.
The son, whose name was Shelby Brown, was a year or two older than I was. It
was a very white community that I grew up in. It was diversified by ethnicity
somewhat, but not by race. My memory of diversity also includes diversities of
religious background. The predominant religion was Christian among the people
that lived in the community, but there was a significant Jewish presence. My
memory, a kind of a subliminal awareness, was that being Jewish was not only
being part of a minority, but I had this vague feeling that it was a disfavored
Ms. Garrett: Did you have any experiences directly where you were disfavored?
Mr. Pollak: The only experience I can point to as a memory is some kind of playground
incident where an older boy called me a “kike.” I’m not sure I quite knew what it
was, but I knew it wasn’t a term for a favored person. I never had anybody fight
me over being Jewish. There were undoubtedly a lot of Jewish children in my
– 11 –
school. I felt no minority status in grammar school. I played football, swimming
and tennis in high school. I never felt any minority status there. There was a
Jewish country club and one or more gentile country clubs in my home town.
Among my boyhood friends, the Laurie family was Catholic, and the Jones and
Armstrong families were perhaps Presbyterian. The Jones and Armstrong
families belonged to the gentile country club, Exmoor. I felt those clubs were
My father was tall and was a good basketball player. In high school he had
had three or four or five close friends. They all played on the basketball team,
and then he and they went to the University of Chicago and played on the
basketball team, incidentally for Amos Alonzo Stagg, who was the great stand-out
football coach for the University of Chicago, which then was a powerhouse in
football. Stagg coached the basketball team as well. All of my father’s friends
then joined a gentile fraternity and he was excluded. I think that was a lifeaffecting
experience for my father. He didn’t really count gentiles as reliable
friends until very late in life because his close friends had parted from him at the
beginning of college because he was Jewish. And so I think that seeped into my
awareness. But how early and how much this awareness became influenced by
difficulties and worse experienced by the Jews in Germany, I’m not able to
distinguish now. I can remember an awareness in the family that we were Jewish
and that we were different in that respect. I think that the pride that Jewish people
now have in their Jewishness was less in my youth. Families still saw
– 12 –
assimilation as a major goal, and assimilation was perfectly fine on the part of a
community in this country. There has developed feelings that people can be a
hundred percent a part of the American experience and still have their lesser
communities. That’s a positive thing for people’s self worth. There was less of
that for me in my youth. I don’t think I wanted to be different. I don’t recall that
those considerations made a difference to the people with whom I spent my time.
I don’t think that the Jewish-gentile difference made much of a difference in fact
but it made some difference in my head.
Ms. Garrett: Was your family at all religious? Did you go to temple or services on holidays?
Mr. Pollak: My family was not very religious or at least that’s the way it seemed to me. My
mother felt that we should go to Sunday school, as it was called, at the North
Shore Congregation Israel, which was in Glencoe, the next suburb to the south.
My sister and I did for many years. The rabbi was named Shulman. I don’t recall
what age I began, but we would attend the regular Sunday service and then go to
our classroom. I was resistant. My memory is that I was resistant because my
father worked 5 1/2 days, so, to the extent that he was home and I was going to
Sunday school, then I wouldn’t have time with him. But that is at odds with the
fact that each Sunday morning he played golf. It may be that my resistance was
that there were perhaps Saturday classes or maybe Hebrew classes. I connect my
resistance to wanting to be with my father who, I recall, was supportive of my
desire to avoid going to Sunday school. I didn’t open myself to the joys of
religion. I found the classes boring. Neither of us, my sister Louise and I, was
– 13 –
confirmed or bar mitzvahed or bat mitzvahed. Later, my sister, who had a first
marriage to Ray Marks, divorced, and married Chuck Salzman. Chuck is
religious, and Louise is now quite religious. Her daughter — she has three
children — her daughter Susan is ordained as a rabbi. I think that Louise has
gotten a lot out of her religion.
My family always had a Christmas tree. Christmas was a big thing. I never
saw anything out of the ordinary about celebrating Christmas until I married my
wife, Ruth. Ruth is a granddaughter of the head orthodox rabbi of the State of
Wisconsin. Her parents thought that a Jewish family that had a Christmas tree
had made a terrible error. In our early years, when we had children, we had a
Christmas tree, but in time, Ruth got me to give it up and I’m quite satisfied with
that. I look back and think that I had confusions about who I was and what my
relationship to Judaism was. I was resistant to it, probably taking a page from the
assimilationists’ book.
Ms. Garrett: Did there come a point when that resolved itself?
Mr. Pollak: Some time later. I went to Dartmouth College. Many influences led me there.
One of them was that I harbored the view that fraternities played a lesser role
there than at some other places. As a macro matter that may be true, but they
played a major role at Dartmouth. I can remember before going to college talking
over the dinner table with my parents about college fraternities and how they were
discriminatory. That keys in with the experience of my father at the University of
Chicago. I did not join a fraternity at Dartmouth. I never wanted to. This, I
– 14 –
concluded later, was a coming-of-age experience. Somewhat after I’d made this
choice, I realized that I hadn’t really made that choice myself. I felt I had made
the choice I thought my parents would make or expected me to make. When this
more adult, more independent thinking broke over me, I realized with some
disappointment that it was perfectly fine not to join a fraternity, but it would have
been better not to have joined for my own reasons, rather than my parents’. I was
never sorry about it. It was just that it would have been better to have come to
terms with my own thinking to say, “That isn’t something I want to do. Those are
not necessarily the people that I want to be with.” In fact, many of my friends on
the swimming team were fraternity members as were my close friends, the
Hotchkisses. I was troubled by the idea of joining a segregated Jewish fraternity
and I was also troubled by the idea of being a token Jewish member of an
otherwise gentile fraternity. I didn’t like either alternative, so the swimming team
was my fraternity.
Ms. Garrett: You were growing up in some interesting times, I think, globally and
domestically. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about what impact some of those
events — events of World War I, World War II, had on you and on your family
and if the fate, the plight of the Jews in Europe, was something that was discussed
or known, or if you understood much.
Mr. Pollak: I was 11 or 10 when Hitler began moving against the Sudetenland and then
Czechoslovakia and later France. That was a matter of constant concern in our
family. My family was committed from an early time to the idea that the
– 15 –
United States had to be involved in opposing the Nazis. There were hatemongers
on the radio, Father Coughlin and Gerald L.K. Smith, who had to be Nazi
sympathizers and spouted anti-Semitism on the radio. We were aware of those
conditions. I followed all of that very closely. I was committed to the entry of
the United States into the war. The United States’ future was on the line.
Ms. Garrett: Where were you when you learned about Pearl Harbor? Do you remember that?
Mr. Pollak: I don’t remember where I was. I think I was just at home on a Sunday afternoon.
I remember where I was when I learned President Kennedy had been killed, but I
don’t remember where I was that Pearl Harbor day.
I remember the conditions in the United States in the Depression and the
concerns that my family felt for people who didn’t have work. Our household
had a strong concern for public assistance and for government doing the right
thing, driven by the ethic of the League of Women Voters with which my mother
was active. These views must have been reinforced in my grammar school,
although I don’t recall much about that. As I got to seventh grade, I had a civics
teacher – we had a home room teacher and I think my home room teacher was the
same as my civics teacher – Lorraine Sinkler. She was very much concerned with
good government and international cooperation and she had a large influence on
me as did my mother.
Ms. Garrett: Were there any other teachers who filled that role in the early days?
Mr. Pollak: Well, I had important male teachers in high school. A lot of good solid teachers,
all the way along. I think my public school education was a good education. The
– 16 –
public schooling was a good community to be a part of. I did very well as a
student, but never thought of myself as a brilliant student. My three earliest
friends often referred to me as “prof,” short for professor, although looking back
on it I don’t really know why. I wasn’t really an intellectual youngster. I wasn’t
reading deep books.
Ms. Garrett: What kind of books did you read? What did you enjoy?
Mr. Pollak: I remember enjoying the Hornblower books by C. S. Forester about the sea. My
father had been in the Navy in World War I, and I had seen his picture in uniform.
I always harbored the view as a youngster that I wanted to go into the Navy and I
ultimately did. One of the great books that I read as a young person was Somerset
Maugham’s Of Human Bondage. An influential reading for me was
Dostoyevski’s Crime and Punishment, which I must have read later. I remember
reading a book by Marcia Davenport, about coal mining in Britain, How Green
Was my Valley. I read the Neville Shute books about South Africa. I liked
reading novels. My memory of my education is that I did not draw as much out
of a lot of it as I think was available, on history, on literature. I was doing a lot of
different things, as well as growing up.
Ms. Garrett: What were your goals? What did you want to be when you grew up and had a
Mr. Pollak: From an early time I wanted to be in government. I thought that the government
was a force for good, and that I wanted to be a part of it. I had a plan to go to
college and to go to public administration school thereafter, Littauer at Harvard or
– 17 –
Maxwell at Syracuse or Woodrow Wilson at Princeton. The Navy sent me to
college in something called the Holloway Plan and that obligated me to serve 15
months to two years after graduation on active duty. While I was in the Navy,
President Truman, because of the Korean War, extended my term to three years. I
applied to those three public administration schools, and then I applied to Yale
Law School and entered the Law School. I didn’t know any lawyers except for
Bernard Nath, my parents’ friend. I didn’t know what he did as a lawyer. When I
went to law school, I had no role models at all. I was confused in my first
semester by all the terms for what to me seemed the same thing – petitioner,
plaintiff, respondent, appellant, appellee, defendant. It was hard for me to get the
case reports straight because I knew so little about the fabric of the law, which
should have been otherwise because I had taken Constitutional Law at Dartmouth
from Professor Robert Carr. I did not leave Dartmouth with the idea that I would
become a lawyer.
I was active at Dartmouth in the National Student Association. I remember
attending, possibly in the winter of ‘48-‘49, one of the early convocations of the
National Student Association at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. I
became friendly there with a young woman from Mount Holyoke College named
Charlotte Huston and later dated her. After college, she married Otto Reischer
who was an immigrant from Austria. Otto was an economist working for the
Labor Department in 1951-52. Otto and Charlotte were living in Washington. I
was beginning my third year in the Navy. Ruth and I came to Washington to visit
– 18 –
Charlotte. Over lunch at a hotel at the corner of Pennsylvania and 18th Street,
Otto asked me what I was planning to do when I got out of the Navy. I said, “I’m
going to go to public administration school. I want to be in government.”
McCarthyism was then the bane of people in government. He said to me, “Well,
that’s a bad idea. If you go into the government and you are trained in public
administration and somebody takes out after you for your views, they’ll let you
go, you won’t have anywhere to go. Government is your only skill.” He said a
much better avenue to public service would be to become a lawyer. “Then,” he
said, “you can go in the government and if McCarthy or someone takes after you,
you can just thumb your nose and get out of government and practice law.”
Ms. Garrett: And that was the impetus for applying to law school?
Mr. Pollak: Yes. I had this feeling that Yale Law-trained lawyers were interested in public
service. I applied only to Yale. That lunch really made a difference in my life.
Otto didn’t even know me. I’m still friendly with Charlotte. I served as Otto’s
lawyer. Otto died relatively young. Charlotte then, years later, married a
wonderful MIT astrophysicist named George Clark. Law was almost an accident
for me but it’s been a very good calling.
Ms. Garrett: Was your family involved in any wartime activities during World War II?
Mr. Pollak: A cousin of my mother, Dr. Stanton Freidberg, an ear, nose and throat specialist,
was in the Army during World War II and served in the Pacific. He sent me a
little cap of a Japanese soldier. I remember taking it out of the wrapping and
– 19 –
recoiling from it, which must reflect the feelings I had as a youngster about the
Ms. Garrett: Did you have any awareness of the Japanese internment?
Mr. Pollak: I regret to say that if I did, I imagine I supported it. I thought then that the risks
that the President spoke about warranted what was done. I don’t think that
anymore. At the same time, there were no Asians that I knew. I was aware of the
internment. My memory is that I took seriously the idea of Japanese-Americans
directing planes over America, so I thought there was a real threat. Now, it seems
terrible to have accepted that. It was only years later that I became aware of
underlying injustices of all sorts, including loss of land and businesses which non-
Asian Americans took over. As far as I can recall, I am not distinguished by
having had the independence of mind to condemn the internment at the time. As
a general matter, I grew up supporting the rights that the Bill of Rights guarantees.
I was conscious of those rights, and thought they were an important strength of
our society. There was little conflict in my youth and I didn’t see much suffering
close up. When I saw it, as I felt there was suffering in Europe, I was supportive
of doing something about it.
Ms. Garrett: At the end of World War II, where were you when you heard about it?
Mr. Pollak: I was a competitive swimmer. In the summers of 1943, ‘44 and ‘45, I went to a
wonderful North Ontario, Canada, camp, run by the nation’s outstanding
swimming coach, Michigan University’s Matt Mann, an immigrant from Britain.
He ran a boys camp and his wife and daughter ran a companion girls camp on a
– 20 –
lake near Magnetawan in Ontario Province. I was first a camper and then a
counselor at that camp, Camp Chikopi. I was at that camp in August 1945 when
the war against Japan ended. The news came through. There was an aide to Matt,
a woman, not as young as I was, maybe three or four years older, whose husband
was in the military. I was conscious of her joy at his being able to come back. I
had no contemporaneous knowledge of all of the celebrations photographed in
Life Magazine. My memories of the wartime include sacrifices people were
called upon to make. My father went to the 8:10 a.m. train in a car pool so that
they would use little gas which was rationed. I remember using food stamps and
gasoline stamps, shortages, saving tin cans and knitting squares for blankets. I
remember earning money and saving it to buy war bonds. I was fully committed
to going into the military as soon as I was of age, although I could have joined the
Navy when I turned 17 in March of 1945 and I didn’t. I projected going into the
military after high school, and then the war ended. I remember members of the
class two years ahead of me going in. There was a young woman named
Kackie Watson. She was an “item,” we would say today, with a young man who
went away to the war and was killed in Europe. It brought the war home to me.
He was here and then he was gone. The war was an overpowering presence
during all those years. Every morning, one read the paper. When the Allies
landed at Normandy, every day we would look at the paper to see how the battle
lines moved. My recollection is that my education just proceeded along. The war
probably didn’t make that much difference in the way my life was going. The
– 21 –
social engineering that Roosevelt was pursuing had the full support of my
Ms. Garrett: Including your dad, who was engaged in business?
Mr. Pollak: There were tensions, but mother carried him along, I believe.
Ms. Garrett: It sounds like she was a strong personality.
Mr. Pollak: She was a strong personality. So was my father. My uncle Ferd Kramer went
away to Washington, so my father ran the family business, Draper & Kramer.
Ms. Garrett: What was he doing there?
Mr. Pollak: He was part of the National Housing Administration and War Housing
Administration. He brought his knowledge of that industry to Washington.
During the Depression my father was an executive at Draper & Kramer, a real
estate company begun in 1893 by my mother’s father. The executives didn’t take
any salary at all. They worked for a time with no income. My family was limited
economically then. My father was more realistic about making the private
economy go. He would have dialog with my mother who was seeing what the
social needs were that had to be met. Both points of view were entitled to credit.
So there was some clash there. My father would say sometimes to my mother,
“Laura you’re not being realistic.” At least that’s the way I would put it. I was
greatly influenced by my mother, but both parents had a work ethic that I
inherited. My mother’s work was in the home and volunteer work “downtown.”
In my little town, going downtown meant going down to Chicago. My mother’s
– 22 –
mother came out to our house on Thursdays, allowing my mother to go out and do
things or go downtown. My grandmother would take care of us.
Ms. Garrett: I think we are at a point we can stop. We have been going about an hour and a
half or so. Next time, I’d like to pick up at college, the next jump. And then from
there to your naval service and law school
Mr. Pollak: It might be interesting to put on the record the careers of people that I grew up
with or went to college with. There were 242 of us who graduated from Highland
Park High School in 1946. I have probably been more involved in public life than
any of my class from that relatively affluent community. Among the women,
there are a number who, like my mother, devoted themselves to volunteer work or
became teachers. Most of the women from my generation did the traditional
thing, raise their families. My wife Ruth says she was trained to go to college and
get married, and she did. We married following her graduation from Sarah
Lawrence, a few weeks after my return from Korea.
– 23 –
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Second Interview-October 9, 2002
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is Katia Garrett. The interview took place at the Shea & Gardner law firm at
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, in the District of Columbia, on Wednesday, October 9, 2002. This
is the second interview.
Ms. Garrett: Steve, when we last wrapped up, you indicated that you wanted to go back and
talk about some of the folks that you grew up with in a little bit more detail, and
I thought we could perhaps start there and then move into your college years.
Some of the people you mentioned were Buzz Laurie, Mason Armstrong,
Bob Jones.
Mr. Pollak: The young people with whom I grew up had the best of opportunities for
education and personal fulfillment through career and other ways. I’m thinking
of my high school classmates. Buzz Laurie, best man at my wedding, became a
painter of western scenes. Ruth and I have wonderful paintings of his in our
home. Mason died young and unfulfilled. Bob became a salesman and lived
most of his life in the west – Colorado and Arizona. Noel Behn became a writer
and published books. He’s distinguished by having had that career. Of my very
earlier friends, the Hotchkiss twins, one, Gene, became a professor of history
and then president of Lake Forest College. The other, Jim, began his own
investment advisory firm and made a great success. The story of my classmates
born in the late 1920s is that the women went to college, married and raised
families and probably did many things outside the home initially of a volunteer
– 24 –
nature and later had careers. That is the pattern my wife followed. My
observation is that the women of that era did not expect to have a career in
addition to family.
Ms. Garrett: Were these issues sort of what one expected to do in life? Do you recall
discussing those issues with friends in high school?
Mr. Pollak: I recall discussing with male friends what we wanted to do in life. I would
discuss with some of the several girl friends that I had, “what is the future.” I
don’t recall discussing with girl friends what they would do or what they felt the
future held for them to do. There was no currency like there is today to the
issue of what women would make of their lives beyond family. It just wasn’t in
the consciousness. That seems surprising now.
Ms. Garrett: And particularly look at your own household where your mom was very active
in the political world.
Mr. Pollak: Right. The most descriptive word is expectation. My mother didn’t expect that
she would be having a career or perhaps my father didn’t expect that – and that
influenced her actions. Running a household was more time consuming. There
were less labor-saving devices; there were more demands on the person running
the household to do all that needed to be done. There wasn’t time for a woman,
if the woman was the one keeping the household, to work in addition to working
at home. We had help in the home, generally a farm girl from Michigan lived
with us and helped, but that didn’t lead my mother to consider taking a job. The
last oral history session we had in April led me to ask my mother a few
– 25 –
questions, to which I didn’t have answers. I asked her why she shifted in her
junior year from Smith to the University of Chicago. She’s 97 now. She said
she had met my father and wanted to get to know him better, or to catch him as
a husband, so she moved from Smith to the University of Chicago, which was
where my father lived, in order to see more of him. It was successful. She
married in August after graduating from Smith in June.
Ms. Garrett: Interesting.
Mr. Pollak: Yes, in 1926.
Ms. Garrett: After that last session is there anything you wanted to add to amplify some of
the issues that we covered?
Mr. Pollak: I went to my high school fiftieth reunion in 1996, and saw many of the men and
women that I had known and gone to public school with. I found that the
people that I had known and liked had grown into quite wonderful adults. They
were adults you could have predicted they might be. It was easy to take up with
them after a long period, some 45 or more years since I’d seen most of them.
I’m not a big one for going to reunions. I went to my college’s fiftieth in the
year 2000. Six of my classmates were asked to speak to my class on topics that
reflected their careers. One was a doctor, one, George Woodwell, directed the
Woods Hole environmental project in Massachusetts. Another was a renowned
investment security person. Another, Frank Gilroy, was an outstanding
playwright; he wrote “The Subject was Roses.” They spoke wonderfully. They
– 26 –
reflected a broad outlook on the world’s problems. I felt they were a credit to
the education that I had gotten there at Dartmouth.
Ms. Garrett: Was Frank Gilroy somebody that you had known in college?
Mr. Pollak: I had known him, but not well.
Ms. Garrett: What was he like in college? Was he active in theater?
Mr. Pollak: He was active in theater and produced plays and acted in them at college.
Another classmate with whom Frank was active in theater was Alan Tarr. Alan,
I recall, was killed in the Korean War after college. My closest involvement
with a group of students – it was all men at Dartmouth then – was with the
swimming team. I swam for four years and was the captain my last year. I
recall having a broad acquaintanceship in college but not having closeness with
a broad number of people. The Hotchkiss twins from my hometown were close
friends, as was a young person from Britain, Norman Clark. During World
War II, Norm had lived in my hometown. His parents had sent him to the
United States because of the bombing of London. He turned up at Dartmouth
and became a very close friend. He was killed in my senior year in a car
crossing Loveland Pass in Colorado – a head-on collision. There were no seat
belts then. I always had roommates after freshman year and they became good
friends. My enduring relationships are more with my law classmates. I
consider my law education a more significant influence on my life than my
college education, even though I had good professors and did well at the
– 27 –
Ms. Garrett: What was your major?
Mr. Pollak: I majored in economics with minors in government and history. I joined the
Navy program when I arrived at college, which paid my tuition, books and $50
a month. Tuition was very low then. The program required several things.
Dartmouth students took five courses each semester, and the program required
that one of those five be a Navy course. It required that I go to sea as a
midshipman each summer and that I serve 15 months to two years in the regular
Navy as an officer after graduation. When I graduated, almost immediately the
Korean conflict began and subsequently President Truman extended my term –
and the term for all like me – for a third year. So, I served three years in the
Navy after college. One-fifth of my college education was devoted to what then
were, in my view, inadequate academic courses on naval subjects.
Ms. Garrett: What are Navy courses?
Mr. Pollak: They were insignificant. One of the courses was on armaments. We had to
memorize all the pieces of the 5-inch, 38-caliber gun, which seemed to me as
useless a bunch of information as one could possibly imagine. We learned
naval history, which was valuable, but the academic level of the professorial
staff – generally regular line officers – was not high. It was not the most
rewarding part of my education.
I was left with four-fifths of my courses in the regular academic lines. As
a result, I concentrated my major in economics but I minored in government and
history, with a purpose of taking courses that I wanted to take in the three fields.
– 28 –
I took the range of the English, economics, government, history, psychology,
philosophy, physics, and botany courses. I had a lot of good college academic
courses and good professors. English literature was a strong course. In my
fourth year, I wrote my thesis as an economics major on monetary policy in the
early New Deal period and studied Keynes and all of the efforts to lift the
country out of depression with monetary policy. My professor for my thesis
was a great teacher, Malcolm Kier.
Ms. Garrett: What did you conclude in your thesis?
Mr. Pollak: I was impressed that the theories of John Maynard Keynes had been significant
in helping Roosevelt find ways to use monetary and fiscal policy to stimulate
the economy. I recall reviewing the many different approaches tried by
Roosevelt. I can’t recall my conclusions, except that I found Keynes’ ideas
persuasive. Professor Kier had been a member of a committee of three persons
responsible for setting minimum wages and hours in the textile industry, which
was part of Roosevelt’s National Industrial Recovery Act program. He had a lot
to offer as a professor and helped me shape my thesis.
My recollection of myself in college was that I worked very hard. I was
motivated to get good grades, and I hadn’t seen the distinction between getting
good grades and learning.
In my senior year I invited Ruth Scheinfeld, now my wife of 51 years,
who was a student at Sarah Lawrence, to come as my date to the Winter
– 29 –
Carnival, which was in February 1950. I had known her since Christmas
vacation of my sophomore year.
Ms. Garrett: How did you meet her?
Mr. Pollak: I met her in an unbelievable way. My sister, Louise, who is two years younger
that I am, had gone to a three-week summer camp for girls in Wisconsin, a
YMCA camp. She had met a girl named Ruth Scheinfeld from Milwaukee.
When I came home in my sophomore year for Christmas vacation, my sister
said to me one evening, “I’m going to go to a party in Glencoe [a nearby
suburb] and a friend of mine from camp whom you might like to marry will be
there. You should come with me.”
Ms. Garrett: She said that straight out?
Mr. Pollak: Yes. I never went to parties in Glencoe. I went to parties in my own little town,
but I accompanied her to the party and met Ruth and was very attracted to her.
We saw each other during that holiday and I returned to school. Ruth always
tells the story that she expected me to take her out on New Year’s Eve, and then
lo and behold I wasn’t there and didn’t call. I had returned for swimming
practice without even giving her a proper goodbye or telling her what’s what. I
wasn’t a very attentive suitor for the next couple of years, but I saw her at least
when I was home. And then, quite amusingly, after inviting a couple of
different women friends to Winter Carnival my senior year and being turned
down, on Sunday of the weekend before Winter Carnival, which began on
Thursday, I telephoned Ruth and asked her if she would come up. She knew it
– 30 –
was a late request and said, “Well, if I can find a ride, I’ll come, but otherwise I
won’t.” She found a ride, she came up and I fell in love with her and wrote her
every day until we married a year and a half later. I tried to become engaged to
her when I was leaving to go to Korea on my Navy ship, but she said, “No way,
I’m not going to go through my senior year engaged to some fellow who’s off in
the Far East.” So, she went through her senior year. And I came home from
Korea. She met me in Norfolk. We phoned her parents, said we wanted to be
married in 10 days, and we had a big wedding in Illinois.
I started all of this by talking about my education. I visited Ruth at Sarah
Lawrence a few times in the spring of 1950. Sarah Lawrence students did not
receive grades. The college kept a transcript, but the grades weren’t revealed
except when a student applied to graduate school. Rather, students received
constructively critical reports on their performance in each course they took. I
observed the education at Sarah Lawrence at close hand and thought it was
superior to what I was getting. The students were encouraged to learn rather
than to achieve good grades. And, of course, the students have greatly
achieved. Ruth has just completed twelve years as a trustee of her college. As a
result, I have a sense of the college today and it continues to be an amazing
school. Dartmouth is a very strong school as well. The chemistry for me at my
age didn’t allow me to maximize my opportunities at Dartmouth, although I did
very well. I was a junior Phi Beta Kappa and a successful athlete, but whether I
learned all that I could or got as much out of it as one could remains a question
– 31 –
for me. I suppose that’s not uncommon. I’m sure I had a lot of growing up to
Ms. Garrett: I think that’s part of the college experience. That’s what it’s designed to do.
Mr. Pollak: Me, too.
Ms. Garrett: You told in other places of how you came to attend Dartmouth, but I don’t think
that we’ve touched on that here.
Mr. Pollak: Going to Dartmouth was one of the fortuitous events of my life. My family
liked skiing and my parents taught me to ski at a young age. For some reason I
associated Dartmouth with skiing, and when I was 12 I wrote the college a letter
saying that I wanted to attend. I anticipated being a skier there. Of course there
were lots of years between 12 and college. Later, I applied formally to a
number of different colleges, including Dartmouth. Preparing the applications
was a very agonizing task, because it required a lot of introspection as to what
college should be. I wasn’t mature enough to be able to write the most
insightful answers as to what I expected. I then proceeded to drive east with my
friend Eugene Hotchkiss to visit colleges in the spring of my senior year. We
picked up Gene’s brother, Jim, who was attending Vermont Academy, and
visited a number of colleges. I remember visiting Yale and not liking it so
much but I can’t say why now. I remember visiting Williams. On the day we
visited Dartmouth, the acceptances had just gone out and the Hotchkiss boys
and I learned that all three of us had been accepted. All three of us concluded
right at that point that we would go to Dartmouth. That was how the decision
– 32 –
was made. Whether it was the herd instinct or what, I don’t know. The
Hotchkisses attended school in the class of 1950 along with their brother Frank,
who had returned from the War. So, there were three of them. The Hotchkiss
family did not have funds enough to send them all to school and pay the costs,
so the twins were committed to joining this Navy program for financial reasons.
I didn’t have to join the Navy program for financial reasons. My parents were
prepared to pay for my education, but perhaps having always thought I would
serve in the Navy, having seen pictures of my father in his Navy uniform and
seeing what the Hotchkisses were doing, I marched right along with them and
signed up. My father generously contributed to a bank account the money that
he was going to pay for my schooling, which then assisted Ruth and me in later
years. Those experiences had a tremendous influence on my life. They
influenced my selection of Yale Law School. They influenced how I spent my
summers during college and how I spent three years after college in the Navy
and all the experiences that came along with those decisions.
Ms. Garrett: If you had to do it again, would you make the same decisions − Dartmouth,
Mr. Pollak: For who I was at the time, those were good decisions. I think of myself then as
being personally – not politically – conservative. Yet, at the college I was
active in the recently-formed chapter of the National Student Association, which
was a student organization created after the War to pursue social causes and
social change. I went to its national convention. One of its planks was the
– 33 –
ending of discrimination in fraternities, which then, generally, had restrictive
clauses in their charters barring religious minorities, Catholics, Jews, and
certainly Blacks. I returned to Dartmouth and became a leader in seeking to
require the fraternities to remove clauses in their charters that required such
discrimination. That was surely swimming against the tide.
Ms. Garrett: How was that received?
Mr. Pollak: I don’t think I felt like a pariah, but there was substantial opposition. I began
something that led later to the College banning those clauses.
Ms. Garrett: What led you to attend the NSA convention?
Mr. Pollak: There was a chapter of NSA called the Northern New England National Student
Association. It had meetings in Boston. I attended those, became an officer of
the New England group I believe, and as a matter of course attended the
national convocation in 1949.
There are a couple of good stories about the NSA meeting in Madison,
Wisconsin. I was thrown in with many of the leaders of the organization. I
didn’t consider myself to be a national leader. As an officer of the Northern
New England Chapter, that may have brought me together with the national
leadership. Allard K. Lowenstein, later a congressman, was one of the leaders
and impressive. There were other very impressive young people. It was soon
after World War II and there were many issues. One experience reflects how
sheltered and narrow my experience had been. It also causes me to believe that
my college education and broadening experiences like NSA had a very
– 34 –
constructive effect. Even though there was a significant Jewish community in
my hometown, it was not unusual for people to tell dialect jokes. I went to this
convention in Madison and I remember meeting and being impressed with a
student leader from CCNY, City College of New York, who not only was
Jewish but his normal manner of speaking was in the dialect that had been used
in these jokes. That was an eye opener for me. I was well impressed with him.
His ideas were impressive. He was impressive. I never found anything
amusing about a dialect joke from that point on. I thought it was just making
fun at the expense of individuals whose homes and communities led them to
speak with that kind of accent and use of the language. That was a broadening
and formative experience. I met people that I continued to see and gained
friends that I consider closer friends than I had at college. Someone who is
active here in the bar in the District of Columbia and has had a distinguished
career, Berl Bernhard, was my friend at Dartmouth and was one year junior to
me. He was active in NSA and he picked up the antidiscrimination-fraternityclause
banner from me when I graduated. It may have been in his year that
positive steps were taken by the College. But I remember speaking to
Dartmouth’s Interfraternity Council on the subject. There’s a picture
somewhere in the class yearbook of that event. During my junior year, I spent
Thanksgiving with Berl and his family in New Jersey. I came down with the
stomach flu, and Berl went back to college, and Berl’s mother and sister took
care of me for a week afterwards.
– 35 –
Ms. Garrett: And where did he live?
Mr. Pollak: Across the Hudson River from New York.
Ms. Garrett: When did you get active in the NSA?
Mr. Pollak: It had to be my junior year. It was close to the inception of the organization.
Ms. Garrett: What drew you there? If the meetings were in Boston, it wasn’t something that
you would have idly stumbled upon?
Mr. Pollak: Someone from NSA came to campus for an organizing meeting and I attended.
It was the center of my social action in my time. John Dickey was president of
Dartmouth. He had come from the State Department and became president in
my freshman year. He had a significant influence on me. He commenced for
all seniors a course in “Great Issues.” He brought in major leaders in world
affairs, academic fields and poetry. I remember Robert Frost talking to us. So,
there was a lot of interest on the Dartmouth campus in social issues.
Ms. Garrett: McCarthyism was on the rise at that time. Was there any general awareness of
it on campus? Was that discussed at all?
Mr. Pollak: It was certainly discussed and there was an awareness of it. In the late 1940s
and 1950s there was certainly an attack on liberal organizations such as NSA.
And I felt no deterrence from those attacks. But it was some wind that was
blowing on the campuses. The common wisdom of social historians is that
students in the 1950s were being disengaged from social issues. My era was
Ms. Garrett: I think that’s right.
– 36 –
Mr. Pollak: I was benefited in college because there were many returned veterans and they
were concerned about current issues.
Ms. Garrett: An interesting group to attend college with?
Mr. Pollak: Yes. My law class had returned Korean War veterans, of which I was one, and
that made the law class a group with very rich backgrounds.
Ms. Garrett: Bringing a very different life experience to the table.
Mr. Pollak: Right.
Ms. Garrett: What about other political issues or events during the time you were in college?
Alger Hiss — did that make it onto anybody’s screen?
Mr. Pollak: Certainly. I was aware of his case and the cases of Harry Dexter White, Owen
Lattimore, and others. I considered the attacks on those persons unwarranted.
In some cases history has proved me right, and in some cases history has
apparently proved me wrong. I recall vividly Winston Churchill’s speech in
Missouri where he forecast the coming Cold War. I had considered Russia an
ally and was resistant to the idea that it was now the enemy of our country. I
was concerned with the limitations on speech that were pursued by the
government in the interest of fighting communism. That was a major issue for
me, but I don’t recall being concerned about it as much from the standpoint of
law as from the standpoint of policy and limitations on freedom.
Ms. Garrett: Did that concern take form in any action or articulation?
Mr. Pollak: I may have joined in NSA resolutions on the subject. I see myself as having
been concerned, but I don’t think I protested individually or wrote letters.
– 37 –
Ms. Garrett: Were there folks on your campus who were protesting?
Mr. Pollak: I think there were. I recall a couple that I met in NSA, who were attending
Harvard or were teaching assistants there, named Chan and Natasha Davis. I
think her name was actually Natalie. They were vocal opponents of the
limitations that government was pursuing. I was impressed with them and I
recall making some common cause with them. I may have engaged in social
action that I can’t now recall. They were on the left side of the issues. I was
undoubtedly on the left side, too, on the liberal side. I was a strident opponent
of McCarthy and all he stood for and those who stood with him.
I recall being active in opposing the Bricker Amendment. He was a
Senator from Ohio who was pressing a “know-nothing” amendment to the
Constitution, a piece of McCarthyism. One of my recollections of the coming
of age of the American Bar Association was that it took a position in opposition
to the Bricker Amendment, an unusual step for it then.
Ms. Garrett: What did you do at college besides study, swim and participate in NSA?
Mr. Pollak: One of the things I didn’t do is I never skied because skiing muscles weren’t
considered fit for swimming. There was also the risk actually of breaking
something, and I didn’t want to be out of swimming. I was active. I did
outdoor things. There was the Dartmouth Outing Club. I worked hard. I
studied a lot of the time and had some interactions with professors. I had
friends that I knocked around with and had dates taking me off the campus or
having some young woman up to Hanover. I remember that I had an old 1936
– 38 –
car that I drove from Illinois. I would drive off in it somewhere. My freshman
year I had a girlfriend from high school that went to Skidmore. I would often
drive over the mountains to Saratoga Springs. I remember the town Saratoga
Springs as very beautiful. That was a great time. I did the things that college
students do. It was a good time. My only competitive sport was swimming,
which took up the period from November through the end of March all my four
years. I was very committed to that. I remember taking French. There were, of
course, holidays. I would travel on the “sit-up” train back to Chicago, only
probably for Christmas.
Ms. Garrett: Thanksgiving you would spend at college?
Mr. Pollak: Right, or go away as I said, to Berl Bernhard’s. I had family in New York and I
would go down there. Mainly, I was up there in the middle of New Hampshire
and that’s where I stayed. It was a good place to be. It was a great move when
the college became coeducational. Going to school there with all men was not
as good as going to school in a coed situation.
Ms. Garrett: It was fairly controversial when it went coed?
Mr. Pollak: Yes. There are many Dartmouth alumni who never forgave President John
Kemeny for doing it. One of the things that burdened Dartmouth for many years
was that the alumni had very conservative viewpoints on the academics and
other things.
Ms. Garrett: Have you been involved in alumni activities since leaving Dartmouth?
– 39 –
Mr. Pollak: Way back I did some interviewing of candidates for admission. Later, for a
decade or so, I served as a member of the Native American Visiting Committee,
which was formed because John Kemeny in the 1970s undertook to make the
college more fully available to Native American students. Dartmouth had
originally been formed in part to educate Indians. In fact, very few attended, so
Kemeny admirably opened the college up through recruiting and encouraging
Native Americans to attend. They came and they had a difficult time. To help
make the College more accessible to Native American students, the Native
American Visiting Committee was formed. Its aim was to provide support for
Native American students, to advocate for them and to encourage and support
the program. I served on the Committee after I had served in the Civil Rights
Division of the United States Department of Justice. Later, I became its chair
for several years. We would meet two or three times a year in Hanover. I
considered that a constructive activity. One of the mentors of the program was
a gifted Native American professor on the campus, Michael Dorris who so
tragically committed suicide. I knew him well. He provided us with support
and insights to do what we were created to do. He was a wonderful man. I
can’t imagine what led him to take his life.
I have two sons. Both chose to go to Dartmouth. I never encouraged
them to go there. My son David, who is the elder, was active in the theater and
the theater people at Dartmouth became his group. He loved Dartmouth, had a
good time there, got a very good education. His brother Roger followed him
– 40 –
there, but never liked it. He said Dartmouth was full of persons with great
academic potential but no interest in academics. He took a lot of time off,
working on Capitol Hill here in Washington and with environmental groups and
doing various things. Then after his first two academic years were completed,
perhaps in three years, he transferred to Berkeley. He loved Berkeley, met his
future wife there and was much more satisfied. My connections with
Dartmouth were closer when the boys were there and then I was doing this
Native American Committee work. I’ve never been active as an alumni person.
It’s not my cup of tea. I’ve been interested and active in the Yale Law School.
I’m just closer to my law class.
Ms. Garrett: And why do you think that is? More in common? More shared experiences or
Mr. Pollak: Yes. By the time I got to law school, I had been married for a couple of years.
Looking back, I still suffered from the “grind” syndrome. I worked very hard at
law school. I think I was much more open to learning and having a more
fulfilling educational experience. I was drawn to my classmates with whom I
shared the experience. I was active on the Law Journal and then elected an
officer. I was close friends with several of the officers. We shared interests in
law matters and generally in public service, which was high on my agenda. One
of my college and law school classmates was a close friend from Dartmouth,
Robert Sisk. Bob was in the Navy program. He was a swimmer. He remains a
close friend. Bob is a wonderful story. He was co-head of the radio station at
– 41 –
Dartmouth. He has a very deep and sonorous voice. He was well spoken. That
aided him in becoming a very fine trial lawyer. He became head of the Hughes
Hubbard law firm in New York. During college, I visited Bob at his home in
West Hartford, Connecticut. He introduced me to a girl, Arlene Greenberg. It
was she who turned me down, leading me to invite Ruth to the Winter Carnival
in February 1950. Bob was one of three children — two boys, he being one, and
a sister. His father was a butcher. The family name was Sisitsky. Bob is a
great story of a likely second generation American who made it big. His mother
was a strong and inspiring person. It turned out that Mike Heyman and Berl
Bernhard from Dartmouth were also with me at Yale Law. There were many
really talented and interesting people at the Law School in my class. Arlen
Specter, the Senator, was a classmate. Jon Newman, who became Chief Judge
of the Second Circuit, was a classmate. Norb Schlei, who was an Assistant
Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S.
Department of Justice during the Kennedy years, was the editor-in-chief of the
Journal and the star of the class. He and I had known each other in the Navy.
So I had a lot of good colleagues at the Law School. I had good associations
with the professors who, even though it was a time of great change at the Law
School, were very strong. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have gone to
the Yale Law School. The relationships with colleagues there, professors there,
people who have gone there, are undoubtedly the most determinative
relationships of my professional life.
– 42 –
Ms. Garrett: I would like to pick up more on Law School and touch on your time in the Navy
at the next session.
Mr. Pollak: In my college senior year, at graduation, the Hotchkiss’ uncle, George Kennan,
gave the graduation address. While we were in college, he had written the great
Mr. “X” article that originated the containment policy as a way of dealing with
Russia. The Hotchkisses referred to him then and now as “Uncle George” and
Uncle George talked with the Hotchkisses at graduation. I don’t think I was
present, but they often quoted him to me. He spoke to them about their
upcoming military service. “If you make a career in the military and rise to the
top, and the best people do rise to the top in the military, there are great
opportunities for public service thereafter,” he said. I believe he mentioned
Admiral Kirk, who was then Ambassador to Moscow, as an example. In
thinking about whether I would make a career of the Navy, I thought about his
statement. While there were a great many useful experiences in the Navy, I
found sea duty as a junior officer, which was what I had, generally boring and
not sufficiently fulfilling to consider making the Navy a career.
– 43 –
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Third Interview-November 14, 2002
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project for the
Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewee is Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is Katia Garrett. The interview took place at the Shea & Gardner law firm at
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, in the District of Columbia on Monday, November 14, 2002, at
10:00 a.m. This is the third interview.
Ms. Garrett: We left off the last time finishing up with your college career. You talked a little
bit about graduation, and we spent some time talking about your time in college.
I thought we’d talk initially about your naval service, both during the summers
and then, after we discuss that some, move into what happened next, law school,
marriage, kids, and the beginning of your legal career.
Mr. Pollak: I don’t know how much my naval service is of any interest to an oral history,
except perhaps as it reflects the United States at midcentury and the role of the
military in the lives of persons who are truly part of the civilian population. I
went to sea each summer, 1947, 1948 and 1949, as a midshipman. My ships were
a cruiser the first summer, the U.S.S. Oregon City, the second summer I served on
the U.S.S. Boxer, a large aircraft carrier, and the last summer I served on a
destroyer, U.S.S. Frank Knox. The Boxer and the destroyer service were in the
Pacific. I remember going on the destroyer to the Galapagos Islands. I remember
going to Hawaii. The first summer on the Oregon City we went to several
different locations in the Caribbean. It was very hot. That was shortly after the
conclusion of World War II. The Navy properly foresaw that Annapolis could not
serve all of its needs for officers and began what was called the Holloway Plan,
– 44 –
named for the Chief of Naval Personnel at the time, Admiral Holloway, that put
NROTC chapters at fifty-two colleges. Commencing in 1946, each college
brought in a group of male students to be officer candidates. I was one of those at
Dartmouth. The commitment was for fifteen months to two years of active duty
service after graduation, as well as summers on active duty. In return, the
government paid tuition and, as I recall, books plus a stipend of $50 per month.
Because of the Korean War, President Truman extended our required service to a
third year. I served three years exactly to the day from June 11, 1950 to June 11,
1953. We also were obliged to take one Navy course each semester, making that
one-fifth of my college program. I thought those classes were mostly a waste of
time and wasted my opportunity to take other courses that would have served the
Navy better and me better. I don’t regret having committed to the Navy
obligation at college because overall it was a worthwhile experience. I thought
the Navy was ill prepared to handle the large influx of several thousand
midshipmen the summer of 1947. It was better able to do so the following two
summers. It had never had that complement of young midshipmen before.
Young enlisted personnel had authority over us as midshipmen and a few of them
were sadistic in giving us orders. A very few did dumb things and others didn’t
know how to handle their responsibilities, but many did. The entire experience as
a midshipman certainly introduced me to sea duty and the military hierarchy and
made me more ready for my commission and active duty.
– 45 –
North Korea invaded the South almost at the very time I was
commissioned in June 1950. I reported to my ship, the U.S.S. Borie, DD-704, a
Sumner Class destroyer, in Alexandria, Virginia, on July Fourth. The ship had
come up to Washington, D.C., for the celebration of the Fourth of July. I was
proud to be commissioned in the United States Navy. I wasn’t a reservist. The
ship had perhaps something under 20 officers and 300 enlisted men. Commander
Merle Bowman, an outstanding officer, was its captain and Lt. Cdr. John M.
Montgomery, who was a member later of the D.C. Bar, was the executive officer.
It had a good complement of officers and men. I enjoyed serving on the Borie for
almost two years. In September 1950, our division, DesDiv 161, was ordered to
travel through the Panama Canal and over to Korea. We did so, arriving at the
eastern end of the battle line in Korea, I think, on or about October 18, 1950. We
remained at sea providing shore bombardment on call from land spotters and
airplane spotters from October to just after Christmas. We were part of the naval
force that provided close support for the evacuation of the American troops that
were in retreat from the Chongjin Reservoir following China’s entry into the war.
They retreated south to a harbor called Hungnam, and on Christmas Eve Day, the
last of them were offloaded onto transports, protected by a shrinking perimeter of
military artillery and naval support. On the morning of the final day — we, the
Borie was one of the Navy vessels located close in, perhaps 100-200 yards from
the shore, to provide gunnery support to hold off the opposing forces — all of us
on the ship thought that as the perimeter shrank down to the harbor, we would be
– 46 –
subject to fire from the shore. Amazingly, there was none. All the troops got on
board merchant ships and sailed away without incident. We then moved with the
troops to Sasebo, Japan, for our first short liberty since coming to Korean waters.
For us on the Borie, Korea was mostly a benign experience, although a
demanding one. We stood watches, one in three, which meant at most eight hours
off, four hours on, day in, day out. There was some danger from mines that were
floating around. About the time we arrived, one had hit an American destroyer,
the U.S.S. Kidd, and caused a lot of damage and some deaths. The main naval
involvement in the war, besides ships bombarding, was the pilots, who did a lot of
flying off carriers steaming perhaps 20 to 50 miles off the coast. There was
virtually no ground fire against the planes, no air power from North Korea or
China that I recall. My ship was fired on only once from the shore when we
accompanied a cruiser, the U.S.S. St. Paul, to provide close in shore bombardment
near Wonsan. There was firing against the cruiser and against us, but it was of a
very modest and seemingly innocent nature. The shells just dropped in the water.
Yet, it was a full war experience. I have photos of the ship with the focsule, that’s
the forward deck of the ship, full of mounds of 5-inch shell casings, which
reflected a night’s firing on shore. We never knew whether anything was hit. We
could look ashore — sometimes we were as close as a couple of thousand yards —
and see Korean farmers tilling their land with those then-famous stovepipe black
hats on their heads, all very pastoral looking. I don’t recall seeing any military
personnel on land.
– 47 –
Ms. Garrett: It must have been a very removed experience.
Mr. Pollak: It was. We provisioned and fueled by going out to sea and running alongside
tankers and provision ships or tying up to them and receiving fuel and provisions.
All officers had various duties. One of mine was being the movie officer. I
would go to the large aircraft carriers when we went out to where they operated
and get a big stack of films. Movies were shown every night at 8 o’clock in the
mess hall. I think I was the U.S. mail officer. Every two weeks or so we would
go out for provisions and receive two weeks’ worth of mail. Of course,
everybody was interested in mail call. I had endeavored to convince Ruth, she’s
now my wife, to become engaged before I left for Korea, but she refused. I wrote
her every day using a little Royal portable typewriter and still have those letters in
my attic. I’ve never had the courage to read them. She saved them and I, hers.
She wrote me almost every day, and I would get her letters in packages of two
weeks’ worth. I read them avidly. I could read between the lines that she was
having a gay time in her life as a college student near New York City, doing lots
of things, going out and about. I was very worried that she would find someone
else. When my ship returned to the States from Korea, I telephoned Ruth from
San Diego. We talked a long time, of course, and I can recall thinking what a vast
expenditure it was to pay the cost of the call, which, I think, was $13.60. Another
vignette: I was tremendously anxious to get home to see her. When we were
going through the Panama Canal, I was having lunch in the wardroom. Down
came one of the officers who had been on duty in the communications center, all
– 48 –
of our communications were by radio and teletype. He came in and said he had a
communication for me. It was letter orders to “proceed and detach from Colon,
Panama,” which was the Atlantic side of the Canal, and report immediately for
duty in London. Here I was expecting Ruth to meet me in Norfolk. My face fell
from where it was onto green felt table cloth. The captain, who was in on the gag,
couldn’t stand it for long and soon said that it was all a hoax. So, I did get home
with the ship. When I came back to Norfolk, Virginia, in June of 1951, she had
driven there to meet me. The ship came in with bunting flying. All the families
were there, and Ruth was there. We immediately telephoned our families and
said we wanted to be married and were married two weeks later at her home in
Glencoe, Illinois.
Ms. Garrett: That’s a happy ending clearly to that service. But, then there were two years that
remained in naval service. Was it active duty?
Mr. Pollak: That’s right. The destroyer went into the “yard” in Charleston, South Carolina,
for refitting. I saw what I’d never seen before, hard edged segregation, drinking
fountains in the U.S. yard, saying white and colored and segregated bathrooms,
the whole nine yards of what race was in the South. After being in the yard, the
destroyer had sea trials and went to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I remember going
ashore to the Officers’ Club at Guantanamo Bay where a bottle of Scotch cost less
than a dollar. The ship then operated out of Norfolk. When the ship moved, Ruth
and I moved our home. We lived in 16 different apartments in nine different
cities in a year. On arrival, Ruth would go to naval housing at the new location
– 49 –
and identify apartments for rent by the week and we would rent one that day. I
attended sonar school in Key West, Florida. For three weeks we moved there.
We lived in Newport, Rhode Island, in Portsmouth, Virginia, and Norfolk. It was
an interesting time. My naval responsibilities on the destroyer were not as taxing
because we spent less time at sea. I qualified in Korea as an Officer of the Deck,
which meant that when we were at sea, I would stand watch and have command
of the ship, with the captain of course, having the ultimate responsibility.
When the Borie was in the Navy yard in Charleston, South Carolina, we
lived on the Battery, lower King Street, which is a beautiful area. Fort Sumter is
just off the shore there. It was fall or winter 1951, Ruth volunteered and turned
out for a meeting of the Democratic Party. They immediately wanted to make her
treasurer. Not many people attended. I think she declined, but she observed quite
a bit about what the Democratic Party was in South Carolina, which was a very
conservative Democratic Party. Living in Charleston was enjoyable. One of my
college classmates was also there in the Navy.
Ms. Garrett: Which classmate was that?
Mr. Pollak: Jim Hotchkiss and his wife Nancy. We shared their apartment which was in
former slave quarters behind one of the mansions on King Street. An element of
segregation was just out the side window. There was a fence along the side of the
house and over the fence, right there on the Battery, were rundown homes in
which black families were living. The black families had no running water and
drew their water from a well even though the house that we were in right over the
– 50 –
fence had full running water. We could hear them drawing their water from the
In the summer of 1952, I was assigned to Mine Warfare School at
Yorktown, Virginia, and attended that school for a couple of months. On
graduation, I was assigned to a minesweeper, the U.S.S. Grackle (AMS-13). By
then I was a Lt. Junior Grade. The Grackle was a training ship stationed at
Yorktown. We took students out to sea and trained them in using minesweeping
gear. Ruth and I lived in Williamsburg and she worked for Phi Beta Kappa on the
William and Mary campus. The minesweeper had four officers and about 40
men. I generally had “duty” two days, meaning 24 hours on the ship, and on the
third day, I had the night off. Life was good.
Ruth and I experienced the election of 1952 in Williamsburg. We
attended an election night party where most of those present were favorable to
General Eisenhower, who was running against Adlai Stevenson; and as history
knows, Eisenhower won. We thought the evening was a downer because
Stevenson lost.
Ms. Garrett: Tell me a little more about your experiences with segregation in South Carolina.
It was the first time you lived in a community where there was segregation?
Mr. Pollak: Yes. I don’t recall comparable incidents of segregation in Yorktown or
Williamsburg. I’m sure they were there because we were living there in a time of
segregated schools. I can’t comment on segregation, for instance, in movie
theaters. I don’t recall going to the movies. I don’t remember much more than
– 51 –
the incidents I saw in the Navy yard. Other elements of segregation were hotels,
restaurants and schools, and I wasn’t going to the schools. I don’t recall going to
Ms. Garrett: Was the Navy integrated at that point?
Mr. Pollak: The Navy was not well integrated, but President Truman had desegregated the
Armed Forces and Judge Gesell, then a lawyer with Covington & Burling, was a
major leader in that, heading or directing the Commission that did the work
leading to the decision. Most Blacks in the Navy were mess cooks, which meant
they handled all the cooking and serving. We had a small number on the
destroyer of line seamen who were Blacks. I recall both acceptance and rejection
of those minority members by other seamen. One experience that does stick in
my mind reflects rather positive attitudes about ethnic and racial differences. The
minesweeper traveled through the Inland Waterway to be overhauled at a
shipyard in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, in the fall of 1952 or spring of 1953.
The Grackle was small enough that it was taken completely out of the water into a
dry dock and the hull was scraped – it was a wooden ship – and then it was
repainted, red leaded, which is protective, and then painted gray. First, all of the
paint was chipped off. That work was done by members of the crew and they
were a mixed racial and ethnic group. As they began repainting, they painted on
the hull a number of terms which are considered racial and ethnic slurs. The only
ones I remember are “spick” and “wop.” The painting was done by minorities
– 52 –
who were part of the crew. As the whole hull was repainted, the terms were
painted over. The seamen seemed to use those terms in a good-natured way.
Ms. Garrett: What an interesting story.
Mr. Pollak: The first captain of my minesweeper was from Charleston. He was prejudiced
against Blacks. Four officers lived very close together. A minesweeper is a very
small vessel. He was constantly telling terrible stories, which had racial aspects
and his political views were also very unacceptable to me.
When I was on the destroyer, particularly in Korea, standing night watches
on the bridge as an officer of the deck or junior officer of the deck, the ship was
often either at anchor providing shore bombardment support or cruising up and
down the coast. We had four-hour watches, like from midnight to 4 a.m., and
there would be the officer of the deck, the junior officer of the deck, a helmsman,
a quartermaster keeping the log, and two lookouts, who stood at the side and
looked out with binoculars. All but the officer of the deck and junior officer of
the deck were enlisted men. The backgrounds of these individuals were all very
different. One of the officers with whom I stood watch, Lt. Jacob Smith, was a
“mustang,” an enlisted man who had become an officer. His background was
quite different than mine.
Ms. Garrett: A mustang, it’s called?
Mr. Pollak: Yes. A mustang is an enlisted man who becomes an officer, not through
Annapolis, but by receiving a commission in the field. Jake Smith was a very
good officer. He had been at Pearl Harbor. He was older than I was. I learned a
– 53 –
lot from him. One of the subjects that was open to all and in which these men
from diverse backgrounds and of diverse ages had experiences they could
exchange was the movies. So we talked a lot about movies because that was a
currency that could be discussed equally by all these men from diverse
backgrounds. I don’t believe that I ever openly talked about being Jewish. I do
not know that anyone on the ship was Jewish other than me, and that’s about 330
people. I had the perception that many people who were my friends were
prejudiced against Jews.
Ms. Garrett: So, nobody knew that you were Jewish?
Mr. Pollak: I do not know. Maybe they all knew I was Jewish.
Ms. Garrett: How did you handle Christmas holidays, then?
Mr. Pollak: My family had celebrated Christmas. I wasn’t particularly religious, so it really
never came up. In the first year when we were in Korea, we were all engaged in
this evacuation at Hungnam and nobody paid particular attention to what day it
was. I don’t think my way of dealing with religion was particularly forthright.
Ms. Garrett: But, not uncommon, I think, the approach that you took.
Mr. Pollak: I wanted to belong and wanted to be one of the group.
Ms. Garrett: Now, Ruth’s family was more —
Mr. Pollak: Ruth’s grandfather on her father’s side was the head orthodox rabbi of Wisconsin.
Her parents had a feeling that any Jews who had a Christmas tree – that was a
very bad thing. Her family was not particularly religious, but they celebrated all
the Jewish holidays and had the best of the traditions. Ruth had a more Jewish
– 54 –
upbringing and was more at home with her Jewishness and I was. Ruth has said
to me that the rabbi’s five children were essentially atheists rather than real
believers, but they all were ethnically Jewish. That was somewhat different from
my family. Her family came from Eastern Europe, my parents’ families came
from Germany and Austria. Perhaps that was the difference.
Ms. Garrett: Interesting. Was it a source of tension between you and Ruth at all when you
were starting your marriage?
Mr. Pollak: Our only tension was over Christmas. For a number of years, maybe through the
childhood of our children, we celebrated both Chanukah and Christmas. It was
difficult to wean me away from Christmas, but slowly but surely I was.
Ms. Garrett: Interesting. For a number of people their experience in the military is often
described as very formative, establishing key aspects of their character or goals.
For you, what did you take away from your experience in the Navy, and was it
such a formative experience in that core way?
Mr. Pollak: I’ve often puzzled about that. I don’t think it was a core experience for me, but I
may underestimate it. I must have gained a feeling inside of myself that I could
navigate and get along through any kind of situation, an inner core of confidence
that I would be equal to whatever physical demands were made on me, that I
wasn’t afraid of danger, or at least that I wasn’t unable to function in a dangerous
situation; that I could make my way with people; that I could learn new tasks; that
I could travel wherever I might be called on to go and find it easy. Those must be
experiences and learnings that I took away from the Navy, but I didn’t come out
– 55 –
of the Navy experience feeling much different about myself than when I went in.
That’s a function of the nature of the human being that I am. I face challenges
with a feeling that I can’t really do that and then I always can do it. Generally, I
approach challenges feeling, “Gosh, I’ll never be able to accomplish that.” I don’t
think the Navy changed that, although it must have laid an inner foundation of
confidence. It’s a conflicting picture.
I had so many different experiences in those Navy years. In 1951, I took
the train with other officers from the naval base at Sasebo, and visited Nagasaki.
I took photos and I have them. All that I can recall is the breadth of the
devastation and some feeling of disbelief that this could even have occurred. I
juxtapose that experience with a visit on the way in to Korea. The ship stopped at
the harbor that serves Tokyo, Yokosuka. I visited Tokyo then and again on the
way back home. Tokyo was then (1950-51) a thriving, colorful, essentially intact
major urban area, very much different than Sasebo, which I couldn’t see was
damaged but was more a minor city, and very much different from Nagasaki,
which had been destroyed.
Ms. Garrett: We were talking about your experience in Japan and in particular Nagasaki. You
saw sort of at a very personal and direct level the devastation that many people in
the country only heard about and yet it affected some people very deeply in their
sense of their place in the world and their country’s place in the world. Did you
carry something like that away from your experience at Nagasaki or is it difficult
at this point to quantify that?
– 56 –
Mr. Pollak: I would like to answer it by saying that it was a life affecting experience, but I
don’t know that I can say that. These experiences seeing the devastation of World
War II and then participating in this sort of detached way in the Korean War were
more like being an observer rather than a participant. In Korea, the Borie and the
other destroyers in our division went around on assignment to Inchon on the west
coast, where General MacArthur had invaded in a successful maneuver, helpful to
the Allied Forces, the UN forces. I interrupt myself to say that one thing that was
impressive to me, that I took pride in, was that we were part of the UN force in
Korea and we flew, and all the ships flew, the UN flag as well as the US flag.
That meant a lot to me.
Inchon, I was told, has the largest tide change daily of almost anyplace on
the globe. Sixty feet in the harbor. When we sailed into or out of Inchon harbor,
the tide was out, mud flats were on both sides and we were in a rather narrow
channel. There were all these landing craft that had been sunk during the invasion
that were still resting on the mud beside the channel, US craft. I reacted to seeing
that and thinking back to when people were riding in those craft as part of the
amphibious force attacking Inchon. The whole naval experience did not change
the views I entered the military with, which were formulated by the need I saw for
entering World War II and opposing Nazism and the scourges of Japan. It didn’t
change my view that use of the military to maintain or seek freedom or to
challenge imperialistic aggressors is necessary. So I think the experience
probably influenced me in that direction. Later, when the Vietnam War was
– 57 –
presented as a war to prevent the “fall of the dominos,” I accepted that for a long
time. And I differed from friends who much, much earlier saw it as the mistake
that it turned out to be.
Ms. Garrett: That must have led to some interesting discussions with friends.
Mr. Pollak: It did. I consider myself to have been slow in coming to that conclusion. I
believed we shouldn’t sit idle as a nation when there was aggressive communism
or imperialistic communism pursing its objectives. As it turned out, that was not
what was going on in Vietnam.
Ms. Garrett: What ultimately changed your opinion about Vietnam?
Mr. Pollak: I came to the change of opinion late and consider that a mistake. My good friends
at the time included Paul and Jenny Moore. He was then the Suffragan Bishop of
Washington. They were very strongly against the war in Vietnam and marched
and participated in vigils. William Sloane Coffin, also an Episcopal priest, came
to their home. He was one of the leaders of the peace movement. My views were
changing. I was part of activist arms of the government, but being part of an
activist arm of government is a very sheltered way of being an activist. I never
had any reluctance to be that. I wanted to do that. But one can be much more
risky in being an activist and I admire people who are.
Ms. Garrett: That’s interesting. What did you think of all the war protests and marches going
on and efforts even in the legal communities to support those who were opposing
the Vietnam War?
– 58 –
Mr. Pollak: I thought that they were quite proper insofar as they were nonviolent. I did not
approve of violent activities. The level of violent activities was very limited. I
remember there was an activity or group that supported a mass antiwar effort in
Washington called the Mobe or New Mobe. That was shorthand for mobilization
against the war or the anti-Vietnam mobilization. Those protests were a precursor
of the World Bank oppositions of today. I disapproved of efforts to interfere with
traffic, throw around garbage cans, and similar techniques. That marks me as a
centrist about behavior. Yet, those efforts are to be admired in making the nation
come to its senses about what it was doing. The nation owes a debt to those
people. One of the groups included lawyers who had come from backgrounds
like my own, the Institute for Policy Studies, Marcus Raskin, Richard Gardner.
Both are still active. They were doing a lot of thinking about oppositional
activities as well as research and scholarly efforts to show the error of the nation’s
Ms. Garrett: Hindsight. We sort of skipped a couple of decades there in our conversation and I
want to pick up on it again. We left you in the Navy and we haven’t gotten you
out of the Navy yet. Did you think about making a career in the Navy at all or
were you happy to get down and out the door?
Mr. Pollak: In the main, I thought sea duty was generally boring. You had little time to
yourself. If you were at sea, every night you had to stand watch. Of every twelve
hours, you were on duty for four. Each night you either had a watch from eight to
twelve or twelve to four or four to eight. Then you had work activities as well as
– 59 –
a watch during the day. There was very little time for reading, almost none.
There was really no useful place, congenial place to do any reading. Life was
very limited.
The human beings I was with were interesting. I was interested to learn
about their lives, and I learned a great deal in that respect. But I never wanted to
make it a career. Never, never harbored the idea.
For some reason, I considered becoming a part of the submarine service. I
always wanted to do that. I went down on a submarine a couple of times. Two of
the officers that were on the Borie in Korea joined the submarine service and left
the ship. I considered applying and thought I would certainly get in, but you had
to sign over for more time and I was unprepared to do that. George Kennan, who
was the State Department thinker and uncle of my friends the Hotchkisses,
counsel us: “A military career could be a very good thing if you stayed long
enough and rose high enough.” I didn’t want to do it and I thought it was also
chance. If I really wanted to make it a career, I would have tried to go to
Ms. Garrett: Right.
Mr. Pollak: My father had been an Ensign in the United States Navy in World War I. He was
selected number five on a list for attendance at Annapolis. The first two died in
the influenza epidemic of 1917. The next two attended. He missed by one. So I
often thought of going to Annapolis. I’m glad I served in the Navy. I am proud
of doing so, but I never wanted to make it a career and as my time winded down, I
– 60 –
began thinking about what I was going to do. As I’ve recounted, I applied to Yale
Law School and took the LSAT at the University of Richmond in Richmond,
Virginia. I found that I scored in the 92nd percentile. I took the test with Norbert
Schlei who became my close friend when we attended Yale together. He was also
in the Navy. When I mustered out of the Navy on June 11, 1953, I happened to
be in line with Norb. We hadn’t seen each other since taking the LSATs. I said
to him, “So, what are you going to do?” He said, “I’m going to Yale Law.” I
said, “Well, so am I.” He said, “Well, so how did you do on the LSATs?” I
thought I had done fabulously well and I was very reluctant to tell him how well I
had done out of a human concern that he might have done less well. Before I
could answer him, he said, “Well, I scored in the 99th percentile.” He had an
eidetic memory and became the editor-in-chief of the Law Journal and graduated
number one in our class. Of course, he was quite matter-of-fact about his
I got out of the Navy in 1953 and Ruth and I went on a delayed
honeymoon to France and Italy during July to September, a wonderful trip. We
studied French at a University of Bordeaux program in Pau, France, and then
traveled around France and Italy in a little car. Then I came back to Yale. Ruth
was pregnant and we had our first child in May 1954, when I was taking my
exams. While Ruth was in the hospital in labor I took my “Business Units” exam,
a great course taught by Vern Countryman. I got a “C” which was the lowest
grade I ever got. I went to talk to the professor. I said I thought I did well. He
– 61 –
said, “You wrote a great answer to the second part, but you answered a different
question than was asked.” I think my mind was back at the hospital.
Ms. Garrett: That’s a funny story, but it’s very difficult to take an exam while your wife is in
labor, I imagine. Who was your first child?
Mr. Pollak: Linda.
Ms. Garrett: Linda.
Mr. Pollak: Linda Jan Pollak. She’s an architect practicing in New York. Well, I didn’t have
a particularly successful first semester. I had had no legal experience. Much as
I’d taken constitutional law at Dartmouth, it didn’t seem to penetrate. I was
confused in my first year by the terminology. It seems funny now, but the case
books, for instance the civil procedure case book, for a course taught by the great
Fleming James, had all of these court opinions that were truncated to highlight the
procedural issue. I was mystified reading the cases which seemed always to stop
before getting to the substantive point. I can remember reading them to Ruth,
saying “What’s going on here? Why doesn’t this case tell me what the outcome
is?” I had a lot to learn. I did considerably better my second semester. My third
and fourth semesters, I got the highest grades in the class, so I was proud of that.
My memory of law school is of working all the time.
Ms. Garrett: It is a common memory, I think. How did you manage that with a baby and a
wife? And then a second child?
Mr. Pollak: Our second child came in January of my third year. I’ve got to admit that the
accepted practice then was that the man in the marriage did all of this outside
– 62 –
activity – my work was studying – and the woman kept the home and raised the
children. Now I participated but primacy was given to the law school
Ms. Garrett: This baby in the house who was not sleeping at night. How did you manage with
Mr. Pollak: I can recall that there were times of that nature. I can also recall working on the
Law Journal late into the night or into the morning studying. The physical
capabilities of young people are strong and all that just rolls off your back. I have
a regret for being the kind of person I am which is that I consider I have to work
very hard to get to the level of achievement I mark out for myself. So I sacrificed
a lot of the experience I would have had had I spent more time with the family.
Insofar as there were demands working on the Law Journal, and there certainly
were, I responded to them by devoting a great deal of my time to those activities.
Some of my anticipations were that unless I put in extra efforts, I would fade, and
I never wanted to do that.
Ms. Garrett: And never did.
Mr. Pollak: My perception is that that carried on through the younger lives of my children,
devoting more of my time to work than to them. That was sort of expected of
fathers. It is less so today and families and fathers are the beneficiaries. It is not
completely gone.
Ms. Garrett: No, it’s not. Either expectations of what fathers should be doing by their
employers or by their spouses. It is a constant tension.
– 63 –
Mr. Pollak: Yes. I think if my wife Ruth were asked she would say that she gave up a lot and
had she been of a different generation she would have said to me more times
perhaps than she did, “Look we have to have a different arrangement here.
You’re making a big mistake and you’re losing for it. You should be part of your
children’s lives to a much greater extent.” Because she handled those things.
Ms. Garrett: It was her job.
Mr. Pollak: Right. Schooling, housing, summer camps, working it all out. She worked it out
Ms. Garrett: I want to talk to you about your classmates, your professors.
Mr. Pollak: Let’s talk about my classmates. A good number of us were veterans. A good
number of us had had experiences after college and that made for a law school
class that was more mature and more diverse in background. That was a great
strength. Many of my friends were of that stripe and they became close friends at
law school. Many were married. Their wives became close family friends. That
made for a richness and a strength of my law class. My law class was not diverse
in two respects. It had only four women out of about 125 and it had only two
blacks, the Goodlet brothers, twins. I regret to say that both of them left early.
Possibly they left because their grades were not strong enough, but I’m not sure of
that. I think that the Law School and we as classmates were considerably
uninformed about how to make the Law School a good experience for minorities
of different backgrounds and preparation. That those two young men got into the
law school, marked them as candidates who would have been wonderful
– 64 –
participants at the bar. Somehow we all should have been smarter so that they
could have remained.
The women in the class performed well and had good careers after but
were not among the most distinguished members of the class in terms of
achievement and leadership. I don’t suggest that that was due to their capabilities
being less. They made it in a difficult climate. The leaders of the class were
primarily those who bobbed to the top of the Law Journal, which you got on by
your grades. The grades were I think in general deserved. That is, they weren’t
handed out other than on some reasonable scale of performance. On the other
hand, many members of the class who were not at the top academically went on to
have very significant careers as lawyers, so grades didn’t mark only those who
would be good lawyers.
The class ahead of us was a good class. It was a much younger class
because the Korean War vets came back in my class. Many of the leaders of the
class ahead became my close friends. One is Jerome Cohen, who has become the
academic world leader on Chinese-Communist law. He trained and introduced a
generation of scholars to that subject. Virtually all of the current law school
leaders in that field were trained by him. He was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal
for the class ahead of me. My partner Bill Dempsey was a Note and Comment
Editor in that class and the most brilliant lawyer I’ve known. In my class there
was Norb Schlei. He went on to be Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the
Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice in the early 1960s. He
– 65 –
was a partner at the Hughes Hubbard law firm and has had a distinguished career.
Norb was the most brilliant member of our class, certainly one we all thought was
qualified to be President. He never achieved an elected office, although he ran for
Secretary of State of California and for Congress. My classmate Jon O. Newman,
who was a Note and Comment Editor, has had a wonderful career and is still a
Senior Judge on the Second Circuit. Arlen Specter was a member of the editorial
board of the Journal. I edited his senior comment which was on various issues
relating to imprisonment and probation. Arlen, of course, is a long-time Senator
from Pennsylvania. David Isbell, a partner at Covington & Burling, Articles
Editor of the Journal, served as a senior leader on the staff of the Commission on
Civil Rights during the late 1950s. He was and is a very able lawyer and
wonderful writer. Another senior leader of the Journal was Gerald Doppelt. He
became a partner in a west coast San Francisco law firm and then I believe
general counsel of an oil company. The other Note and Comment Editor was
Richard Pershan. He became an estates lawyer in New York City. The most
energizing members of the Law Journal staff were Schlei, Newman and Isbell. I
was the Managing Editor.
Working on the Law Journal was the great experience of my law
education, but the classes were a strong second. I had great professors, although
the law school was in a time of transition and many of the older professors were
moving on. Eugene Rostow, who was the third dean of my law school years, was
in the process of repopulating the law faculty.
– 66 –
Ms. Garrett: Who were some of the professors who made an impact on your legal education?
Mr. Pollak: Fritz Kessler, my contracts professor, a wonderful professor in the great tradition.
Harry Shulman who became dean. He taught me torts. Myers McDougal was an
outstanding international law professor. He suggested the topic for my senior
comment — the constitutionality of the Expatriation Act of 1964, which removed
citizenship from persons convicted of Smith Act crimes. The Smith Act
prohibited seditious activity and was focused on communists. I spent a great part
of my second year researching and writing this comment which concluded that
taking away citizenship and making an individual stateless as a punishment for
crime was cruel and unusual and unconstitutional. The Eighth Amendment had
been very seldomly used. The comment set out all the legal history. Less than a
year after I graduated from law school, a case called Trop v. Dulles [356 U.S. 86
(1958)] came to the Supreme Court raising the issue I had addressed in the
comment, not over the Smith Act, but over one of the other expatriation
provisions of the Nationality Act of 1940. The Supreme Court adopted my
theories and struck the provision down as unconstitutional on grounds that it was
a cruel and unusual punishment.
Ms. Garrett: And cited your comment?
Mr. Pollak: Right. That was the big deal for me. Now my classmate Jon Newman was then
Chief Justice Earl Warren’s law clerk and that may have had something to do with
it. It was very rewarding. The comment was quite different from my note,
– 67 –
written earlier, on the validity of the Third Avenue Elevated bonds in New York
Ms. Garrett: The note didn’t have quite the reception.
Mr. Pollak: No.
Ms. Garrett: You mentioned that your classmate Newman clerked. Did you ever think of
clerking after law school?
Mr. Pollak: I did apply. I had two children. I applied to Justice Reed and Justice Clark.
Those were the justices that the law school suggested. I remember going to Judge
Jerome Frank for a recommendation. I took his course in Equity. He was a great
judge on the Second Circuit and a great man. When I went to him for a
recommendation, he said, “Well you write it and I’ll sign it.” That was agony. I
just didn’t know what to do. I’m sure Ruth helped me. I interviewed with those
justices and I didn’t get an offer from either. My now close friend John Nolan,
who was then clerking for Tom Clark, told me much later that he and his co-clerk
strongly recommended me and that I was the third choice, the two who got it and
then me. My family knew D.C. Circuit Judge David Bazelon. I had a lot of
principles, many of which I think were sort of juvenile. I did not apply to
Bazelon, thinking that he might choose me because of family ties. The practice in
that day was that law students went to clerking on the Supreme Court right from
law school, and Norb Schlei became Justice Harlan’s clerk. Jon Newman clerked
for Chief Justice Warren but clerked first for D.C. Circuit Judge George
Washington. Ultimately, my classmate Mike Heyman, who was a close friend,
– 68 –
became a law clerk to Chief Justice Warren. Mike was on the Journal. Mike was
a former Marine. We had been together at Dartmouth and in the naval program.
He was a class behind me at Dartmouth. Michael became professor at Boalt Hall,
then Chancellor at Berkeley and more recently head of the Smithsonian, a very
illustrious career. His wife Terry is a friend. Of all these classmates, the most
publicly acclaimed are Newman, Schlei, Heyman and Specter.
Ms. Garrett: Let’s stop there.
– 69 –
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Fourth Interview-January 14, 2003
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is Katia Garrett. The interview took place at the Shea & Gardner law firm at
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, in the District of Columbia on Monday, January 14, 2003, at 10:00
a.m. This is the fourth interview.
Ms. Garrett: Steve, when we left off the last time, you indicated that you wanted to touch on or
comment a little bit more about your law school experience.
Mr. Pollak: In those days, one got on the Law Journal by grades, and my second semester
grades put me on the Journal. You were assigned a note topic.
Ms. Garrett: You didn’t select it at that time? You just were given the topic?
Mr. Pollak: The student had to search for a note and maybe the officers made some
suggestions, or the Note and Comment Editor. In any event, my Note was on the
enforceability of the bonds of the New York Third Avenue Elevated in
reorganization. A very short opinion of a capable district judge, Edward Dimock.
I remember praying over every word. Then, a Note was probably ten pages of the
Journal or a little less, with lots of footnotes.
The practice was for the student to proceed to write a comment, which was
not necessarily about a case, but about a subject area. Professor Myers McDougal
suggested to me a topic which was the legality and constitutionality of a statute
passed just recently called the Expatriation Act of 1954, which took away
citizenship of Americans who performed specified acts. Included in the acts was
violation of the Smith Act, which proscribed advocacy of overthrow of the
– 70 –
government and various other subversive activities. It was a statute addressed to
communists primarily. It was a very good topic and I developed a lengthy
comment with new approaches to the issue of the legality of that kind of a law.
Particularly, I researched the decisions of the Supreme Court and other courts
respecting the Eighth Amendment’s proscription of cruel and unusual
punishment. I ultimately presented a thesis that taking away citizenship was an
added punishment in this instance for a crime of which the individual had been
convicted and that rendering the individual stateless by taking away citizenship
was historically cruel and unusual. As I think I mentioned before, soon after I
graduated, a case called Trop v. Dulles [356 U.S. 86] went to the Supreme Court
in which the very issue was presented. The Court, following theories that were
reflected in the comment, and, I’m sure, following briefs that were presented to it,
held a related denationalization provision unconstitutional as a cruel and unusual
punishment. So it was a rewarding topic. I worked very hard on it during my
second year at the Law School. The Editor-in-Chief, Norbert A. Schlei, became
my editor in respect to the comment. The final product was a very good one and
such credit as there is for it would go to me and to him as well. The comment
won a prize given by the Law School.
One more comment. I think the Law Journal experience was a major part
of my law school education. Classes were another part, but the Journal was
certainly a big part.
Ms. Garrett: And a positive part?
– 71 –
Mr. Pollak: Very positive. I became the Managing Editor which in those days was one of six
officer positions. That was in my third year. I had to read and ready for
publication every article or paper in the Journal.
Ms. Garrett: Your first job was in D.C. Was that always your plan to come to the District of
Columbia and work as a lawyer?
Mr. Pollak: I went through law school harboring the idea that I would ultimately go into the
family real estate business in Illinois. That was something that I knew my father
wanted and it influenced me. Each summer during law school rather than take a
job with a law firm or the government in the law field, my wife and I and our first
child went to Illinois where my parents lived and Ruth’s parents lived. I worked
in the family business in real estate. I earned money and I needed to earn money.
I now think that was probably an unwise use of my time, although it worked very
well because our parents, the grandparents of our daughter, Linda, got to see us
and their granddaughter. But I didn’t advance my experience in the law.
By the time I began interviewing for law positions, I had focused on
Washington and three firms there, Covington & Burling, Arnold, Fortas & Porter,
and a firm called Cox, Langford, Stoddard & Cutler, which ultimately became
Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. Those three firms were considered by me to have
many graduates of the Yale Law School and to be congenial places to work. I
thought that they had good attitudes with respect to public service and pro bono
activities. It was my thought that I would go to Washington for perhaps three
years and then we would relocate to Illinois. Possibly I retained some thought
– 72 –
that I would go into the family real estate business. That never happened. I recall
during the second year of practice considering whether I would leave the law and
go to Illinois. That caused me some anxiety because I felt I was breaking from
what my father wanted. I’m not sure that I correctly read him. He probably
wanted what I wanted. In any event, it was never really in the cards that I would
give up the law.
Ms. Garrett: What did Ruth think about this three-year plan and then the ultimate decision to
stay in D.C.?
Mr. Pollak: I think that Ruth may have been more open to moving to Illinois. She and I often
talked about finding a home in Evanston, which was a near-Chicago urban area on
the lake, more urban than suburban. I can’t recall that she pushed to go to Illinois
or that she was particularly in favor of my giving up the law. I think she probably
was not. But I don’t recall her taking a position that it was other than a decision
for me.
I was influenced by many things in turning away from returning to
Illinois. One of them was that in my years growing up there, while the society of
young people was open and there were really no particular limitations imposed on
me as a Jew, my awareness was that in the adult world, there were religious-based
country clubs and that there was some ghettoization of Jews. I didn’t find that to
be true in Washington, and I think I was happy not to return to Illinois and face
the possibility of those limitations. I’m sure that there were similar limitations in
some strata in Washington, but coming into the law world as a young associate
– 73 –
and living first on the Shirley Highway in Virginia and then moving into the
District and having a life among my peers, those limitations were much less or so
perceived to be by me.
Ms. Garrett: Well, tell me some about what Covington was like when you got there, because
that is where you ultimately decided to go. You got there, when, 1956?
Mr. Pollak: I came to work on September 18, 1956. I remember my perceptions in Illinois as
I looked toward coming back to Washington. Whatever happened I had to be
there on the 18th because I said I would be there. I remember having a perception
that the law firm would be paying particular attention to when I arrived. Of
course, they probably couldn’t have cared less. It was just my perception. I now
recall that the summer after graduation from law school, I was present in Illinois
with my wife and two children, Linda and David. David had been born in
January of the year I graduated. That summer I worked partially at the real estate
firm, but I devoted myself heavily to taking the bar exam.
Ms. Garrett: Which bar did you take?
Mr. Pollak: I took the Illinois Bar and passed it. It was a two-and-a-half-day exam. I consider
that it was wasted time. I spent a great amount of time learning the bar review
course, learning the intricacies of Illinois law on various subjects, and I don’t
think I ever used any of that.
Ms. Garrett: Did you then have to take the D.C. bar when you came to Washington?
Mr. Pollak: I waived into D.C. and don’t recall there being any particularly demanding
requirements. I remember traveling to Chicago and then driving out to Elgin,
– 74 –
Illinois, to be sworn into the Illinois Bar. In any event, I joined Covington &
Burling, which was then a firm of maybe 40 lawyers.
Ms. Garrett: How did that compare to other firms? Did that make it a big firm?
Mr. Pollak: It was a big firm for that time period. Arnold, Fortas & Porter was smaller and
Cox Langford was eight or nine lawyers. My close Yale Law School friend,
David Isbell, and I had the same purposes of going to Washington and of seeking
employment with those three law firms, Covington, Arnold & Porter, and Cox
Langford. We each interviewed at each firm. Cox Langford was headed by
Oscar Cox, who had been one of the very bright, able attorneys in the federal
government during World War II. In the firm were Lloyd Cutler and Lou
Oberdorfer, as well as others whom I came to know. That firm chose to hire one
person, Sam Stern, who was coming off a clerkship with Chief Justice Warren
and did not extend an offer to David Isbell or to me. We both received offers
from Covington and joined Covington. I would like this oral history to record one
story about the interview process.
When representatives of law firms came to Yale to interview in those
days, they stayed in the courtyard where the law school was located. There were
suites that had a sitting room and a bedroom. The interviews would be in the
sitting room. Gerry Gesell, who later became a Judge on the District Court here,
was there representing Covington. He must have interviewed David Isbell before
he interviewed me. My memory is that I knocked on the door and it was opened
by a robust man with white hair whom I had never met. I said, “Hello, my name
– 75 –
is Steve Pollak. I’m here for your 10:30 interview.” And the man said, “Come in.
I’m Gerry Gesell. He pointed his finger at my chest and said, “I hear you think
we don’t take Jews.” (Laughter).
Ms. Garrett: (Laughter).
Mr. Pollak: So that was the significant way the interview opened. Surely, I had discussed that
question with David and he undoubtedly had asked about it. Of course,
Covington had Jewish people among its partners, important partners. In any
event, I was always happy with my selection of Covington. It was a good place to
begin my practice. My first assignment there – I think there were as many as
eight young lawyers, some off clerkships, who were assuming positions with the
firm when I arrived. I can remember being intimidated by the fact that most of
them had clerked and I had not. I often recounted in those years that my attorney
peers introduced themselves as if their names were, “Hello, my name is John
Smith. I clerked for blank. ” I can also remember that the young lawyers went
out to lunch and across the lunch table there were discussions which were like
young male animals testing out their fighting skills. The lawyers would be raising
questions that were going to the courts and presenting all of the arguments with
respect to those questions.
My first assignment was to work with a young partner named Ernest
Jeness, J-E-N-E-S-S, who had a burgeoning communications practice. He
represented the Washington Post, TV and radio stations and other stations and he
came to represent a new trade association called the Association of Maximum
– 76 –
Service Telecasters (“AMST”) that was composed of licensees of VHF channels.
As I recall, its purpose was to address competition that was in the offing from
companies obtaining UHF licenses, which were then just being issued; companies
that were, because of technical limitations later overcome, less capable of
providing good service. In any event, we at Covington filed lots of papers with
the FCC on behalf of our clients on license renewals and in rulemakings, mostly a
paper practice. Ernie Jenness seemed from my standpoint to want to put out a
perfect product, which was not unusual, and I think he did do so, but he did not
appear to take much pleasure in it, and the experience of us young persons was
not particularly enjoyable. It may have just been the nature of work. I recall
working on a renewal of the license for a TV station, Channel 9, held by The
Washington Post. The requirements were such that we had a stack of typewritten
papers about an inch-and-a-half thick and very technical and burdensome to
prepare. It fell to me to select all those facts and display them. My feeling was
that none of my law training fitted me for doing that compulsive task and that my
experiences were not advancing in any direction that would be fruitful. I made an
effort to get out of the communications practice and ultimately, maybe as soon as
one year, I moved to working with Gerry Gesell who was a trial and appellate
attorney mostly in the antitrust field. I proceeded to work primarily with Gerry
from then until I left the firm to go into the federal government in November
1961. I had really outstanding experiences with Gesell.
– 77 –
Ms. Garrett: Tell me what he was like at that time. I knew him only after he had gotten on the
Mr. Pollak: Well, he was a dominating personality, not that he tried to be, he just was. He
was a major figure at Covington & Burling. He took great pleasure in the practice
of law. He enjoyed the competition that goes with the adversarial process. He
was combative without being other than well behaved and pleasing to be around.
He loved what he was doing and made it a great experience for those who worked
with him. We had challenging work to do. He was very supportive of those who
worked with him. He made it a learning experience and was promotive of the
confidence of those who worked with him.
My first assignment with Gerry was to help prepare and try a criminal
antitrust case. The United States had brought criminal price-fixing charges
against five manufacturers of the then-new polio vaccine. We represented Parke
Davis, which manufactured the vaccine at its plant in Detroit. The lead defendant,
because it had the largest market share, was Eli Lilly. Other defendants were
Wyeth, Pittman-Moore in Kansas City and Merck, Sharp and Dohme. It was a
great case. It was presented before Judge Philip Foreman of the United States
District Court for the District of New Jersey located in Trenton. The Government
was represented by Louis Bernstein and Bernard Hollander, both of whom spent
their careers almost entirely in the Antitrust Division and were excellent attorneys
and straight shooters. The relationships between counsel were good. The
evidence against the manufacturers was damning in that prices moved in unison
– 78 –
and were identical down to the fourth decimal place. The packaging was similar
as were the terms and conditions of the sale. There was a lot of fact work. I
remember going often to New York to deal with the document depository at the
Dewey Ballantine firm and case preparation.
I want to recount the lineup of attorneys because it was unusual.
Watching them work was an education. Eli Lilly was represented by the Dewey
Ballantine firm. Governor Dewey was Eli Lilly’s lead counsel. He was seconded
by a senior lawyer, Everett Willis, and a younger partner, Len Shapiro. There
were three outstanding associates, including Bob Pitofsky, later Dean of the
Georgetown Law Center and then Chair of the Federal Trade Commission.
Dewey’s local attorney was former New Jersey State Judge Richard Hughes, who
was subsequently Governor of New Jersey and then Chief Judge of the State
Supreme Court. Parke Davis was the second largest producer and Gesell was its
attorney. Our local lawyer was Thorne Lord, a sole practitioner. Thorne was
head of the Democratic Party in New Jersey. We young lawyers joked that in any
group picture, Gesell, Thorne Lord and Judge Hughes, each a strong Democrat,
were at pains not to be photographed in chummy relationships with Governor
Dewey who was the lead Republican at the time. Another lawyer in the case was
Bill Piel of Sullivan & Cromwell, a great trial attorney. He represented Pittman-
Moore and I recall his bringing a lot to various evidentiary presentations.
After five weeks of trial in which the Government put in its case, the
indictment was dismissed on grounds that the Government had failed to prove that
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the uniformity in prices and terms of sale was not the result of the Government’s
deep involvement with the development of the vaccine. Judge Foreman held that
it was the burden of the United States to negative all innocent explanations of the
alleged uniformity and that it had failed to do so. It was a big win and the
defendants never needed to put in their case. There was difficult evidence in the
case in that the manufacturers had been meeting and talking together in the effort
to bring out this new vaccine. It was a terrific learning experience for me.
There was a book at the time about the world of business competition. I
remember reading it to find passages for Gerry Gesell to use in his argument to
the court on the motion to acquit.
Gesell and I prepared Park Davis’ defense, with Gesell handling the incourt
work. I had a responsibility to know the whole case, all the documents and
to be master of all. Governor Dewey had partners Willis and Shapiro plus three
associates, each of whom had a slice of the case. Gesell often commented
negatively on the wisdom of having lawyers learn only a part of the facts. He
thought that to be really useful, one had to be master of the whole case. I’ve
always believed the same thing. When you are able to have a mentor, as Gesell
certainly was, you tend to view law and practice issues like your mentor views
Ms. Garrett: So was it just you and Judge Gesell?
Mr. Pollak: Just the two of us.
Ms. Garrett: Unusual for a case of that size, certainly today. Was that unusual for the times?
– 80 –
Mr. Pollak: I don’t know. It was typical of Gesell. He thought he could do it and of course he
could. Another aspect of Gerry was that he worked hard during the week. I don’t
recall his working many nights except when he had a deadline. But on the
weekends, he had a farm and he did not do law work. He went home. He did
other things. As far as I could tell, he didn’t obsess about the issues presented in
his law practice.
When the polio case ended, I was immediately jumped into representation
of General Electric which was the subject of a grand jury investigation into price
fixing and other antitrust violations in the heavy electrical equipment industry.
While Gerry and I had been on the polio case, Graham Claytor, Gerry’s partner,
had been handling the representation of GE. Gerry took it over and I worked with
him for several years, until I left for the government in November 1961, on that
big series of electrical industry cases brought by the United States that were
criminal and civil in nature. The grand jury was sitting in Philadelphia. Robert
Bicks, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, was
in overall charge, assisted by two outstanding attorneys in the Department of
Justice, Gordon Spivack and Craig Wittinghill. It was the largest antitrust case to
come along. My major responsibility was to prepare and take GE officials to the
grand jury. My memory is that I took 42 of them and prepared and debriefed
them. The company’s instructions to its officers and employees were to tell the
full truth and I worked with the witnesses to do so. Generally, they recounted
quite inflammatory and damning stories of price fixing and secret meetings that
– 81 –
are all part of history now. Again, there were outstanding attorneys who
represented the various defendants.
Westinghouse was represented by Bruce Bromley of Cravath, Swaine &
Moore. Judge Bromley, as he was called – he had been appointed to the New
York State Court of Appeals with an interim appointment. The story goes that it
fell to him to write an opinion in a case challenging a fair housing statute. I recall
that he upheld the statute and, as a result of his ruling, he wasn’t named to a full
term. He was always known as Judge Bromley, however. He was greatly
talented and had a wonderful sense of humor. He obviously had, as did Judge
Gesell, great talents in the acting line. Perhaps the best courtroom lawyers are
great actors, and Bromley as well as Gesell were that. Both men were very
The electrical industry cases were presented before Judge Cullen Ganey of
the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Motions were presented before Judge
Ganey. We attorneys would gather in Philadelphia the night before and all of the
attorneys for the defendants and there were many – six, seven, eight companies,
manufacturers. The lawyers would compare readinesses for the argument. I
recall Gerry Gesell, after presenting a difficult motion to Judge Ganey, coming
back where I was seated and asking me what my view was of his performance. I
felt then, and I never had reason to doubt it later, that, like everyone else, he
wanted reassurance after he presented an argument that he had done a good job.
This to me was a window into his makeup, even though he had great confidence
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in his ability.
There are two more stories about the electrical cases I’d like to tell. The
first is of the Chairman of GE, Ralph Cordiner, an American corporate official of
preeminence in the United States at that time. The president of GE was
Robert Paxton. One group vice president, Mr. Burens, and many division vice
presidents responsible for heavy electrical equipment products were indicted. The
question was whether they were acting on their own or were the two top
executives also involved in the conspiracy. Ultimately, Paxton was indicted on
the testimony of senior executives who had been indicted. They said that Paxton
had come from his office in New York to Philadelphia and instructed them on
their conspiratorial activities. Gesell conceived the idea of going to the
prosecutors, Wittinghill and Spivack, and saying to them, “Paxton denies the
accusation and says he never made that trip to Philadelphia. I believe that the
executives one rung down are lying about it. If you will tell me when he is
supposed to have come to Philadelphia, I will take that period and three weeks or
five weeks or whatever number of weeks around it and I will bring you proof that
he was never in Philadelphia as they say. If I show you proof, I will expect you to
dismiss the indictment.” I don’t know whether any government prosecutor would
do so today, but they agreed. Roberts Owen and I, with Gesell, assembled all of
the evidence of Paxton’s whereabouts. Being president of the company, his
whereabouts were pretty heavily detailed, for example, whenever he went into the
company’s lunchroom, it was recorded. So we amassed this tremendous amount
– 83 –
of detail and presented it to the United States. The prosecutors dismissed the
The other interesting story involves Ralph Cordiner who was never called
before the grand jury or indicted. The United States Senate called him to testify.
We at Covington prepared his testimony and worked on it with the company
liaison, a very able attorney who had rusty red hair. Cordiner obviously was
concerned. Late in the process, he retained Clark Clifford to represent him
personally. Clifford came over to see us at Covington. My recollection is that he
wore a double breasted suit and had a great big, colorful striped tie. We showed
him what we had done and briefed him and he took it all in. Soon thereafter, we
had another meeting with Cordiner and Clifford. My observation was that
Clifford relied on what we had done and presented it up to Cordiner. I felt then
that Gesell’s role was diminished unwarrantedly by Clifford. On the other hand,
as I look back on it, Clifford had been a significant adviser to Presidents even
then, and what may have been occurring was Clifford’s relying on what we had
done but bringing to Cordiner his own experience and evaluation of the upcoming
Senate hearing, and giving Cordiner the confidence to go ahead with both our
product and Clifford’s advice. It taught me that attorneys can have significant
roles tied to the judgments they make and the experience on which those
judgments rest, even if they really aren’t doing the leg work of writing or reading
or even evaluating facts and cases. It was another learning experience.
– 84 –
Ms. Garrett: Tell me, in addition to these cases which seem to have consumed a fair amount of
your time at Covington, did you have any opportunities to do any of the pro bono
work that had drawn you to the firm?
Mr. Pollak: I did. Let me just say that I had one other case that I worked on with Judge Gesell
that pretty much ran its course and was a smaller case located here in the District
of Columbia. Gesell was retained by Lykes Steamship Line, which had been sued
by Bloomfield, a smaller, non-subsidized company. States Marine, like Lykes,
was a subsidized steamship company. There was a requirement that subsidized
companies had to disclose all of their ownerships and they were precluded from
acquiring any line which was not subsidized, or at least had to have permission
before doing so. When States Marine’s subsidy came up for renewal, Lykes,
which was a competitor, opposed the renewal and Lykes’ attorney, Odell
Kominers, head of a small maritime firm here in D.C., argued that States Marine
had acquired, surreptitiously and without the government’s permission, a small
unsubsidized line, Bloomfield Steamship Company. He made this assertion orally
in argument before the Maritime Board. Bloomfield or States Marine or both
sued Lykes for slander, saying the allegation was that it had committed a crime.
Gesell was retained to defend the case. The lawsuit was before Judge Alexander
Holtzoff in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The case
was left for me to prepare. I remember going to New York to take depositions of
the General Counsel and President of States Marine. I was probably four years
into the practice, maybe less, and I had never taken a deposition. I prepared these
– 85 –
depositions and then was sent off alone to take them. I spent all day doing so. I
felt utterly defeated by the witnesses. I had all my questions and documents ready
and I kept getting the “wrong” answers, which were essentially denials of the
acquisition and ownership. As the case later played out, and some of it played out
after I had left for the government, I heard that the answers were shown to be less
than candid. I couldn’t understand the flow of the testimony in light of the
documents. The flow of course, was to maintain the total innocence of States
Later, we took the deposition of Warner Gardner, who had represented
American President Lines in the same proceeding. Warner was a partner in Shea
& Gardner, the firm I joined in 1969. It was the first time I met him.
Judge Holtzoff was short of stature and considered a tyrant in his
courtroom. I know that when Gesell and I went to court, Judge Gesell advised me
that Judge Holtzoff required everyone in his courtroom to have their suit jackets
buttoned and to sit up straight, to do no talking, no reading and, of course, to stand
up whenever addressing the Court and to be completely respectful, which he was
at pains to be and so was I. Judge Holtzoff received several significant briefs
from us. The case was argued on summary judgment, but may have been tried
after I left the firm in 1961. In any event, it was the first experience I had in the
United States District Court here. My recollection is that Judge Holtzoff ran a
good court. It was a positive experience.
– 86 –
You asked about pro bono. Early on, after I had gone to Covington, I
started devoting time to cases brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. I
recall working with Jim Heller on a case in which Joe Rauh was involved. We
were dealing with coerced confessions and exclusion of the confession from
evidence as violative of the Fifth Amendment. I also recall representing the
ACLU in giving testimony opposing an effort to impose on the City of
Washington a curfew for young people. I also testified against a proposal for
preventive detention. A wonderful partner at Covington & Burling, Charles
Horsky, was a close colleague and participated among others in cases and matters
that came in to Gesell. Their offices were back to back, with a doorway between,
and Gesell would often open that door and consult Horsky on difficult issues.
Horsky was active in the Washington Housing Association, which had a purpose
of working for better housing for indigent people, supporting public housing and
urban renewal. I began volunteering time with the Washington Housing
Association which was then chaired by Horsky. I became a board member and
over many years was very active with that organization. Later, I became its chair
and participated with Reverend Channing Phillips in a corporation called Citizens
for Better Housing, CBH, which was an organization that endeavored to purchase
and rehabilitate housing for the poor. A wonderful man and attorney named
Bruce Terris was active with that organization too. He was a lawyer with whom I
served in the Solicitor General’s Office.
– 87 –
So I began immediately at Covington to be active in city and pro bono
affairs. I cannot recall the firm ever raising any issues about that. My
recollection is that I could do anything that I wanted, provided I was able to
perform the work that was assigned to me and do those other things without a
Ms. Garrett: Tell me a little bit about the firm culture when you got there. Were there
minimum billable hours requirements?
Mr. Pollak: There were no minimum billable hours requirements. At the end of each year, in
the month of December, each associate had a meeting with Edward Burling, Jr.
He was not the most powerful partner, but performed this important function. At
that meeting, he would tell you in a general way how you were doing and what
your bonus for the current year and salary for the next year would be. I believe
associates of equal seniority received the same salary. I recall that my annual
starting salary in September of 1956 was $4,600. I think I received a small bonus
at the end of the year and then it went up some. Maybe it went up to $6,000. I
harbor the idea that bonuses were by seniority, but my memory is vague about
I found the firm socially quite congenial. It was somewhat old worldish.
The senior partner was John Lord O’Brien, who was a great figure in American
law. He was 90 I think when I got there, came to the office daily and was
available and held in great respect by everyone. He was called by everybody
“Old Mr. O’Brien.” Dean Acheson had returned from being Secretary of State.
– 88 –
He was there as was his son, David. Early in our time at Covington, David Isbell
and I decided that we were not getting to know some of the more senior lawyers.
We devised a plan of inviting them to go to lunch. We called Barbara, Dean
Acheson’s secretary. I don’t remember her last name. Certainly, we called her by
her last name then. We said we wanted to take Mr. Acheson to lunch. She was
nonplussed by the request, but conveyed it. He accepted our invitation. David
and I had a wonderful lunch with Dean Acheson, of which I remember nothing
now. When I applied for and was admitted to the Supreme Court, Mr. Acheson –
in those days, admission was moved in open court and granted individually by the
Chief Justice – moved my admission and signed my certificate. My observation
(possibly wrong) was that Dean Acheson, who was a major national figure, did
not have a particularly robust law practice, probably because he had been away in
the government so much and his clients probably went to others. I have the
impression that he worked primarily on public issues and his memoirs. The
dominant lawyers by my observation were Gesell, Tommy Austern who had a fair
trade practice, Hugh Cox, who was a great trial lawyer in the antitrust field.
Everyone at Covington & Burling thought that Mr. Cox, as he was called, was the
best lawyer in the firm, although I’m not sure Gesell felt that way. My
observation always has been that to be a great lawyer requires a lot of selfconfidence.
Gesell had that and it was very becoming to him.
Covington drew wonderful young attorneys. Among those who were
there was Harris Wofford, a man of broad talents and interests who became a civil
– 89 –
rights activist and played a major role with respect to civil rights and the
campaign of John Kennedy for the presidency. Later, he was active in launching
the Peace Corps, president of Bryn Mawr College and ultimately a senator from
Pennsylvania. In addition, there was Burke Marshall who worked with Gesell and
was universally considered as good or perhaps the best, most talented, most
brilliant young lawyer. He became a young partner in the late 1950s and was
selected by John Kennedy to be head of the Civil Rights Division. Burke
volunteered time on the Kennedy campaign in 1960 and I helped him. I asked to
go with him into the Civil Rights Division, but he said he was keeping all of the
staff that Judge Harold Tyler, who was head of the division under President
Eisenhower, had assembled and that there wouldn’t be a job good enough for me
to take. I didn’t go with him and a few months later had an opportunity to go join
the Solicitor General’s office. After a lot of agony over the decision, I determined
to do that. One vignette about that. I, of course, spoke to my primary mentors at
Covington. Judge Gesell counseled me not to go. He said I was right on track to
be a partner and said, “You’d be better served by staying.” Charlie Horsky
counseled me the other way and said I should take the offer. Charlie had served
in the SG’s office. Gesell had begun his career with the SEC. So both of them
had served in federal government. In any event, I chose to go and was never,
never sorry. I think Covington was an excellent place to begin practice.
Ms. Garrett: Were there many women lawyers who were working at Covington at that time?
– 90 –
Mr. Pollak: There was an absence of women. There were only small numbers of women
graduating from law school. My recollection is that there was a permanent female
associate, Amy Ruth Mahin, who practiced in the estates field. It seemed to me
that she was not advanced to partnership because she was a woman. I don’t know
that for a fact. No one ever knocked her work. I don’t think there were any
women in my entry “class.” I don’t even recall any women in the entering groups
after me. I know that when I came out of the Government to Shea & Gardner,
there were no women at Shea & Gardner. And while Frank Shea was noted for
seeking the best talents around, that did not extend to the best talents of women
because we hired men and I think it took a decision to change what had been a
policy not to hire women. The first woman here at Shea & Gardner was Mary
Ms. Garrett: Did you play a role in that decision or in the policy change?
Mr. Pollak: I can only say I think I must have. I don’t remember the specifics. I think that the
thinking then of Frank Shea and possibly other leaders of the firm was that, with
all of the traveling the male lawyers had to do, if women were brought into the
firm, there would be occasions where the lawyers would get involved emotionally
with the women and that would be a threat to marriages. Of course, now one
would ask why should women be the ones who are burdened by those concerns.
Any number of other things could be said about that as well.
Ms. Garrett: And when was Mary Fitch hired?
– 91 –
Mr. Pollak: Soon after I came in 1969. Her husband was a lawyer, and he became a professor
at the University of Chicago and she relocated to Illinois. When the policy
changed, Frank Shea applied his high standards to seek the best young lawyers
regardless of gender, and we began hiring lots of women, and they worked out
wonderfully. I think the first partner was Elizabeth Gibson whose husband, Bob
Mosteller, was a public defender. They relocated to North Carolina where he
became a professor at Duke Law School and she at the University of North
Carolina Law School. Clinton endeavored to nominate her to the Fourth Circuit,
but Senator Helms and others blocked it or said they would block it. She is a
wonderful attorney. We’ve had many outstanding women attorneys here
including Wendy S. White, a former partner, who is now Vice President and
General Counsel of the University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Garrett: We have been going a while here and I think we’ve wrapped up with your
Covington experience.
– 92 –
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Fifth Interview-February 13, 2003
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is Katia Garrett. The interview took place at the Shea & Gardner law firm at
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, in the District of Columbia on Thursday, February 13, 2003, at
10:00 a.m. This is the fifth interview.
Ms. Garrett: Steve, you read the transcript from your last interview. Is there anything that you
wanted to add to what we discussed at that time about your career prior to
entering the government?
Mr. Pollak: No.
Ms. Garrett: Then let’s talk about the Department of Justice. Tell me how you came to work
Mr. Pollak: In the early summer of 1961, First Assistant to the Solicitor General, Oscar Davis
telephoned and asked me whether I would be interested in working in the
Solicitor General’s office. The office was nine attorneys then and two, maybe
three, of them, including Bill Doolittle and Wayne Barnett, had been at
Covington & Burling. I think it was Wayne who suggested me. I said to Oscar
that I was interested and proceeded carefully to consider whether I wanted to do it
if I was offered the job. I recall almost nothing about interviews I’m sure I had
with Oscar and with the SG, Archibald Cox. I received an offer and, after a lot of
soul searching, accepted. I went to work in the SG’s office around November 15
or 18, 1961. It was a signal decision in my life and was absolutely correct even
though I do not consider myself a solid fit as a brief writer in the SG’s office. My
– 93 –
talents are more related to human contact and oral presentation and tactical
concerns, including oral argument. Nonetheless, I took the job. Brief writing was
not one of my longest and strongest suits, and I thought in a Calvinistic way that
taking a job in full-time brief writing with some oral argument would be good for
Ms. Garrett: And was it?
Mr. Pollak: I thought I could think through the problems well. Another major activity in the
office was providing memoranda to the Solicitor General on whether to seek or
oppose certiorari or take appeals. That was a fascinating side of the office where
one learned the length and the breadth of what the government does and what the
issues that come to the Supreme Court are. I thought I was strong in that realm.
In any event, it was a great experience and I never was sorry that I did it.
Ms. Garrett: Tell me a little bit about how the SG’s office ran, who you worked with and the
kinds of cases that you worked on when you were there.
Mr. Pollak: The SG’s office was located on the fifth floor of Justice, along Ninth Street.
Solicitor General Cox had a fine office at the southeast corner of the building on
the fifth floor. He had an intern, a young person who came immediately from
clerking on the Supreme Court and generally stayed a year, whose office was
along Constitution Avenue moving from east to west. The rest of us, of which
there were seven or so, had our offices going from south to north along Ninth
Street, and mine, I believe, was 5613. There were one or two attorneys who had
offices across the hall facing on the inner court. I was the last office going down
– 94 –
from south to north. Next to me was a permanent person, a long-time employee
in the office, who cite-checked and, you might say, policed the briefs to make
certain that they were all technically correct. The Office took immense pride in
having its briefs perfectly produced and they always were. It was much more
complex then. We sent them to the Government Printing Office which gave us
marvelous service and could turn them around overnight no matter how long they
were. The only SG I served as Assistant to the Solicitor General, which was the
title of all of us, was Archibald Cox, a former professor of law at Harvard and a
simply super Solicitor General. He set high, high standards which he applied to
himself and to all of us, and had respect across the length and the breadth of the
government and great sway on positions the United States took at the Supreme
Court. He was assisted in managing the office by a First Assistant, Ralph
Spritzer, who was a career employee and had a responsibility as the second
reviewer, the ultimate reviewer before Mr. Cox, of all briefs and memoranda in
particular subject matter fields. Before Spritzer, that person was Oscar Davis, a
long-time employee attorney who was named to the Court of Claims by President
John Kennedy shortly after I got to the office, and served with distinction on that
Court (later known as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit). As the
newest member of the office, I was responsible for organizing the going away
party for Oscar.
Ralph Spritzer stepped into Oscar’s job and there was a Second Assistant
who assumed Ralph’s position when Oscar left. That was Daniel Friedman,
– 95 –
Danny as we called him. Danny had responsibility for certain areas of
government, including antitrust. He had come from the Antitrust Division. Dan
later was named to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and served
with Oscar on that Court. There were no other titles in the office. The rest of us
were called Assistants to the Solicitor General and each of us had an area of
emphasis. Wayne Barnett was the tax reviewer and expert. Bruce Terris had civil
rights and I’m not certain who had what other areas, although I came to have a
responsibility for underwater lands and boundaries. At one point in my service, I
reviewed with and for Mr. Cox issues relating to the ownership of “mud lumps”
in the Louisiana-Texas area where the Mississippi runs into the Gulf. There was
an issue whether the Tidelands Act of whatever year, perhaps 1949, had deeded
those mud lumps to the states, or whether they remained in the possession of the
federal government. There were millions of dollars in oil under the mud lumps
and the states of Louisiana and Texas, I understood, wanted them. That issue was
presented to President Kennedy and he asked Cox for an opinion on the meaning
of the statute. I read all of the legislative history which was voluminous because
there had been a filibuster. Believe it or not, I never was able to find that the issue
had ever been consciously addressed by the Congress. It was amazing. I can
remember calling it “casus omissus.”
People came and went in the Office. In addition to those I’ve named, I
served with Phil Heymann who became a professor of law at Harvard and later
head of the Criminal Division in the Carter Administration and Deputy Attorney
– 96 –
General with Janet Reno in the Clinton Administration. I served with Frank
Goodman, who became a professor of law at the University of Texas, and Nathan
Lewin, who later was Second Assistant in the Civil Rights Division when I was
Assistant Attorney General there. I don’t recall serving with any women
attorneys in the Office while I was there, which was a reflection of the times.
Cox’s SG was a wonderful office. We, of course, worked on our own
separate matters, worked very hard, long hours, and applied high standards.
Generally, the people in the Office went to lunch together, often to the Federal
Trade Commission cafeteria on the seventh floor of that nearby building.
Mr. Cox, as all of us called him, ate with us on Friday. I learned about the
government’s law offices and the Department of Justice offices in that job. I
related to the appellate sections of the various DOJ divisions and the independent
agencies. There were outstanding career lawyers in government service, many of
whom I know today. There was Beatrice Rosenberg, who was Deputy Chief of
the Appellate Section of the Criminal Division. The Chief was Carl Erdley.
Those were accomplished attorneys. At the NLRB, the Appellate Section
included Norton Come, who was universally respected, and the draft briefs that
came from him and the NLRB were generally the best of the independent agency
briefs. The government was excellently represented. Harold Greene was head of
the Appellate Section in the Civil Rights Division. He had an outstanding set of
brief writers and thinkers and was the best of the breed. Mine was a rewarding
position to be in.
– 97 –
Ms. Garrett: What was it like to appear before the Supreme Court?
Mr. Pollak: Well, it was scary until you actually stood up and then it was just exciting and as
stimulating an experience as I have ever had. I enjoyed every argument. I recall
that I always knew my case up one side and down the other. That is not to say I
made the best arguments that could be made. I wouldn’t be the judge of that, but
I considered it my responsibility to be ready for whatever questions the Court had
and I think I always was. I argued nine cases while I was in the Office, and
before I had my first case to argue I argued a few in the circuits, mostly tax cases
that the Tax Division boosted over to me as a result of my friend John B. Jones,
who was First Assistant there. Mr. Cox often argued two cases at each sitting,
sometimes even three. A sitting was two weeks long. His capability to do work
was surprising because, at the same time he was preparing and presenting oral
arguments, he was editing and writing major briefs and making decisions on
certiorari and appeals and reading prodigious amounts. It never seemed too much
for him. The arguments of his that I heard were brilliant.
Mr. Cox did not micro-manage the work of his assistants. When I argued
my first case, he attended. Afterwards, he gave me two words of advice that I
have always remembered. He said, perhaps because I did otherwise, but I don’t
recall, that if one was arguing second, he recommended making the argument that
you had prepared and not changing the argument you prepared because your
opponent had taken some unexpected tack. Second, he said that whether first or
second in the sequence of argument, he thought the advocate should always open
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with the advocate’s statement of the issue to be decided. As I recall it, he never
gave me any other advice on my arguments. Of course, I could learn something
and did from the editing of my draft briefs by my colleagues in the Office and by
Mr. Cox.
Ms. Garrett: Were there any memorable moments with any of the justices when you had your
Mr. Pollak: I recall Justice Frankfurter being extremely active in questioning. I argued a tax
case that involved the precedential effect to be given to Internal Revenue
Commissioners’ letters. I believe that my position (that is, the government’s
position) was that they were not to be afforded precedential status such as one
would give a court decision. I remember making a metaphoric reference
comparing the number of letters to the number of snowflakes that fall in a heavy
snow, and remember the Court lighting up at the reference.
I recall arguing a case later in my time at the Office, which was about three
years, involving a member of the Air Force who had been disciplined. He was
represented by Sid Dickstein and David Shapiro who have since built a fine firm
in town. They had then just a firm called Dickstein & Shapiro. In the course of
the argument, perhaps in preparation for the argument, I recall identifying that
there was some element of facts that really was pivotal to the outcome that was
not in the record. I identified that in the argument, and the Court remanded the
case with instructions for the Air Force to address the gap in the record. It was a
situation where I thought the traditions of the Office were that we serve the Court,
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and so identification of the gap was called for even though it might lead to an
outcome that might not be a win for the United States. It was a firmly entrenched
tradition that all cases going to the Supreme Court were reviewed for error by the
Office and, where an outcome favorable to the government seemed unwarranted,
Mr. Cox would confess error, although that was rare.
Ms. Garrett: I would be interested to hear if you have a sense of whether the way the SG’s
office works within DOJ has changed since your time there.
Mr. Pollak: I don’t really know. I have an awareness that Paul Bender, who served in that
Office when I was in the Civil Rights Division in the 1960s, returned in the Carter
Administration in a position loosely referred to as the “political deputy.” I think
the First and Second Assistants took on the name of Deputy Assistant Solicitor
General in later years. The Solicitor General in my time was a presidential
appointee, as the rest of us were not, and could be expected to have had
communications with the Attorney General or even the President with respect to
Administration concerns about a litigation that could have political ramifications.
I don’t think that was improper, but it was rare. The Office never conceived of
itself as being swayed by politics. And I saw a lot of the Office through the end
of 1968, when Thurgood Marshall had succeeded Archibald Cox. He succeeded
Archibald Cox after Johnson succeeded Kennedy. I never found the Office
influenced by politics, although I think on the mud lumps issue President
Kennedy hoped that the issue would come out in favor of the states. I had a
perception that the members of the Senate and the House from Texas and
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Louisiana considered that a matter very dear to their hearts. I don’t know whether
that was a consideration that influenced Mr. Cox. I’m doubtful that it did in those
Ms. Garrett: What was the conclusion?
Mr. Pollak: The conclusion was that the mud lumps were the possession of the states. That
can be identified because Mr. Cox’s opinion on which I worked is in one of the
bound volumes of the Reports of the Opinions of the Attorney General.
I don’t know whether the Office has changed. My feeling is that its
members continue to conceive of themselves, as Lincoln Caplan wrote, as the
“Tenth Justice.”
Ms. Garrett: Did you ever have any arguments before the D.C. Circuit when you were in the
SG’s Office?
Mr. Pollak: I never did. I don’t recall what my earliest argument was in the D.C. Circuit.
One of the early ones that I recall was in a case I was handling for the United
Mine Workers of America Health and Retirement Funds concerning the legality
of a provision in the collective bargaining agreements that provided for funding of
the health benefit plans and pension plans that was challenged as a “hot cargo”
clause and a boycott violative of the antitrust laws, the Sherman Act, and the labor
laws. It strikes me that I had earlier arguments before that Court, earlier than
1980 or ‘81. My client won in the D.C. Circuit, but the decision was reviewed on
certiorari in the Supreme Court and reversed 6-3, opinion by Justice White. It
was called Kaiser Steel Corp. v. Mullins.
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I have had a number of arguments in the D.C. Circuit.
Ms. Garrett: When you were working in the SG’s Office, did you have any interaction at all
with Attorney General Kennedy?
Mr. Pollak: Yes, I did.
Ms. Garrett: Tell me about that.
Mr. Pollak: The first time I had any sight of him up close was a Sunday evening in 1962. It
must have been fall of 1962 when James Meredith was brought on to the campus
of the University of Mississippi to register as a student. A friend of mine, a law
classmate, Howard Willens, was First Assistant in the Criminal Division. He
telephoned me when I was having dinner Sunday evening, 7:30 or so, and asked if
I could come to the Attorney General’s Office to lend a hand. There were
problems respecting Meredith and there was need for some help. I said of course
and I went down to the Department.
I’d like to tell one other memory I have of the SG’s Office. We had many
appeals that the Criminal Division wanted to take and many briefings or certiorari
issues that came from the Criminal Division. They often involved issues of civil
liberties. The Criminal Division would be defending positions of the police and
the FBI, the prosecutors, against challenges under the Constitution, the Fourth
Amendment, the Fifth Amendment. We in the SG’s Office would make our own
judgments under the precedents and sometimes would conclude that the federal
behaviors or state prosecutorial behaviors or police behaviors didn’t meet the
constitutional standards. This could put us at odds with the Criminal Division.
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One day Jack Miller, Herbert J. Miller, head of the Criminal Division, sought a
meeting with the SG’s Office. We all gathered in Mr. Cox’s office and Jack
Miller came and addressed us about the need for strong enforcement of the
criminal laws. He brought − the issue may have been in respect to protection of
federal witnesses, because he showed us a set of large photographs of − as I recall
it − prosecution witnesses who had been killed and were shown in bloody
circumstances as a part of his presentation that we should be tougher about our
Ms. Garrett: Did it affect the positions the SG’s Office took on criminal matters that came up?
Mr. Pollak: I think each one was called on its own facts. It was a relevant consideration to
know that if the issue was witness protection, it wasn’t theoretical, that if
protection was breached, the witness might be killed. One of the good things
about the SG’s Office was its independence, so we had to reach our own
In any event, I went to the Department that Sunday evening. Attorney
General Kennedy’s office was on the fifth floor down the hall to the west along
Constitution Avenue from the SG’s office. It was a large office with a large desk,
wonderful rugs on the floor, paintings on the wall. There was an outer office in
which there were two secretarial desks. Then still another outer office. I
probably didn’t know any of the coterie of people there that Sunday evening.
That may have been the first meeting I had up there. There was an open phone
line to the Administration Building on the campus of the University of Mississippi
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where the Justice Department persons enforcing the court order for admission of
Meredith were under siege by segregationists bent on keeping him out. I, along
with Ramsey Clark, then Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Lands
Division − he became Attorney General after Lyndon Johnson became
President − manned an open phone line through the early morning with the
University’s Administration Building where the federal officers were holed up.
On the other end of the phone line were Deputy Attorney General Nicholas
Katzenbach, who was the senior federal officer on the scene, and other Justice
Department leaders who were there with him, including John Doar, First Assistant
in the Civil Rights Division, Louis Oberdorfer who was head of the Tax Division,
and my friend and law school classmate Norbert Schlei who was head of the
Office of Legal Counsel. They were waiting for federal troops to come from
Memphis under General Abrams. I believe that the President, along with Robert
Kennedy and Burke Marshall, who was head of the Civil Rights Division, was
having conversations with Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett.
More than one time in those hours, Marshall and Robert Kennedy would
leave the Department of Justice and go to the White House, meet with the
President and then return. It was tense. My impression of the Attorney General
was that he was in good communication outward from the Department to the
President, good communication with the DOJ people at the University of
Mississippi, and with the people there in his office. He was calm and he was in
full command of the situation, which he handled in a quiet and orderly manner. I
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didn’t see it all, but I saw a lot of it. Abrams was long delayed in coming, and the
siege of the administration building was quite heavy and defended with tear gas
from the Federal Marshals and the members of the Border Patrol. The federal
people were running out of tear gas and one or more men of the Border Patrol that
I came later to know when I was in the Civil Rights Division were sent in a truck
to get more tear gas. They hadn’t returned and my memory is that the senior
officer present there, Katzenbach, asked for permission to open fire with live
ammunition if the siege became more threatening. My memory is that the request
for permission was presented more than one time.
Ms. Garrett: To whom was it presented?
Mr. Pollak: Well, it was presented over the phone line that I was manning and I would present
it back or the phone would be picked up by Robert Kennedy. In any event, of
course, the only decision that could be made to do so would be made by or in
concert with the President. I never heard any discussions with the President, but I
knew what was conveyed. Even with the tear gas the defense of the federal
personnel was extremely difficult. The truck came amidst a lot of hostility of a
physically and potentially injurious nature and drove through that and brought in
more tear gas at a moment when I think the supply had run out. Permission to use
live ammunition was never given. I thought that that was an outstanding
judgment by the federal leaders, the President, Robert Kennedy and Burke
Marshall. It would have been a far more searing experience and dividing
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experience for the country had lethal force been used and persons died or been
Of all the involvements in history that I have had, that evening produced
something the whereabouts of which and even existence of which I have no
knowledge, but it is a document that I think history deserves. I was maintaining
this phone from let’s say 9:00 p.m. until 2 or 3:00 in the morning, maybe later,
and because of the significance of the communications, I kept a full log of all the
communications, the time and what was said and the speaker. I know that
Ramsey did the same when we shared and spelled one another. That log seems to
me to be an historically significant document, but I don’t know what ever became
of it. I have thought that maybe it is at the Kennedy Library in Massachusetts, but
I don’t know.
Ms. Garrett: Have you ever gone to look?
Mr. Pollak: No. I never followed up on it. Finally, Abrams and the troops arrived and
matters cooled down. It taught me one lesson: movement of the military is not
instantaneous. The President was calling in the most urgent terms for the
movement of the troops there.
Ms. Garrett: And how far did they have to go to get there, do you know? Was it across the
Mr. Pollak: Memphis to Oxford. Oxford is where the University of Mississippi was. I think
it’s more like an hour and a half, something like that. It took a long time. I recall
phoning Sol Lindenbaum, who was a career attorney and longtime assistant in the
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Attorney General’s Office and a wonderful person. I called him at home at about
4 or 4:30 a.m. to come in and work with me in drafting a declaration for the
President federalizing the Mississippi Guard. I think that was the occasion when I
did that. I had more than one all night of activities at the Department of Justice
during one crisis or another. My observation was that Robert Kennedy performed
very well there. I think the outcome of the Meredith crisis was the proper one,
that the federal court orders were enforced. That is what it was all about. The
Court had ordered that Meredith be admitted and the state and its governor were
not obeying the order and not protecting the campus from those who would
prevent Meredith’s admission.
I had more contacts with Attorney General Kennedy, but not many. The
next contact I recall involved me more closely for a longer period with him, but I
was never what I would call an intimate colleague of his. He was committed to
having a domestic peace corps which would be focused on assisting the
disadvantaged in the United States. At his urgings, President Kennedy designated
a cabinet level Task Force on a National Service Program. The push to carry out
the mission was Robert Kennedy’s. He did it primarily through staff persons at
the Department who were part of an office dealing with juvenile delinquency. A
working task force was created, that is, personnel who had offices on Jackson
Place near the White House. It was run by a friend of Robert Kennedy’s named
David Hackett who had been the model for Phineas in A Separate Peace by
John Knowles, a book about boys at a prep school. Kennedy and Hackett had
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attended Milton Academy together. The task force was engaged in developing
legislation creating a domestic peace corps and supporting its passage by the
Congress. It came under attack from Representatives H.R. Gross of Iowa and
Sam Devine of Ohio, two Republican, fiscally-conservative members, who
attacked the task force, contending that it was a lobbying effort and that budgeted
federal revenues designated for use by cabinet departments were being unlawfully
reprogrammed to the task force. Robert Kennedy, my understanding is, asked
Deputy Attorney General Katzenbach to get a lawyer for the task force to defend
it against those charges and to make certain that it was proceeding in ways which
were legally sound. He may have had other purposes, including providing the
Task Force with legal advice as to how it could make its presentations to the
Congress more effective. Katzenbach had been a professor at Yale Law School
during my first year or so, and I knew him some. He asked me if I would do it. It
was then close to or at the end of the ‘62-‘63 term of the Supreme Court. In the
SG’s Office, we were looking toward summer briefing, but not any further
arguments. The Attorney General’s request wasn’t one that could be turned down
lightly, so I did it. I assisted the Task Force through late August when the Senate
passed the service program bill 44-40. That was not a big enough margin to
assure passage in the House and the bill died in that Congress.
I returned to the SG’s Office for the 1963-‘64 term. But in the course of
serving as counsel to the Task Force, I saw something of the Attorney General
and met with him one or a few times. I have a memory of one meeting in which I
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reported to him on what the Task Force was doing. I’m sure he had reports from
others. His friend Hackett was running it. Richard Boone was there who had
been in the Department’s Office of Juvenile Delinquency. I have the strong recall
that Kennedy’s interest was merits oriented and intelligent and quite of a nononsense
nature. He wanted to know what was going on. He wanted to be sure
that the Task Force was focused on a program which would be of real assistance
in Appalachia and in the pocket areas of poverty. I formed a very positive view
of him.
Ms. Garrett: You mentioned during your tenure in the SG’s Office, crossing paths in some
respect with a couple of individuals who later served on the District Court here in
D.C., Harold Greene and Lou Oberdorfer.
Mr. Pollak: Yes.
Ms. Garrett: Tell me about them at that time.
Mr. Pollak: I had met Oberdorfer when I interviewed at Cox, Langford, Stoddard & Cutler.
He was there. That was in probably 1955-‘56. Lou was head of the Tax Division.
Lou was from Birmingham and had close associations there. He had clerked for
Justice Black. His wife Elizabeth came from down that way, Montgomery.
Robert Kennedy looked to him for knowledge of the South in connection with
racial issues and relied on him, as did Burke Marshall. All the while Lou was
running the substantial Tax Division which was responsible for all litigation
relating to Internal Revenue Code matters, as well as tax legislation of concern to
the Department. He was, in fact, a right-hand colleague of Robert Kennedy.
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I have one story about Byron White. I was in the Department when he was
the Deputy Attorney General. I was working way late at night and must have
been working with people including the Deputy. It may have been on some crisis
or another, but I recall walking down Tenth Street, along the west face of the
Department with White. We were talking about influencing the course of the
government. He pointed up towards the building and said, “We’ve got about as
much chance of doing that as moving this building off its foundation.”
(Laughing). It’s a memory. I also remember that I did speak to him when I was
named the head of the Civil Rights Division. He said to me, “Well, that will grow
you up.” I didn’t have much interface with him, but always had high regard for
him. Byron White was a major force in staffing the leadership of the Department
of Justice for Robert Kennedy. He graduated from Yale Law School. Byron
helped identify the best from that school, and that included Burke Marshall, Lou
Oberdorfer, Bill Orrick, and Nick Katzenbach.
Harold Greene was head of the Appeals Section of the Civil Rights
Division. I did not have any real relationship with him while I was in the SG’s
Office. I came to know him when I joined the Civil Rights Division in March of
1965. We crossed paths in the Division for a portion of that year until he was
named to the Court of General Sessions by President Johnson. I had a big role in
presentation of the Voting Rights Act to the Senate, and Harold was a primary
drafter of the statute. I was new to the substantive area, would look to Harold for
guidance, and came to know him well.
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Ms. Garrett: What was he like?
Mr. Pollak: I have spoken about him at various occasions at which he was honored, including
when his portrait was hung at the District Court. My views of him are reflected in
the remarks that I’ve given about him. He had assembled an outstanding office of
appellate lawyers, an office that drafted briefs of excellence in the shortest
possible space of time, because the pace of civil rights events and litigation didn’t
allow any extra margin of time. Issues were always being presented in one court
and then in an appellate court right away, like the question whether the state of
Alabama could prevent the Selma-Montgomery march from taking place.
Harold had a sterling reputation in the Department. He was a leader by
example and by intellect. He was full of enjoyment in what he was doing. He
had a mischievous smile and often made statements of a nature to go with his
countenance. He was just an outstanding member of the Civil Rights Division
and an outstanding lawyer for the government. To set him on the course of being
a judge was a wonderful decision for the country and great for Harold. He was
cut out to be a judge. Harold and his appellate people drew these great civil rights
statutes, the 1964 Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, based upon the facts
that the litigation in which the division was involved produced. The statutes were
well drawn because they stemmed from facts which had been hammered out on
the harsh anvil of that litigation. In voting, for example, the department would
win a case, but then the procedures of the defendant would be changed so that the
registration of minorities would still be denied. The Voting Rights Act was drawn
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to cure that and did. While credit goes to Harold, there are a lot of persons to
whom it goes. Harold was one of those few at the center.
Ms. Garrett: He was also similarly involved in the drafting of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
Mr. Pollak: Probably even more so, or at least equally so. I wasn’t there for that statute which
had been presented in 1963 by President Kennedy to the Congress. It did not
succeed in passage until Kennedy had been slain and succeeded by Johnson.
Harold and the Division had a major role. Of course, pieces of that statute were
added at the urgings of the Congress, particularly, the equal employment
provisions in Title VII. The Department had a lot of concerns about those
provisions, as reflected in the legislative history, concerns that they would sink
the statute.
Ms. Garrett: Gender was one that was added?
Mr. Pollak: Right. The Virginia Congressman, Judge Howard Smith, I recall, head of the
Rules Committee. He thought it would sink the statute, but he was wrong.
Ms. Garrett: It worked out to the benefit of many.
Mr. Pollak: It did. In any event, the Department was the major supporter of those great
statutes and Harold and his people had responsibility for assembling the written
record and drafting the testimony. As Nick Katzenbach has said, when he would
testify on the Hill in support of the Voting Rights Act, he would testify from a
written text prepared by or under Harold Greene’s direction without ever having
read it before delivering it. He had that measure of confidence in Harold Greene.
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I’m sure the testimony was outstanding. Harold was a very enjoyable person to
relate to.
Ms. Garrett: Did you continue your interaction with him after he became a judge?
Mr. Pollak: I did. In 1967, I became President Johnson’s Advisor for National Capital
Affairs. In that position, I had a lot to do with the local court system. Harold was
Chief Judge of the then Court of General Sessions. When Dr. King was slain and
riots broke out in Washington, I was head of the Civil Rights Division. The Civil
Rights Division was looked to by the President and the Attorney General to assist
in addressing the riot conditions and the administration of justice in those mass
arrest situations. I related directly to Harold in his conduct of the Court of
General Sessions. Then, for all the years after, I made it a purpose to see him for
lunch. With our wives, we shared social occasions. In all my time, I had only
one case in front of him.
Ms. Garrett: How did that go?
Mr. Pollak: It was a case for the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds. I think it went
through discovery. We had various motions presented to the Judge. Ultimately, it
settled without the merits being decided, as did most of those cases, of which
there were many. Harold was so quick on the bench. I often talked to him about
what he was doing on the court. When I was going to present remarks at the
hanging of his portrait, I spent time reviewing his papers in relation to the AT&T
case and talking to him about that. Both he and his wife were hurt by the
criticism leveled at the outcome. Some people were saying he was busting up the
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finest telephone service in the world. I thought he did a wonderful job and a great
thing for the country. In any event, he was applying the antitrust laws to the facts
presented to him by the parties.
Ms. Garrett: Some people said he had a reputation of being rather difficult in the courtroom
and in chambers. Did you witness any of that or hear any of that?
Mr. Pollak: No. Like a number of the judges, I think he felt restive under the flood of
criminal drug cases. He was committed in opposition to the Sentencing
Guidelines. I think he hated what they required him to do. He probably was short
with advocates who he thought were presenting positions that were not entitled to
credit. He probably was not happy when bored and perhaps may have been short
with people under those circumstances. But I wasn’t there and don’t know about
Ms. Garrett: You talked a little about Lou Oberdorfer, Judge Oberdorfer. Did you continue to
have any interaction with him after he became a judge in the District Court?
Mr. Pollak: I had important litigation in front of him for the International Ladies’ Garment
Workers’ Union. I represented the ILGWU. The Reagan Administration had
conducted an informal rulemaking leading to the lifting of certain regulations
enforcing the minimum wage/maximum hours provisions of the Fair Labor
Standards Act and adopted in the 1930s as part of the New Deal – the regulations
banning homework in the needle trades and several other industries where “sweat
shop” labor conditions had been endemic. We brought suit for the ILGWU
challenging the rulemaking order lifting the ban on homework as “arbitrary and
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capricious” in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The case was styled
ILGWU v. Donovan. Judge Oberdorfer ruled against me a couple of times in that
litigation. We appealed and the Court of Appeals reversed him. The Judge never
held it against me. I have always been friendly with Judge Oberdorfer. He was
President of the D.C. Bar. I was later on. He and I at different times were cochairs
of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. We went
to Lawyers’ Committee meetings together in New York City before he was on the
bench. I knew him professionally and knew him socially. Starting in the early
1990s, I worked quite closely with him in connection with my heading up the
Oral History Project of the D.C. Circuit’s Historical Society of which he has been
the chair. It has been a close relationship with him in the 1990s and now, the
2000 decade.
The two judges that I was closest to personally were Judge Gesell, who had
been my mentor at Covington, and Judge Harold Greene. I always made it a point
to see them for lunch periodically because the bench is such a cloistered place. I
saw them year in and year out and considered them friends. I was always
fascinated by the lives they were leading as judges. I don’t know if I have spoken
that much about Gesell as a judge.
Ms. Garrett: You haven’t. Would you like to talk some about him?
Mr. Pollak: I have had this long litigation for the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds over
the legality of the clause in the collective bargaining agreement that required
contributions to the Funds on coal purchased. As I mentioned earlier, it was
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challenged as an unlawful “hot cargo clause,” that is, a clause aimed at
encouraging or forcing non-union mining operators to unionize. My
responsibility was to defend the legality of the clause. There were many
litigations brought challenging the clause and many litigations brought by me for
the Funds to collect unpaid royalties required by the clause that led to challenges
to the clause. Those cases were multidistricted in the Western District of
Pennsylvania after we lost a case in the Supreme Court, Mullins v. Kaiser Steel
Corp., reversing a D.C. Circuit decision sustaining the clause on one particular
theory. There were 50 or 60 individual lawsuits involving millions of dollars. I
presented one of those cases to Judge Gesell and, as I said earlier, one to Harold
Greene. I also litigated the same issue in cases before June Green, Joyce Hens
Green, Tom Flannery, and Stan Harris. In the Court of Appeals, I presented the
issues to Malcolm Wilkey and Abner Mikva. I just can’t recall all of the judges
who heard the issues. I was litigating in Birmingham, Alabama; Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania; Beckley, West Virginia; Richmond, Virginia; Springfield,
Missouri; Columbus, Ohio, as well as the District of Columbia − everywhere,
before many, many different judges. In any event, I presented the case to Judge
Gesell on our theories, but couldn’t quite convince him on motions to dismiss or
summary judgment. Previously, in the multidistrict proceedings, the issue of the
legality of the clause on its face was presented in the Third Circuit and the court
held the clause was not illegal on its face. So then we had many, many cases in
which operators contested the legality of the clause as applied to their
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circumstances. One of those cases was presented to Judge Gesell, involving the
Youghiogheny & Ohio Coal Company situated along the Ohio River. It was fun
to litigate that case before Gesell. He addressed whatever issues you presented to
him. I recall his saying to me in one of the lunches I had with him — I didn’t have
lunches when I had a case in front of him, and that goes for Harold Greene as well
— that he thought that whatever issue was presented to him, he owed the parties a
memorandum setting forth his reasons for his ruling. And he did that.
Gesell was a master administrator, he knew how to delegate when he wanted
to delegate, and he knew how to lead. He would have made an excellent
Secretary of Defense back before he ever was a judge. I think he had some hopes
of being asked to hold a high position in the Kennedy Administration. I believe
he was asked if he wanted to be head of the Criminal Division.
Ms. Garrett: By President Kennedy?
Mr. Pollak: Well, by somebody. But he did not consider that was something he wanted to do
at that stage of his life.
Ms. Garrett: Did the Department of Defense come up with him?
Mr. Pollak: I don’t know that it came up with him other than in my mind. He was named to
the bench at about the same time that my nomination as Assistant Attorney
General for Civil Rights was announced. That was a coincidence.
Ms. Garrett: Is there any more that you want to say about Judge Gesell on the bench?
Mr. Pollak: There is so much that one could say about him. He was an outstandingly effective
attorney in private practice. Anybody who had him as their lawyer was fortunate.
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All the time that I worked with him I never heard him express a hankering to be a
judge, but it was a master stroke that put him on the bench. He was I think an
outstanding judge and was really cut out to do it. He was restive as a judge with
the flood of drug cases and equal employment cases. When significant criminal
jurisdiction was moved from the District Court to the Superior Court in 1972,
Judge Gesell didn’t approve of that. He didn’t want to lose the more significant
matters that his Court was dealing with. He expressed to me one time a concern
that he wasn’t on the federal bench to be a personnel administrator, which is what
he thought many Title VII cases involved. He had strong views. He was
impatient with formal trappings of life and bureaucracy. Some aspects of service
as a judge made him impatient, but not the carrying out of the business of being a
judge and administering justice.
Ms. Garrett: Anything else on Judge Gesell; any anecdotes that you want to share?
Mr. Pollak: No. He just was a great trainer of me and made my life in the law richer and more
rewarding and enjoyable. My major mentors have been Gerry Gesell and
Archibald Cox. They knew how to practice law, how to cut square corners, and
were great minds. They were very confident men. I was fortunate to serve with
them in one capacity or another. I worked with many great lawyers and persons:
Burke Marshall, John Doar, Harold Greene, and my partners here at Shea&
Gardner, Larry Latto, Bill Dempsey, Wendy White, Tony Lapham. I’ve been
Ms. Garrett: I think we had almost finished our discussion of your time in the SG’s Office.
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Mr. Pollak: Right.
Ms. Garrett: I think you had just returned from your time with the Task Force on the National
Service Program and you were there.
Mr. Pollak: I came back. I handled my responsibilities in the SG’s office. Kennedy was
slain. Life hobbled along and President Johnson asked Shriver to head up an
effort to achieve a broad anti-poverty program. The bill was drafted under the
direction of the Office of Legal Counsel at Justice which was then headed by
Norb Schlei, my law school classmate. That had gotten underway probably in
early 1964 and was part way along, Schlei asked me to draft the portion that
would create a domestic peace corps for inclusion in the bill. I did that while still
serving in the SG’s office and continued to have some relationship with the
legislative effort insofar as assembling the material for support of that portion of
the legislation dealing with the domestic peace corps. The lawyers for the Task
Force on the War Against Poverty, as it was called, headed by Shriver, were
Murray Schwartz who later became a dean of UCLA Law School and was at the
time a professor there, and Harold Horowitz who was or had been General
Counsel of HEW. Hal had been on the faculty at the UCLA Law School before
joining the Kennedy Administration. Murray would fly in each week from L.A.
to spend some of his time helping Shriver. When those two men returned to the
law school in 1964 in the later spring, I succeeded them as Shriver’s lawyer and
then worked with Shriver to support presentation of the legislation to the
Congress. There were three of us who were the supporting personnel. Two were
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in the Bureau of the Budget, Ann Oppenheimer and Chris Weeks. We were the
working staff. I pulled away from the SG’s office and started doing this full time.
Ms. Garrett: Were you still employed by the SG’s Office and detailed to this task force?
Mr. Pollak: That is what it must have been. Adam Yarmolinsky was Shriver’s deputy and
Shriver had a charming capability of pulling major figures into his activities.
There was a whole cadre of persons with national names who were working with
him in dealing with the Congress, but the paper materials and inside efforts were
handled by Weeks, Oppenheimer and myself, as I recall, with direction from
Shriver and Yarmolinsky. As matters went along, I worked with members of the
Congress and dealt with drafting the statute and developing its legislative history.
There’s a story I’ve related elsewhere, probably in the oral history I did for the
Archives back in 1969: Congressman Frank Thompson of New Jersey was a
major supporter of the legislation and was a major figure on the Education and
Labor Committee of the House which held hearings on the bill. He and I thought
up the name of the domestic peace corps, VISTA. He thought of the name and I
gave the letters their meaning, which was. “Volunteers in Service to America.”
We did that one day in his office. I brought the name home to my children and
they laughed and said, “Dad, that can’t be the name, VISTA is a car wax.”
Anyway, it became the name. I had very close associations with the persons on
the House Education and Labor Committee as a result and with various Senate
people. Some of the old National Service Program people came over and worked
on the poverty bill. Dick Boone was a major figure on the community action
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portion. That was a whole activity until the bill passed in the summer of ‘64.
Then I worked with Shriver on getting a budget appropriation which passed in
late August 1964. Then we launched the program. I had a major role setting up
the law office and hiring attorneys.
Ms. Garrett: And this was with the Office of Economic Opportunity?
Mr. Pollak: Yes. The location of my office kept shifting because we had temporary quarters.
First, I remember being at the corner of M and 15th Streets, the southwest corner
of M, across from the Madison Hotel. It was reportedly a building in which there
was a brothel in World War II. Then our offices moved to 19th and M. Shriver
brought in the Counsel to the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee,
Donald M. Baker, to be General Counsel and he named me Deputy General
Counsel. Don was a wonderful colleague. I hired Jim Heller, Tony Partridge and
Jim Siena as attorneys, got them to come on board, and we helped create the
poverty program. I was disappointed that Shriver didn’t name me the General
Counsel, but my zeal for the program and for the challenge of creating it was not
diminished. I knew I was a walking encyclopedia of the legislative history and
the meaning of the statute. I had wonderful files of the development of the
legislation which I left at the Office when I went to the Civil Rights Division in
March of 1965.
At that time, about March 1965, Robert Kennedy had resigned as Attorney
General. He was running for the Senate. Burke Marshall, who headed the Civil
Rights Division, was retiring, and John Doar, his deputy, was succeeding him.
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Nick Katzenbach who succeeded Kennedy as Attorney General asked me if I
wanted to interview to be Doar’s deputy. I had always wanted to be in the Civil
Rights Division. Originally, I wanted to go there in 1961 with Burke Marshall. I
said yes I wanted to interview and did so. John Doar offered the job to me, and I
took it. I felt conflicted about leaving the poverty program in its infancy, and I
thought I would not have done so had I been General Counsel but that as Deputy I
could bow out. I wanted to be in the Department of Justice and thought I was
more of a litigation lawyer anyway. I wrote a letter to Shriver explaining my
decision and will attach it to this history.
There were fascinating issues that Don Baker and I dealt with at OEO,
sometimes in the middle of the night, when Shriver was wanting to make grants
and get the program going. We were writing memoranda on whether grants could
be made to church-related organizations. Don was a strong Catholic as was
Shriver and we were battling out those issues, drawing those lines.
Ms. Garrett: I wanted to ask you a little about that since you had some experience with the
issue. What are your thoughts on how that issue was developed, particularly in
the current Administration now being referred to as grants to faith-based
Mr. Pollak: I have always had a strong belief in the separation of church and state called for
by the Constitution. The poverty program had maybe six titles establishing
operating programs. Title I created the Job Corps. Title VI enumerated the
powers given the central management; and created VISTA. The question whether
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religious-related organizations could be recipients of funds came up primarily in
connection with community action grants pursuant to Title II. I don’t remember
exactly where we drew the line, but we concluded that the Constitution did not
bar funding of programs fighting poverty that were managed by religious-related
entities. That’s my recollection. Shriver wanted that outcome, not because he
wanted to fund religious organizations, but because those groups — and I’m using
the term “groups” loosely because often they were created especially to be
recipients of OEO grants — were committed to serving the poor and what we
wanted to do was to get programs going that would serve the poor. I recall
battling through the issue with Don Baker in the middle of the night because
Shriver was announcing grants in the morning. I’m sure that the archives will
include the memoranda that we sent to him on this issue.
But I want to relate one thing that seems relevant also to today’s issues.
There is much talk about wanting locally-based organizations to make their own
decisions. We had money to fund community action activities. Many of the
would-be applicants came to us at OEO and said tell us what to do. Tell us what
we should apply for and we’ll apply. They didn’t know what they wanted. They
needed the leadership of the federal government to get it going. That has always
influenced me in thinking that the federal government has a call on outstanding
minds to create these programmatic activities. To push the programs out of
Washington and out of the federal government into the states is often a sacrifice
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of substance. On the other hand, states have more call on good personnel today
than then. I’m not a dogmatist on that issue.
I had a lot of contact with Shriver who was a man with a million ideas. He
was a good leader for that effort. Another person who was active in community
action was Lisle Carter, whose son Steve Carter is a well-known professor at Yale
Law. Lisle later became President of the Federal City College and president of a
consortium of black colleges in Atlanta. At the time we were working together at
OEO, Lisle perceptively said that what the poverty program was about was
breaking the bonds of the federal bureaucracy and forcing the federal government
into activities which the bureaucracy was not doing and was unwilling to change
to do. He said what OEO was really about was to get these activities going which
then at a later point would be absorbed into the old line departments and have
futures there. In a lot of respects, that is what happened, except for the
community action program, which I think got axed because it was not beholden to
political leaders across the country and because it was fighting for the poor. I
know that Mayor Daley of Chicago (the first Mayor Daley) had objections to
giving any money in Illinois or at least in Chicago to community action
organizations unless it was given under his auspices. I think he succeeded
requiring the money to be devolved as he wanted. He had that clout. It was a lot
of “réal-politique.”
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Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Sixth Interview-April 11, 2003
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is Katia Garrett. The interview took place at the Shea & Gardner law firm at
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, in the District of Columbia on Friday, April 11, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.
This is the sixth interview.
Ms. Garrett: Steve, we were chatting just before I turned the tape on about your reviewing of
the transcript of the last interview. Was there anything you wanted to add?
Mr. Pollak: Since we last met, I had a telephone call from Charlie Ferris. He was a main aide
to Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and played a significant role in the Senate’s
crafting of the Mansfield-Dirksen compromise which became the Voting Rights
Act of 1965. I participated with Charlie and others in that effort. Charlie, who
was calling to obtain some facts about those events now almost 40 years ago for a
speech he was giving, recounted a marvelous story which I would like to record
for history.
He said that after the Selma-Montgomery march and President Johnson’s
pressure on the Congress to pass a statute to assure that Blacks could register and
vote without discrimination, Majority Leader Mansfield learned that Attorney
General Katzenbach had been up to the Senate and met with the Republican
Minority Leader, Senator Everett Dirksen. Mansfield understood that Katzenbach
had reviewed with Dirksen the terms of the bill that President Johnson wanted the
Senate to pass. Mansfield was, according to Charlie and the press at the time, a
man of few words and a man of an iron will, and he was obviously miffed that the
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Democratic Attorney General had not met with him. He instructed Charlie to
prepare a workable piece of voting rights legislation one page long that would be
his bill, Senator Mansfield’s bill. Charlie took him seriously and left the meeting
without any idea of what he would do. It seemed to him impossible that he could
craft on one page an entire voting rights act, when the current bill or the bill that
had passed the House was 62 pages. Mansfield instructed him to have nothing to
do with the Department of Justice.
Charlie recounted that Burke Marshall, who had been at Justice as head of the
Civil Rights Division since 1961, had left the Department and was waiting at
Covington & Burling before joining IBM as its chief lawyer. He called Burke
and got together with Burke and Harold Greene and they worked up a bill that
they typed single spaced and crammed as much on a page as they could and also
changed or eliminated provisions. He said there were a lot of findings recounted
in the draft and they got rid of those. He then took that bill to Mansfield and he
also encouraged Katzenbach to come up and make his amends with Mansfield.
As Charlie told it, the confluence of a second Katzenbach visit and the draft that
Marshall, Greene and Ferris had worked on broke that log jam. I had not known
any of that history.
Ms. Garrett: You were involved in the drafting of the Voting Rights Act and sort of the
shepherding of it through the legislative process, is that right?
Mr. Pollak: My involvement came following the Selma-Montgomery march, which was at the
end of March in 1965. When I returned to Washington, perhaps in early April,
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the Attorney General asked me to represent the Administration in working with
the Senate on getting the voting rights bill to the floor. It was in that role that I
participated in the development of the Voting Rights Act. I participated in the
meetings with the staff of Senator Dirksen. There were three led by Neil
Kennedy and including Bernie Waters and Clyde Flynn. Those were the Dirksen
people and there were also Bill Welch of Senator Hart’s office, Charlie Ferris
representing Senator Mansfield and myself. Sometimes Senator Philip A. Hart sat
in on our meetings. We went through the draft bill, S. 1564, reported favorably
by 12 members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Senators Eastland of
Mississippi, McClellan of Arkansas, and Ervin of North Carolina adopted
statements of two witnesses who labeled the bill unnecessary and invalid. As I
recounted in the oral history I did in 1969, the Dirksen staffers called upon the
small drafting group to review every section and subsection of the bill, one by
one. There came to be significant changes in the order of the sections. So, many
changes in the order of the provisions and some changes in substance were
hammered out, and I played the role of scribe. Again, as I have recounted
elsewhere, I had scissors and I had scotch tape. It was long before computers.
And I had the draft bill we began with. As the group negotiated through the bill, I
would scissors out the old provisions. I would scotch tape them onto yellow
paper in the order that they were being considered, give them the new section and
subsection numbers, give them the new editings right on the yellow pad. As
provisions from the old bill were not incorporated in the new bill, I left them in a
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pile underneath my chair. Then at the end of the negotiation session when we had
gone through a particular portion of the bill, I would pick up the leavings from the
floor and ask the assembled group whether a provision, which I would read out
loud, was intentionally meant to be omitted or whether it needed to be included in
order to make the procedures have cogency. Very often, all in the room agreed
that an omitted provision should be incorporated and we would either find the
place to incorporate it or leave it for our next meeting to determine how to
incorporate it. So, in the end, among the things that I did in scissoring up these
provisions was to assure that anything we didn’t include was intentionally
omitted. I came to believe that the Dirksen representatives were committed to
having an effective Voting Rights Act; that they really didn’t have a position that
it should be significantly different in substance from the bill approved by the 12
Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, except in some more limited ways,
one of which I can recount. But they did want the bill to be changed in its
appearance because it was important as a political matter for the Republican Party
to be able to say it had played a major role in the crafting of the Voting Rights
Act. It was in that series of meetings that the change in appearance was
Now, a substantive change that I recall was made and that was a major
matter of discussion at the very highest levels — certainly Attorney General
Katzenbach, certainly Senator Mansfield, certainly Senator Dirksen – involved
the poll tax. S. 1564 and the House bill (H.R. 6400) provided that no state shall
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deny any person the right to register or vote because of a failure to pay a poll tax.
Senator Dirksen’s people opposed that and the compromise was that the bill
would direct the Attorney General immediately to bring lawsuits to have the poll
tax struck down as violative of the Constitution wherever there was a poll tax.
There were poll taxes required by state law in Virginia, Mississippi, Texas and
Alabama. The bill, with that revised provision and other changes agreed to in the
working group, was then introduced by Senators Mansfield and Dirksen, adopted
by the Senate, concurred in by the House, and signed by Johnson on August 6,
1965. On the day after it was signed, the Justice Department was ready and filed
suit in Mississippi seeking a declaration that the poll tax was invalid under the
Constitution and an order enjoining its enforcement. Three days later, we filed
similar suits in Alabama, Virginia and Texas. There were other substantive
changes in the voting rights bill worked out by the group.
Ms. Garrett: And one of those cases made it up to the Supreme Court, didn’t it?
Mr. Pollak: In point of fact, that is not so. The cases that were brought by the Department of
Justice were presented before three-judge federal district courts. The suit against
Texas was styled United States v. State of Texas. I presented that case and tried it.
It was decided February 9, 1966, by a three-judge court in an opinion by Circuit
Judge Homer Thornberry. The Court held that requirement of a poll tax as a
precondition to voting was an unjustified restriction on one of the most basic
rights guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The
Court placed significant reliance on the finding of Congress stated in
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Section 10(a) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Congress’s declaration, based
on those findings that the constitutional right of citizens to vote is denied by the
requirement of payment of a poll tax. The opinion is reported at 252 F. Supp.
I was also responsible for presenting the Virginia and Alabama cases.
Someone else in the Civil Rights Division presented the Mississippi case. I do
not believe the Alabama, Virginia and Mississippi cases were ruled on. Before
any of those cases could be heard by the Supreme Court, a case brought
separately by the American Civil Liberties Union called Harper v. Virginia State
Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), was decided by the Supreme Court. The
Court held the poll tax unconstitutional. That then was the final denouement of
the poll tax. The Harper decision reached an opposite conclusion from an earlier
Supreme Court decision, Breedlove v. Settles [302 U.S. 277 (1937)], which
upheld the poll tax. I put major effort into the Texas case spending a large
amount of time as First Assistant in the Division in Texas developing the proof
for that case.
Ms. Garrett: How did you develop the proof for that case? Are there any interesting stories
that emerged from either the litigation of that or the Virginia or Alabama cases?
Mr. Pollak: There were a number of Civil Rights Division attorneys who worked with me on
these poll tax cases. Alexander Ross, Gerald Jones, David Norman, and others
helped on the Texas case. I retained Dagmar Hamilton as a special Justice
employee. She was an attorney whose husband had been a Washington attorney
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and had relocated to Austin, Texas, where he was a professor of law at the
University of Texas Law School. Dagmar helped find witnesses in the state of
Texas who could testify to the burdens imposed by the poll tax on the poor and
Blacks. We did many things that I thought were creative. There was no
legislative history kept at the time the Texas Legislature adopted the poll tax, so
we couldn’t go to the legislative history to show that the poll tax was adopted
with a discriminatory intent to preclude voting by Blacks, but we believed that
was the case. We determined to present to the Court as proof of the
discriminatory intent contemporaneous newspaper articles that quoted members
of the Legislature. We researched back in the archives of the post-Civil War
period when the poll tax was adopted by Texas and found news articles which,
sure enough, reflected the anti-Black intent of the members of the Legislature.
We got all of them sealed with big red wax seals attesting their authenticity so
that we could put them before the Court. We did and the Court accepted them as
proof at the trial.
We made an effort to present to the Court facts respecting poll tax
payments and racial information with respect to most of Texas’s 256 counties.
That was a tremendous task. It was our intention to present proof that the poll tax
denied equal protection of the laws to the Blacks. Our theory was that because of
state supported discrimination against Blacks – segregation and unequal funding
of education and other public facilities and other state-supported discrimination –
Blacks had lower incomes than whites and this condition made it more difficult
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for Blacks as a class than whites as a class to pay the poll tax and qualify to
register and vote. The state’s poll tax was a small dollar amount, $1.75. We
identified a woman in the Social Security Administration named Mollie
Orshansky who had developed the facts leading to the identification of the
“poverty line” for family income. I prepared Mollie to give a deposition in each
of the four cases. She testified to the barrier the poll tax imposed upon persons of
low income. The development of those lines of proof was interesting and
Ms. Garrett: The amount of $1 or $2 or $4.50 in today’s terms doesn’t sound like much
money, but at the time, the economic scale was somewhat different?
Mr. Pollak: Right. The question for any individual or minority individual was, “Do you want
to spend that money to cast a vote or for food or housing?”
There is a story that can be found in the deposition of Ms. Orshansky in
the Alabama case. The reason there were depositions was that these
constitutional cases were heard by three-judge courts, generally made up of two
appellate judges and one district court judge. The judges wanted the trial to be
presented to them on paper with depositions and documents and briefs and
proposed findings of fact. In the Alabama case which was defended by Governor
Wallace and the state, we, the Department of Justice, noticed the deposition of
Ms. Orshansky to take place in the United States Courthouse in Montgomery,
Alabama. We ascertained that Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., who was the
managing member of the three-judge court, along with appellate Judges Rives and
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Gewin, would be in the courthouse so that if there were disputes, we could take
them to the Judge. In any event, there were several lawyers or at least two
representing the state. One of them, named Kohn, represented Governor Wallace.
On cross-examination of Ms. Orshansky, this exchange occurred. First, Ms.
Orshansky was an unmarried woman of some years. She had gray, somewhat
thinning hair. In the course of his cross examination, Mr. Kohn asked her
whether she had ever dated, as he said, a “Nigra.” Just what his purpose was, I’m
not sure, but he may have been hoping to show that she either was prejudiced or
considered that Negroes were not sufficiently intelligent to have dates with. She
answered his question by saying, “No.” He then demanded, “And for what
reason?” Her answer, spoken softly, was, “I was never asked.”
Ms. Garrett: That’s brilliant.
Mr. Pollak: There were other lines of proof in these cases. We went around Texas hunting for
witnesses who could say, particularly minority witnesses, who could say that the
poll tax was a burden to their voting. We would not have embarked on the Mollie
Orshansky line of proof if we had found what we were looking for in witnesses
living in the State.
Waggoner Carr was the Attorney General of the state of Texas and he
presented the state’s case at the trial. I and my team got all of this extensive proof
ready to submit to the Court. The state wasn’t objecting to our proof; at least I
don’t recall that they tried to keep it out, except for the newspaper clippings
reporting the debates when the poll tax was adopted. The trial was held in District
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Judge Adrian Spears’ courtroom in Austin. I remember going into the men’s
room alone just before the Court convened and thinking to myself, “My, am I
really doing this? Is all of this really going to happen without some terrible
outcome?” Because I thought the proof was so extensive, I wondered how it
would all go in. My recollection is that it went in pretty readily. I draw a blank
on what Texas put in. The trial consumed half of that day. Then, we retired to
prepare our briefs. I have the briefs at home. We wrote them on long paper. Our
brief was more than 100 pages and we had a compendia of exhibits and findings
that filled five or six additional lengthy documents of 50 to 100 pages each. My
recollection is that the Court promptly rendered a decision. The Voting Rights
Act became law on August 6, 1965. The District Court decision came down in
February 1966. We filed the case, tried it, briefed it, and the Court decided it
unanimously in less than seven months.
While the Texas Court recognized the facts we presented and ruled against
the poll tax, it did not accept some of the significant legal conclusions we drew
from the facts. It found that the primary purpose of the 1902 amendment of the
Texas Constitution requiring payment of a poll tax was the desire to
disenfranchise Negroes and poor whites but held that this invidious purpose more
than 50 years ago was not alone sufficient for declaring the tax unconstitutional.
It recognized that the dual structure of Society in post-Civil War Texas resulted in
the denial of equal opportunities to Blacks. The Court held that this evidence did
not establish that the poll tax discriminates against Blacks in violation of the
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Fifteenth Amendment or the Equal Protection Clause. It said that in the last 20
years the record showed no overt use of the poll tax to deprive Blacks of the right
to vote and no instances of outright discrimination. Fortunately, noting that the
right to vote is one of the fundamental personal rights protected by the Due
Process Clause, the Court reviewed each of the suggested justifications for
conditioning that right on payment of a poll tax and found none sufficiently
compelling to sustain the tax. In reaching this conclusion, the Court noted that
Texas had abandoned the most reasonable means for collecting the tax and so
rejected funding of the government as a justification. It concluded that the tax
infringes on the concept of liberty protected by the Due Process Clause and
constituted an invalid charge on the exercise of “one or our most precious rights –
the right to vote.”
We went through the same drill in Alabama and Virginia. I remember
arguing before the three-judge panel in Alabama, and recall my father and my
secretary being there. Having a date to argue the Virginia case the following day
in Richmond, I chartered a plane to take us from Montgomery to Richmond in
time to present the next case. That’s the only time I ever did that.
Ms. Garrett: So your father had come in from Chicago?
Mr. Pollak: Right.
Ms. Garrett: How wonderful.
Mr. Pollak: Yes.
Ms. Garrett: Was this the only argument that he saw of yours?
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Mr. Pollak: I think that he may have come down when I had Supreme Court arguments in the
SG’s Office, or one of them. I’m sure he did. But this was the only Civil Rights
Division case that he attended. And he must have attended my arguments in
Montgomery, Alabama and in Richmond, in both of those cases. That’s a nice
memory for me.
Ms. Garrett: He must have been very proud.
Mr. Pollak: Well, I’m sure he was. That is what fathers do.
Ms. Garrett: True enough. Coming back to Washington on the Voting Rights Act of ‘65, what
interaction if any did you have with the broader civil rights community
surrounding the passage of the Act and its implementation?
Mr. Pollak: My recollection is pretty dim. I had interactions with Clarence Mitchell who was
the NAACP’s representative in Washington and was then or soon thereafter
referred to as the 101st Senator. Clarence was a Baltimore person, came from a
significant and well-respected Baltimore family. I had great regard for him as a
person and for his integrity, for his knowledge and for the constructive
contribution he made to the development of the civil rights legislation. His
lawyer on these matters was Joe Rauh and I may have had some contact with the
two of them respecting the Voting Rights Act. But I don’t recall that I had
contact with leaders of other civil rights organizations. I think those contacts fell
more to the Attorney General or to John Doar who was the Assistant Attorney
General in charge of the Division. I recall myself working more away from
public contacts. I recall having contacts with some of the Senators, but not a large
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number. But certainly Senator Hart of Michigan. Some with Senator Mansfield,
the Majority Leader.
Ms. Garrett: You came to the Civil Rights Division after leaving OEO in March of ‘65. Is it
correct that the Administration’s civil rights activities were being consolidated in
the Department of Justice around that time?
Mr. Pollak: There was a committee under the chairmanship of Vice President Humphrey that
was concerned with civil rights. Its staff leader was David Filvaroff. Wiley
Branton, who had been a significant civil rights leader in Arkansas and had played
a significant role in civil rights advances, had come to Washington and was
working with that committee. In addition, there was the Civil Rights
Commission, which was a statutory body created by the 1957 Civil Rights Act. It
was a fact-finding body. Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, President of Notre Dame,
was a member of the Commission, John A. Hannah, President of Michigan State
University, was chairman, and it was a player. Those were the three
governmental agencies, using the term loosely, that were concerned generally
with civil rights. It was the view of the Attorney General, John Doar, and myself
that the Civil Rights Division, because of its litigation experience in the South,
was in the best position to develop for the Administration and for the President,
the facts and to recommend policy positions and legislative positions on civil
rights. We thought — and here I refer to myself and the others I’ve named — that
the Humphrey Committee was less well-informed, not being out in the field —
– 137 –
although not less well motivated — and in addition was more open to the pressures
of the civil rights community.
So, to the extent the Attorney General and the Division had any say in the
matter, we were desirous that the President look to the Civil Rights Division for
his counsel respecting civil rights positions. And that is the way it developed.
Ultimately, Wiley Branton became a Special Assistant to the Attorney General,
and the Humphrey committee withered away. The Civil Rights Commission
continued to hold hearings, developing significant facts on civil rights issues and
those factual records became the text for recommendations of needed legislation
and for pressuring federal departments and agencies to act more positively on
civil rights.
It was the subject of much debate during the ‘60s and often criticism of the
Kennedy and Johnson Administrations that the government, particularly the
Department of Justice, was not sufficiently responsive to the concerns of the civil
rights community. The view of those of us in the Division was that the job of the
civil rights community was to press for as far-reaching action by the government
as it could achieve and the job of the government was to make judgments in the
interests of the good of the nation. To do that, we had to assess each issue on the
facts and the merits. We respected the members of the civil rights community but
we were not ready to act only at their bidding. I think that’s the right posture for
the government to take in that situation. My view is that the Kennedy and
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Johnson Administrations were committed to achieving objectives that were key to
ending discrimination on account of race.
Later, in 1968 when I was Assistant Attorney General and Ramsey Clark
was Attorney General, the women’s movement began to contend for an
adjustment in commitment of the resources of the Department of Justice to apply
more resources to the elimination of discrimination on account of gender. That
collided with our priorities on elimination of discrimination on account of race. I
recall a meeting that the Attorney General and I had with all of the leaders of the
women’s movement in the Attorney General’s large office. My recollection is
that the leaders of all of the women’s organizations were there. I recall
Congresswoman Bella Abzug with a big hat, which was her trademark, Jane Hart,
Senator Hart’s wife, Dorothy Height, President of the National Council of Negro
Women, Betty Friedan and perhaps eight others were there.
Ms. Garrett: Gloria Steinem.
Mr. Pollak: Gloria Steinem was there. They were all there.
Ms. Garrett: How did that meeting go?
Mr. Pollak: I don’t think any transcript was taken. One of the women leaders said to Attorney
General Clark, “Mr. Attorney General, we believe discrimination against women”
– this was in 1968, soon after Dr. King had been slain. It was after the riots in the
urban areas, unrest among Blacks. The leader of the group said, “Mr. Attorney
General, we believe the number one problem in civil rights is discrimination on
account of gender.” I think it’s fair to say that the Attorney General and I were
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not of that view. We believed that the number one problem was discrimination on
account of race. But it was a consciousness-raising meeting for me and an
important one. At that time, the Civil Rights Division had probably between 80
and 90 attorneys, so we didn’t have a lot of person-power to address civil rights
problems across the United States. Race and gender discrimination being, in
those days, the major areas as to which the Department had statutory jurisdiction.
Ms. Garrett: Interesting. And that was after you became the AAG?
Mr. Pollak: Right. By then I had become the Assistant Attorney General.
Ms. Garrett: Let’s back up for a second to your first term there when John Doar was the
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. What was it like working for John
Doar? You’re smiling.
Mr. Pollak: Yes, well, John was a revered leader in the Division. He was in total control of
the Division. Nobody went anywhere or did anything without John’s approval.
He had attorneys out in the South — all over the South — and there was a great
deal of travel out of town by Civil Rights Division attorneys. The focus of the
division in 1965 and ‘66 was on Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, with lesser
focus on the other states of the Old South and still lesser focus on areas outside
the South, probably very little focus. When I joined the Division, the Division
had under 50 attorneys, so there wasn’t much margin for law enforcement broadly
across too many states. John went south himself all the time. He was often out of
town and it fell to me to manage the Division from Washington. He managed it
either through me and others or directly by telephone with care and attention
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wherever he was, even though those were days before cell phones. The most
difficult cases, criminal and civil, he supervised and prepared and tried them as
Assistant Attorney General. I thought he was an inspiring leader. Everyone else
who was in the division and the Department thought the same thing, at least as far
as I knew then or now.
One of his great achievements was not a particular trial, but the prompt
and virtually flawless implementation of the Voting Rights Act. The Voting
Rights Act brought about a sea change in the governing of the electoral processes,
of registration and voting. Setting and implementing the qualifications and
procedures for registration and voting had always been the prerogative of the
states. The Voting Rights Act gave the authority to the United States in the States
and counties covered by the statute. The statute set qualifications for registration
and voting. It provided that the Attorney General could send in what were called
“examiners” to register persons in states and counties where less than 50% of the
voting age population had voted in the last presidential election (reflecting that
state and local authorities had been discriminating); that the Attorney General or
the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had to approve any changes in
practices or procedures for voting before they could go into effect. All literacy
tests or other tests for registration were proscribed in those states and counties.
All of those new statutory provisions had to be communicated to the county
officials who managed registration and voting in all the geographical areas
covered by the statute. Then, if they wouldn’t comply with the new law, action
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had to be taken to put in examiners or, when elections came, actions had to be
taken to have “observers,” poll watchers, on the scene. Where votes were denied,
lawsuits had to be brought so that the rights of minorities were vindicated. On the
day or the day after the Voting Rights Act was signed, Attorney General
Katzenbach sent an explanatory letter, the division had prepared, to the
responsible official in every county covered by the new statute. Each probate
judge in Alabama, the local authority responsible for voting and registration in
every covered county, got one. Over 500 such letters were sent, maybe more.
They told the local officials what the law provided, told them if they obeyed the
law they would not have any federal personnel come in to their jurisdiction, but if
they didn’t, they would immediately have federal personnel there. The examiners
and observers were personnel of the Civil Service Commission. In advance of the
statute becoming law, under John’s direction, we worked with John Macy who
was the head of the Civil Service Commission. We worked with Wilson
Matthews of the Commission to set up all of the procedures for putting in
examiners, what they would do, and what the rules would be. We had all of that
ready to go on the day the Voting Rights Act was signed. The right findings were
written up and Attorney General Katzenbach certified nine counties for
examiners. In the week that followed, examiners were put into perhaps 10 to 15
additional counties. But it was always selective, based upon the facts.
Justification memoranda were written to the Attorney General to establish that
each examiner appointment recommended by the Division was warranted.
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One of John’s fundamental principles was that the federal government
would act to send in federal examiners only where the state and local authorities
were unwilling to apply the law fairly and without discrimination. His theory was
that the federal government would oust the local authorities of their
responsibilities only where they were unwilling to comply with the law because in
the long run, his view was, the local authorities would have to be relied on to do
the job. Where local authorities were willing to obey the law, examiners were not
assigned. I think that was a major success of the Voting Rights Act. There was
no federal occupation of these responsibilities except where the state pressed
forward with discrimination. Three months after the statute passed, the Civil
Rights Commission published a study – “The Voting Rights Act . . . the First
Months” – that, I recall, criticized Attorney General Katzenbach for not assigning
examiners more broadly across the South. I always thought the report was
mistaken. The results of the policy we followed in enforcing the Voting Rights
Act proved not only the success of the legislation, but the success of our policy of
selective assignments. When the Voting Rights Act was passed, we had a
notebook, indeed, I’ve got a copy in my library, that collected the facts on
registration of Blacks and whites in each of the covered areas. In Mississippi, six
percent of the Blacks were registered in 1965. We kept the statistics up to date
every week or so and within a short period of time, Mississippi was up over
50 percent Black registration. Local authorities were doing the registration in the
large majority of counties. I recall it was John’s view that most local authorities
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were committed to applying the law: If you told them what the law was, they
would comply with it once the pressures of state government to discriminate were
John was inspiring in all respects and an enjoyable colleague to work with.
Much as he had a hand in everything that was going on, he gave his colleagues
full authority to do their work. His standards were very high and everyone tried
to meet them.
Ms. Garrett: You mentioned that an award was created carrying his name.
Mr. Pollak: Yes.
Ms. Garrett: Tell me a little bit about that.
Mr. Pollak: During the Clinton years, on the 35th or 40th anniversary of the Division, there was
a ceremony announcing that the Attorney General had determined that the highest
award for performance by a division attorney would be named the John Doar
Award. That was universally acclaimed. I did not serve in the Civil Rights
Division while it was headed by Burke Marshall, but in acclaiming John’s
performance as Assistant Attorney General, I would add that John thought that the
leadership of Burke Marshall through the period 1961-‘65 was outstanding. He
revered Burke and looked to Burke during his tenure as Assistant Attorney
General for advice and counsel. I, too, hold Burke Marshall’s leadership of the
government on civil rights in the highest regard. I consider that his position on
the restraint that the federal government should show in approaching civil rights
law enforcement, founded on fundamental principles of federalism, to have been
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deeply influential throughout the 1960s and pivotal to the restoration of order in
the desegregating South. I agreed with his views, which were subject to a lot of
criticism. During the period when he was Assistant Attorney General, the civil
rights organizations were having sit-ins and other significant activities in the
South which led to attacks on individuals and civil rights organizations. Many
people thought that the federal government should have taken over the police
function in communities where these attacks were occurring. It was the view of
Burke and John Doar in those days that the federal government could not and
should not do so. I think that was the correct view, except where compliance with
the orders of a federal court was at issue as in the case of the admission of James
Meredith to the University of Mississippi or the Selma-Montgomery march where
the Alabama guard was federalized. There are occasions in law enforcement
where supervening federal authority is proper. But in general, and this has
interesting parallels to problems we are now facing in Iraq, if we are going to
have a civil society that is able to navigate on its own, Uncle Sam can’t step in on
the way and take it all over.
Ms. Garrett: We’ve seen problems with that in Afghanistan recently. Hopefully we are not due
for a repeat of that in Iraq. These interviews are taking place against a fairly
turbulent global backdrop but they are about a much more turbulent domestic
time, I think it’s fair to say.
Mr. Pollak: John Doar was also a major player in advising the President and Department of
Defense with respect to urban riots and the handling of those situations.
– 145 –
Ms. Garrett: Did you have any involvement with the Administration’s role in the developing
policy or determining a course of action with respect to any of these riots during
your first stint in the Civil Rights Division?
Mr. Pollak: The riots in the Watts section of Los Angeles occurred, I recall, in that 1965-66
period. I did not have a role in Watts. I don’t recall a particular role with respect
to urban unrest. I had a role when I went to the White House as the President’s
Advisor on the National Capital Area. I was there from February 1967 through
probably October of 1967. The summer of 1967 was the so-called “hot summer,”
meaning that there were concerns about unrest in Washington and elsewhere. The
President charged me with responsibility for keeping Washington cool in the
summer and having programs for young people. I worked with Deputy Secretary
Vance and General Counsel Paul Warnke of the Department of Defense and we
got buses and programs for young people. I hired Bruce Terris, who had been in
the SG’s office with me and was active in city affairs, to play a major role in
working to keep the city cool. I carried those learnings with me back to the
Department when we faced the riots following the slaying of Dr. King in
April 1968.
Ms. Garrett: I’d like to ask you about your time as the Advisor to the President for National
Capital Affairs, but I want to make sure that you have finished up with anything
you wanted to highlight for your first stint in the Civil Rights Division from 1965
to early 1967. Was there anything you wanted to add about that time?
– 146 –
Mr. Pollak: I was impressed with the caliber of the people working in the division, from John
Doar down. I would record for history that John who joined the Division as First
Assistant to Harold Tyler at the end of the Eisenhower Administration, had ties,
of perhaps six years standing, with leaders in the division in whom he had great
confidence, particularly D. Robert Owen who was John’s right hand person and a
leader in the division; David L. Norman, who was blind and was a major leader in
the division and a major thinker; and St. John “Slim” Barrett, who was the Second
Assistant when I joined the Division. John relied heavily on those three. He had
great regard for Harold Greene who was head of the Appeals and Research
Section. I don’t think John ever felt as at home with Harold, not to say that he
didn’t have equal respect for him. The other three men were on the fact
development side of law enforcement and Harold was on the law side, the legal
argument side. John felt more at home with the facts. There were significant
numbers of others who were outstanding and John played them all like the notes
on an instrument. He knew where their strengths were and how to use them.
In the fall of 1966, President Johnson set up a cabinet level committee or
task force to develop his human resources or human relations legislative program
for the new Congress which would be seated in January 1967. Ramsey Clark,
then Attorney General, was the head of it. Ramsey asked me to be the working
head. Every cabinet secretary or agency that had a relationship to human relations
named a working member. We reviewed all possible legislative initiatives that
the President might propose. I devoted a lot of time and effort to that activity and
– 147 –
had some paralegal assistance. Primarily the committee work fell to me to do. I
developed and Ramsey then reviewed and approved notebooks of
recommendations. In the end I had a single lead notebook of recommendations in
the field of housing, civil rights, education, and other human relations areas. I had
underlying notebooks that had large amounts of materials for each
recommendation that had come out of the departments. I mention this both
because it was a major undertaking, but also it had a major effect on my life. It
fell to me to present the materials to the President’s Special Assistant for
Domestic Policy, Joseph Califano, and the Counsel to the President, Harry
McPherson. I did so, and my guess is that the work product was considered by
them to be excellent. So when the President’s Advisor for National Capital
Affairs, Charlie Horsky, was ready to return to his law practice at Covington &
Burling, Califano and McPherson settled on me to succeed him. They knew me
because of that Task Force report.
Ms. Garrett: What was your reaction to being tapped for that position? Was it something that
you were wanting to do?
Mr. Pollak: I endeavored not to do it, and consulted Ramsey who was close to the President
and Barefoot Sanders who had been the Acting Deputy Attorney General under
Ramsey, and then had gone to the White House to head up the congressional
relations office. I asked them to try to get me out of that invitation to come to the
White House. I wanted to keep doing what I was doing in civil rights. I recall
Ramsey and Barefoot, who were perfectly ready to support me in what I wanted,
– 148 –
saying, “Well, if the President ends up asking you, you don’t have any choice.”
So, ultimately that’s the way it worked out. I recall thinking that the District of
Columbia job was too narrow a portfolio compared to what I was doing in the
Civil Rights Division. Califano and McPherson, with whom I dealt – and I
considered their views essentially the same – then agreed that the President would
ask me to be his Advisor on the National Capital Area and also his Special
Assistant responsible for relations with HUD. I knew something about housing.
So, there came a day when I was asked to come over to the White House and the
President met with me and said, “I want you to come take responsibility for the
District of Columbia and you will also have responsibility for HUD.”
So, I moved to the White House. I had a rewarding time there. I wasn’t
sorry, although I didn’t want to go. It is a fact though, that I never had any
responsibility for HUD, so that was all either a fake or window dressing.
Secretary Weaver related to the President through Califano and I’m sure he was
damned if he was going to relate to the President through me. And I’m sure
Califano didn’t want it either, so it never came to pass. I had plenty of
responsibility for concerns of the National Capital Area. My most major
responsibility was that the President had presented to the prior Congress a full
home rule bill for the District of Columbia and Horsky had worked for its
passage. It had failed to pass. My guess is that the President was ready for
Horsky to go because the bill had failed. The President wasn’t one to accept
failure of something he put his heart into. So, when I got there, the President,
– 149 –
with the advice of the Bureau of the Budget, was taking a different tack. That was
to present to the Congress a reorganization plan, because it was constitutional
then, under a statute that provided that a plan of reorganization would become law
if neither House vetoed it. A one-house veto would bar the plan. The plan was to
change the District of Columbia government from its then weak, threecommissioner
form to an appointed mayor/commissioner and an appointed city
The President said to me, probably when he offered me the job, “I want
you to work on that as a first priority matter. I want you to get the plan fully
developed,” because it was still somewhat nascent. “I want to know whether the
Congress will accept it and if the Congress will accept it, I’ll send it up and then I
want you to support it and get it approved.” I worked greatly on that, but on
many other things as well. The major creator of the plan was an expert in public
administration who was an Assistant Director of the Bureau of the Budget named
Harold Seidman. Harold died within the last year at a very elderly age. He was
brilliant about public administration issues and he and the Bureau of the Budget
staff drafted an outstanding plan to reorganize the District Government. It was
the President’s feeling that if the government was reorganized to the form of a
mayor and a city council who were appointed by the President, it would be very
easy then to propose legislation to make these offices elective. Of course, the
President, as he was so often on domestic matters and domestic legislative
matters, was 100 percent correct. That’s what happened.
– 150 –
I had a major legislative portfolio for the President in that Congress. Even
though this was during the height of the agony of the Vietnamese War, the
President was vitally interested in this reorganization and devoted himself to it. I
remember one time that I met with him, I’m sure with his legislative liaisons, who
were Barefoot Sanders and Mike Manitos, Henry Hall Wilson and Larry O’Brien,
and a coterie of people that related to the House and the Senate for him. He said I
think primarily to me, “I’m not going to send this plan to the Congress unless I
know that it’s going to be approved, so I want you to go up there and meet with
every Congressman” — maybe he also said every Senator, but I remember every
Congressman – “and find out whether they’ll support it.” Well, that was kind of
an impossible order since there were so many, 435. I made it my business to go
and see all of the people who had any responsibilities related to the District of
Columbia, appropriations people, District committee people and a broad range of
people. The other legislative experience I had had before that was the Voting
Rights Act. By that time the plan had been developed, I had prepared good
talking papers. I found that Republicans and Democrats alike were willing to deal
with the issue on the merits. I had a good product to sell and they bought it.
I remember one amusing event. I tried and tried and tried to see John
McMillan, who was a senior congressman from Virginia, Chair of the House
District Committee, and a power in the House. He never would see me. He
wouldn’t give me an audience. He never returned my calls.
Ms. Garrett: Why not? Do you know why that was?
– 151 –
Mr. Pollak: I think that he wasn’t anxious to do anything that the President wanted and he
wouldn’t see me. It was clear why I wanted to see him. I wanted to talk to him
about this plan. I don’t know whether the plan had been set up by then, maybe it
had been, but in any event, the plan was not sent to the District Committee
because it was a reorganization plan. It was sent to the Government Operations
Committee, and McMillan certainly didn’t like that. Well, there developed a
characteristically House seniority brouhaha because McMillan complained that
the President had not talked to him, that he hadn’t been communicated with. But
I had all the records of my repeated efforts to see him and we spread those out and
it just silenced him predictably. That was rewarding.
I dealt with a whole cast of characters that related to these District matters
who were just almost out of “Guys and Dolls.” Some were for, some against. In
any event, when things moved along, the President invited all the interested
people to the White House and talked to them about the plan. He then called to
the White House all of the legislative liaisons of all the departments and said to
them, “I want you to fan out with all of the people on the Hill and support this
plan.” It was a characteristic Johnson effort, amazing in light of all of the things
that were on his plate. They did and it ultimately came to a vote in the House, and
it passed. I remember John Erlenborn of Illinois, a Republican, was good on the
bill and Frelinghuysen, a Republican of New Jersey, was good on the bill.
Democrats, many Democrats were good. And it passed and we didn’t even need
to bring it to a vote in the Senate. With the House vote, it was accepted in the
– 152 –
Senate and by late summer I was involved in trying to identify people to be
named to the City Council. I did that working with John Macy, head of the Civil
Service Commission. I give the President credit for identifying and selecting
Walter Washington as the Mayor. I would like to say I pushed him to name a
minority to be Mayor of the District of Columbia, which had a majority minority
population, but it was his doing, not mine. I was not involved in proposing
candidates for Mayor. I searched all over the District, which I knew pretty well,
for candidates for the City Council. I would give the President memoranda which
would name seven or nine — whatever number there were to be — individuals as
candidates, and would give thumb nail sketches as to their ties to the community
and their characteristics, woman, minority, region of the city in which he or she
lived, and other variables. Those memoranda, and of course, all of the materials,
are in the Johnson Library. The President was merits oriented. He wanted a good
city council.
There’s a somewhat famous story about how John Hechinger came to be
selected as the first chairperson of the City Council. The President was going to
name Max Kampelman, who was very able and certainly deserving, but at about
the moment that he wanted to have the name so he could make the announcement,
there came some publicity that raised questions about Max’s involvement with
some machinery deal for India. I don’t think it reflected adversely ultimately on
him. He has had an illustrious career since. But at that moment, there was sort of
a bubbling up of that story and the President determined, as he often did, that he
– 153 –
wasn’t prepared to go with Max. But he wanted to name the people the
following day. One of the names on the list was John Hechinger, head of the
hardware store chain and long-time District resident and leader. Califano said to
me that I should go get with Hechinger and ask him if he would accept the
appointment. That was about 7:00 or 7:30 at night. If you work in the White
House, there’s no time of the day when you’re not on call. I was at the office, so I
tried to reach Hechinger and he was at the opera with his wife. At about the time
the opera was getting out, I drove over to the Hechinger’s house and met them
when they returned from the opera. I said, “The President would like you to be
the Chair of the City Council. Are you willing to do it if he asks you?”
Hechinger and his wife considered it. I’m sure John has recounted this publicly.
I can’t recall whether they took it under advisement overnight or told me then, but
at least by the next morning he said he would do it and the President announced
the Mayor and the City Council that day. That was a fascinating experience.
What I had learned in this job was that the government of the District of
Columbia was weak. I believed that it was meant to be weak so that the power of
running the city could reside with the House District Committee where southern
congressmen were dominant. There were many players in governance of the
District, each of which had a slice of power. Because of that, the government was
weak. There were the three Commissioners, one of whom was the general in
charge of the Corps of Engineers of the U.S. Army, the so-called Engineer
Commissioner, and two Commissioners appointed by the President. Then there
– 154 –
was the District Committee of the House, the District Committee of the Senate,
the District Appropriations Subcommittee of the House, the District
Appropriations Subcommittee of the Senate and then there was an Assistant in the
White House. My feeling was that because of the many persons and entities that
had power, the government was exceedingly weak. So when the reorganization
plan was approved, I urged the President to put my job out of existence, to rely on
the Mayor, and to try to aggrandize power in the Mayor and the City Council.
The President either took my advice or made his own decision. In any event, he
put my job out of existence and on the day that the White House was holding a
reception in honor of the newly named Mayor, City Council and Deputy Mayor, I
was going through the receiving line with my wife to greet the President, Mrs.
Johnson, Mayor Walter Washington and members of the City Council. I got to
the President and he took me aside right there in the East Room or wherever it
was and he congratulated me on the job I had done and said, “I’m going to name
you the head of the Civil Rights Division.” That was the first I knew of it.
Ms. Garrett: What was your reaction to that?
Mr. Pollak: Well, I have a photo that shows my wife and me. Of course, we looked happy
and stunned.
Ms. Garrett: I have a couple of other questions about National Capital Affairs and then we
might want to wrap up for this session.
Mr. Pollak: I did a lot of other things as Advisor for National Capital Affairs, but that was the
– 155 –
Ms. Garrett: Well, are there any other things that you want to mention?
Mr. Pollak: There were other legislative initiatives. I had a tally list and kept track of them
and dealt with them. We were creating and funding the new Federal City College
and Washington Technical Institute, which were ultimately combined into the
University of the District of Columbia years later. I spent time dealing with that.
There was a Pennsylvania Avenue Development Commission, and I was
endeavoring to assist it in shaping up Pennsylvania Avenue. There were any
number of significant legislative matters. There were administrative issues.
There was a large tract of land at the northeast gateway to the city which I
believe had been a reform school for boys that was coming available. The
question was what kind of plan for redevelopment would there be. I had been a
student of housing and redevelopment and had been active in the District of
Columbia through the Washington Planning and Housing Association which I had
chaired. I may even have chaired it just before I moved to the White House. I
was away for a weekend when the redevelopment issue came up. Califano’s
office in particular one of his major assistants, Larry Levinson, had had to deal
with it over the weekend. I had been developing support for having a balanced
community there of middle income housing and public housing which was clearly
the way to go. I came back and found that Levinson had given at least
preliminary approval to a plan for placing public housing only on the area, which
would have been a mistake in my judgment. I took hold of that and got it back on
– 156 –
track, which was just one of many kinds of things that I was responsible for
One of the other things that came up during my time was the reservation
of the land that is between 34th Street and Connecticut Avenue that is now
occupied by embassies and the University of the District of Columbia. It had
been the site of the Bureau of Standards which moved to Maryland. I shepherded
that plan. I dealt a lot with GSA and with the District Government and as I say
had spent a major amount of activity dealing with the hot summer. The President
always talked about his Assistant as the “Mayor” of the city and, because of the
weakness of the government form, not in the weakness of the people who were
running the District, the White House had a great deal of real power over the
District. I remember we gathered together a large group of governmental officials
who were to deal with the hot summer of 1967. We used to meet every week or
so in the Indian Treaty Room in the old Executive Office Building and coordinate
them to get some of the activities and jobs done. The city was calm that summer,
a credit to the city and to Bruce Terris and others who worked to make it so.
The White House was a good place work but you worked awfully hard. I
went to work early and worked late. I had a wonderful office on the first floor of
the Executive Office Building in the southeast corner. It was the office of the
Secretary of War in the Lincoln Administration.
Ms. Garrett: How historical. What a wonderful spot.
– 157 –
Mr. Pollak: It was gorgeous. It opened on a secretarial space and then the next office to the
north was Betty Furness’. She was the President’s Assistant for Consumer
Affairs. She had advertised GE refrigerators on the television. Judge Gesell’s
daughter, who had worked as a paralegal in the Civil Rights Division, worked
with me as a Special Assistant, Patsy, and I brought my secretary from Justice. I
communicated with the President primarily in his “night reading.”
Ms. Garrett: What do you mean?
Mr. Pollak: I could do my job with making up my own mind and keeping the President
informed. Whenever I had a significant decision that needed to be made, I wrote
him a memorandum identifying the issue and the relevant considerations and
presenting a box that he could check yes or no, or I need more information. I
would put the memo in his night reading and in the morning I would have an
answer. I admired his energy and commitment because he was responsible for the
whole government and he had Vietnam going on all the time I was in the job. I
always heard from him the very next morning.
Ms. Garrett: Impressive.
Mr. Pollak: Very impressive.
Ms. Garrett: You had mentioned to me at another point a headline that appeared when you
were named as the Advisor to the President for National Capital Affairs. Can you
recount that?
Mr. Pollak: There was a headline saying, “Stephen Who?”
Ms. Garrett: That was it.
– 158 –
Mr. Pollak: Right. I have the article at home. I was not a public figure when named and I
don’t suppose I was a public figure when I finished. I think I did a good job and I
think the Post editorialized favorably when I left the job. In any event, I was very
fortunate in being able to return to the Civil Rights Division.
Ms. Garrett: Did you give any value then or subsequently to seeking a position in the District
Mr. Pollak: The President asked me if I wanted to be the Deputy Mayor, or maybe Califano
said he wanted to propose me as the Deputy Mayor. I urged him not to because I
didn’t want to get in the same position that I had gotten into in respect to the
White House job in the first place. I think the suggestion was made that I could
be the Chair of the City Council, but I didn’t want any of those positions. Not
that I didn’t think they were challenging, but I thought that my place was in the
Civil Rights Division and that was what I was best qualified for. So I was never a
self-seeker for positions growing out of the White House job. Ramsey Clark must
have talked to me about the Civil Rights Division position. John Doar was
preparing to try the case of those police officials of Neshoba County, Mississippi,
charged with slaying three civil rights workers in 1964. He was going to try it in
the fall of ‘67. He had expressed his desire to leave the Division as soon as that
trial was over. Ramsey was looking for a successor and that’s how my
appointment by Johnson came about. I returned to the Department of Justice. I
assisted Walter Washington in getting him informed to become the Mayor and
worked actively to help him transition into the position. There was also help
– 159 –
provided to him by Ben Gilbert who was an editor of the Washington Post and a
friend of Walter’s and Bennetta’s, Walter’s wife. Bennetta was a major figure in
her own right and had been head of the Job Corps at OEO. Walter was an
excellent selection for the first Mayor.
I returned to Justice in October 1967 as a Special Assistant to Attorney
General Clark. John Doar was in Mississippi. I pretty much ran the Division
until John’s trial was completed successfully. My recollection is that he did not
pick up the work of the Division after the trial ended, but moved to become the
President of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Corporation, an effort sponsored by Robert
Kennedy to try to do something about the unfortunate conditions for minority
youth, including the economy, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a part of New York City.
Ms. Garrett: Okay, we’ve been going about two hours and I think we’ll wrap this up for today.
Thanks, Steve.
– 160 –
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Seventh Interview-April 12, 2004
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is Katia Garrett. The interview took place at the Shea & Gardner law firm at
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, in the District of Columbia on April 12, 2004. This is the seventh
Ms. Garrett: Steve, when we last left off, we were talking about your time in the White House
and I think there were some issues that you wanted to touch on before we
wrapped up with that moved on.
Mr. Pollak: After I had been working in the White House for a number of months, Ruth and I
received an invitation to join the President and Mrs. Johnson for dinner in their
personal quarters. It was exciting to both of us to contemplate. We went to the
White House. It was a lot easier then than it is today. I’m sure all I had to do was
to show may pass and we parked probably on West Executive, which was
between the old State House and the White House. We rode the elevator to the
Johnsons’ living room on the second floor where they were serving hors
d’oeuvres. The President and Mrs. Johnson were there and the guests included
Robert McNamara and Margie McNamara whom we had known from skiing in
Aspen, Howard K. Smith and his wife – he was an ABC television broadcaster –
Barefoot Sanders, the President’s Legislative Assistant, and his wife, Jan, the
Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Georgia, Arthur Krim, who was a major
donor, a film executive I believe from the West Coast. Perhaps that makes up the
group. All were close friends of the President and Mrs. Johnson. It felt like a
– 161 –
family affair. I recall the President’s teenage daughters, Luci and Lynda, entering
in at one point. One jumped into the President’s lap. I have a memory of the
President spending considerable time talking with Howard K. Smith and
McNamara because Howard K. Smith was going to leave the following day to go
out around the country and speak in support of the President’s program in
Vietnam. The President was fixated on Vietnam that evening and was
encouraging – that’s too mild a word – exhorting Smith to be strong in drumming
up support. The President’s concern with Vietnam and single-mindedness about
it was disturbing. He seemed so captured. But the dinner was extremely pleasant
and we felt welcome over the evening. I remember that the food was excellent,
which I knew from having dined in the White House Mess while on the job.
Dessert was cherries jubilee. I don’t have other recollections of the evening.
Possibly I dictated a memo afterwards just to record what had gone on, but I
haven’t found it. If I do, I’ll attach it.
I had one other somewhat personal exchange with the President and
Mrs. Johnson. When I was named to be the Assistant Attorney General in charge
of the Civil Rights Division, the President was making several other nominations,
including Erwin Griswold to be Solicitor General and Edwin Wiesel to be
Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. All the nominees, along with
the Attorney General and Barefoot Sanders, who was then the Acting Deputy
Attorney General at Justice, traveled by Jetstar to the President’s ranch and he
spoke about each of us to the press. Then we had lunch served Texas ranch style
– 162 –
and I sat next to Mrs. Johnson. I remember the table cloth was very colorful. I
dictated a memo of that day and attach it to this history. Otherwise, my
relationships with the President were all professional.
Ms. Garrett: What was LBJ like in this more intimate atmosphere?
Mr. Pollak: Well, he was what comes across when you read the biographies, larger than life.
He was a big man, forceful in his manner of speaking, used to being at the center
of attention. I didn’t find him overbearing. I had no experiences with him in
which, and most of those experiences were professional, in which he misbehaved.
He took reasonable positions in respect to what I was doing and sought to be well
informed and to act in a knowledgeable manner. I would give him very high
marks in the performance of his responsibilities in the areas where I was working.
When Reorganization Plan No. 3 – my major responsibility was to present this
plan to reorganize the District of Columbia government to the Congress –
survived the vote in the House in August 1967, which meant that the Senate
would follow suit and there would be no veto of the Plan and it would become
effective, I was in my office in the Old Executive Building and the phone rang
and whoever handles those things said, “the President’s calling.” I felt in the
strongest way the need to stand up out of my chair to talk with him on the phone.
Ms. Garrett: Did you?
Mr. Pollak: Yes, I did (laughs). He was calling to say well done and how pleased he was. So,
his personal force carried through strongly to me.
– 163 –
Ms. Garrett: Even over the telephone, you stood up and no one was around to know whether
you were sitting on the floor or the chair?
Mr. Pollak: Yes.
Ms. Garrett: Is there anything else you want to touch on from your time at the White House?
Mr. Pollak: There were hundreds of experiences. I considered that the job had total call on
me. I often think of that time as I’ve looked at the White Houses of Carter,
Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II handling events since then. As Special
Assistants to the President, we considered that we were not open to subpoena
from the Hill. We were part of the President’s personal staff. We considered that
our records and materials were personal to the Presidency and not subject to
subpoena. There have been great changes in that regard. It’s probably harder to
be a part of the President’s staff today than it was then, although the challenges
were great then. They seem doubly great today in 2004 with Iraq. I felt
extremely fortunate to have had the experience in the White House. I felt
extremely fortunate to hold the job at a time in which my only charge was to
conduct my responsibilities to the best of my ability as I saw the interests of the
President and the interests of the country. I never was asked to take a stance that
caused me to have some concern whether it was the right thing to do, not
ethically, but, I mean, an unwise position. The whole presidency was looking to
me to advise on what should be done in all the areas for which I was responsible
and if my presentations and recommendations were sound, the President and staff
would follow them. I suppose that’s pretty unique in terms of the totality of what
– 164 –
goes on in the White House. It may be that the nation’s capital was shielded from
politics because there just wasn’t that much politics involved, although creating a
self-government for the District of Columbia was certainly a political event.
Surely, the District Committee and virtually all the Virginia Congressmen
opposed it. In any event, it was a great opportunity to perform a public service.
Ms. Garrett: You mentioned that you considered that your papers and some of the work you
did as not having been subject to subpoena. Was there any attempt while you
were working in the White House to have you come and testify about a matter?
Mr. Pollak: There never was. With respect to matters of concern with respect to the District
of Columbia, I not only had all of the substantive responsibility for the President,
but I was the chief lobbyist. I was the communicator to the Hill.
Ms. Garrett: Do you want to talk about that transition? How you came to end up back at the
Department of Justice?
Mr. Pollak: Well, I know that I have spoken of how it came to pass that I moved from my job
in the White House to the Department of Justice. I spent October, November and
December as a Special Assistant to Ramsey Clark, but in effect was running the
Civil Rights Division while the Assistant Attorney General, John Doar, was in
Mississippi trying the case of the slayers of the three young men who were
murdered in the summer of 1964 in Neshoba County.
My time in the Division began again in October and I was confirmed after a
brief hearing before the Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee chaired
by Senator Ervin. Even though Senator Ervin had significant differences with the
– 165 –
legal positions of the Civil Rights Division, the hearing was without incident.
Senator Hart came and spoke in my favor. I was confirmed and Justice Brennan
swore me in, in the Justice Department on the third of January of ‘68. It’s
significant that Attorney General Ramsey Clark said to me early on that he
thought the days of the Assistant Attorney General, or the First Assistant
John Doar, walking the clay roads of the South were past, that there needed to be
someone pretty much on duty running the Division in Washington and directing it
and, he thought, putting more attention on the recently enacted equal employment
law. He was not speaking pejoratively of the prior heads of the Division. His
priority was to emphasize, more than had been the case, enforcement of the equal
employment laws and to reach for a new fair housing law.
While I was Assistant Attorney General the number of attorneys in the
Division came up to 100 for the first time. We had an excellent and experienced
staff of attorneys. There were few women, due primarily to admissions to law
school. However, we were fortunate to have outstandingly capable women who
were paralegals, rather than attorneys. We called them “research analysts” and
they performed a myriad of tasks assisting the attorneys in preparing their cases
for trial. It was like having additional attorneys without degrees. Many of these
women married men in the Division, and many later became attorneys –
outstanding attorneys. But the effects of gender bias in society were certainly a
Ms. Garrett: In spite of the mission of the Division, it was a mirror of the times as well?
– 166 –
Mr. Pollak: Yes, it was. There were no limitations on hiring women and the Division did and
I did hire women attorneys. But there were fewer of them coming to be hired
because there were fewer going to law school then.
Ms. Garrett: Looking at it globally, I’d be interested in your views of what you thought about
that job coming into it, the head of the Civil Rights Division, what you thought
about it then and what your view of it is now.
Mr. Pollak: I have often said in an exchange with my wife that government is a young
person’s game. There are senior positions in the United States government that
you and I know about from observing the incumbents on television and they’re
often in their 50s or 60s, but I think that the working arms of the federal
government are really young people. When I became Assistant Attorney General,
I was 39 and I had been the First Assistant in the Division for a couple of years. I
aspired to the job and I was not over-awed by the responsibility. Looking back, it
seems to me that it was probably a much more daunting responsibility than I was
giving it credit for, but it seemed a natural thing to do after doing the First
Assistant’s job. One of the things that I came to believe after I held the job was
that I satisfied myself that I was doing the best possible job that I could do by
working unstintingly at doing the job. That meant working from early in the
morning until late at night and working six to seven days each week, putting
nothing ahead of the job. The priority was always the job. Nothing did I consider
too small to have my attention if it came across my desk or to my attention. A
pleading, a particular brief or decision to do or not do something. After I got out
– 167 –
of the government, I thought that working hard, unstintingly, is not necessarily the
best measure for performing a top government job well.
Ms. Garrett: What do you mean?
Mr. Pollak: One still may need to put in that kind of time, but I have come to feel that in that
job I was called on possibly to do less but to think more. One can mask the
inability to address and resolve some major issues by saying, “Well I’m working
all out, I’m working so hard all the time.” What the job really calls on one to do
is to try to set priorities, to try to identify the most difficult problems and to try to
figure out how to address them and to task people you are working with to
provide you with the materials necessary to finding solutions. I’m not prepared to
point out deficiencies in my administration, although I’m sure there were
deficiencies because of the nature of the problems, but it seems to me mature to
have that view of what running a Division of the Department is. It isn’t enough to
work hard.
Ms. Garrett: When you say mature, do you think it’s the kind of maturity that comes with
experience in the government, sufficient experience within the government itself
or rather is sort of a natural byproduct of simply having been out for a certain
number of years working and practicing and being a lawyer?
Mr. Pollak: In part it comes from experience in government. But in private practice, I’ve
made “to do lists” and I’ve had sequences of time in private practice where I just
couldn’t believe that I could live until the end of the week because I had so many
things to do. The Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights
– 168 –
Division never had all of the work on his plate. It wasn’t I who had to do all the
work, but I had an endless number of responsibilities and decisions that were
coming up all the time. I wonder whether I had the best plan for performing them
all. I can tell you when I got out of the Department, in the almost 40 years since
then, periodically I have been asked to make talks. For one, I looked at the first
half of 1968. The first half of 1968 was one crisis after another, all the way up
until June. The ones that come most immediately to mind are the slaying of
Dr. King which set off riots in major cities and less than major cities across the
United States, including the most serious one in Washington, D.C. Then in June,
there was the slaying of Bob Kennedy. There were other events that I noted in
that talk – the Poor People’s Campaign, which Joseph Lowery and
Ralph Abernathy, who were Martin Luther King’s successors at the helm of
SCLC, and Andy Young brought to Washington in the spring of 1968, after
Dr. King’s death. The Civil Rights Division was responsible for seeing that the
encampment on the Mall south of the reflecting pool was protected and safe, and
it was responsible for setting up meetings with representatives of all the
departments of government from which the Campaign sought redress. There were
the marches on Washington contesting the Vietnam War where the Civil Rights
Division was responsible for helping to get the government in a position and the
localities in a position to handle mass arrest situations. It became amazing to me
that the Division was able to march along and do its normal responsibilities of
enforcing the civil rights laws, along with the added burden of these crisis events.
– 169 –
Senator Everett Dirksen who was the Republican leader who supported civil
rights legislation always made it a requirement that lawsuits that were permitted
to be brought on voting, schools, employment, and fair housing, had to be
presented to and signed-off on by the Attorney General, so we had major
justification memoranda to present to the Attorney General. All of that marched
along and did itself during that crisis time. Oh yes, we also had responsibility for
conducting and directing the FBI in searching for the slayer of Dr. King.
Ms. Garrett: That must have been interesting work. Were you personally involved in that?
Mr. Pollak: Absolutely. The memoranda that went to the Bureau came out of the Civil Rights
Division. I remember that the Canadian Mounted Police found James Earl Ray in
North Africa, as I recall. He was brought back to Britain and Attorney General
Clark sent the head of the Criminal Division, Fred Vinson, to Britain to work out
extradition. We drew the extradition papers in the Civil Rights Division. I can
remember going over them with Nat Lewin, the Second Assistant. We faxed
them to Britain. I remember talking to Fred Vinson on the telephone. I remember
him saying that the women in Britain were wearing these amazing skirts, which
later came to be known as miniskirts. That was the first that he had ever seen of
them and I think it was the first I ever heard of them.
It was a natural reaction for me to think that work was the only answer to
administering the law fairly and effectively because literally there was no time to
do anything but work. After Dr. King was slain, Attorney General Ramsey Clark
slept in a bed above the level of this office – there’s a bedroom up there – for
– 170 –
three days and we worked virtually around the clock. I remember going home
early in the morning and coming back again early in the morning. Ramsey went
to North Carolina to make a long-scheduled speech. We talked about it
beforehand. He was determined to give a speech saying that it was wrong to
shoot looters, and I thought it was courageous of him to give that talk at the height
of the crisis. And he was right. I remember working with Chief Judge Harold
Greene of the local courts to have lawyers on duty all around the clock so that
people could be arraigned and the processes of justice would go on. It was an
exciting time. The caliber of the people who worked in the Division was
outstanding and the priority of the Attorney General was the work of the Civil
Rights Division. When we had to have more attorneys, he would draw on the
other divisions to give us additional help. We were monitoring elections in the
southern states with federal observers and providing examiners to register people.
Voting processes were still under siege in certain areas and we were dealing with
the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. We were bringing the first equal
employment cases. The Fair Housing Act was enacted in April 1968 and we were
working at and developing the first fair housing cases.
Ms. Garrett: And all of this with 100 attorneys, or did that number grow?
Mr. Pollak: No, no, that was the high water mark. I had learned of running the Division from
John Doar who was both running it and also handling individual cases on his own,
and in some instances prosecuting criminal cases. While I was Assistant Attorney
General, I assumed responsibility for bringing and litigating an equal employment
– 171 –
case against pipefitters’ and sheet metal workers’ unions, maybe also the
plumbers’ unions, in St. Louis. I traveled out there to present the case. I also
handled personally another equal employment case in Cleveland.
Ms. Garrett: How did you manage that, handling cases personally plus running the Division?
Mr. Pollak: It was what I learned in watching Mr. Doar. I considered that having my hands
into a couple of the cases meant that I would be attuned to how the cases were
being prepared and presented and I would know better what was going on in this
new field of the Division’s responsibility, so I did it. Then late in the year, there
was a major voting case involving the preclearance requirements of Section 5 of
the Voting Rights Act, Allen v. State Board of Elections [393 U.S. 544, 554-57
(1969)], in the Supreme Court. I participated in briefing it for the United States as
amicus and then argued it. It was decided favorably to Section 5 after I had left
the government. Also in May 1968, the Green v. New Kent County school case
was decided. The Supreme Court struck down “freedom of choice” plans, saying
that minority students were entitled to schools, not white schools or black schools.
The Division had 525 school cases on our docket and we were responsible for
bringing the cases forward to comply with Green. When the case came down,
Burke Marshall, who had preceded John Doar as Assistant Attorney General and
was revered by me and by others as the father of the modern Civil Rights
Division, came by my office. I said, “Burke, this major decision came down
calling for non-racial schools, all grades and faculty, and we have 525 pending
cases. What advice do you have for me?” He looked at me and he said, “You
– 172 –
know much more about this now than I do. You’ll have to make up your own
mind.” Well, I’m sure he was right.
Ms. Garrett: That’s interesting because it does speak to the youth of the Civil Rights Division
as an entity within government and how much of it was being invested as this
legislation was cast and came into your hands.
Mr. Pollak: It is correct to talk about the 1957 to 1968 period as the “Second Reconstruction,”
because those great fundamental laws were enacted in that period, particularly the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing and
Interference With Rights Act of 1968.
Ms. Garrett: And all of which you had some hand in, either in the development of the
legislation or the implementation of the law or both?
Mr. Pollak: I had a hand in the development of the legislation of 1965 and ‘68. There was a
Fair Juries Act of 1967 and I had a hand in that. I had a hand in implementing
those statutes as well as the 1964 Act, particularly the equal employment
provisions of the 1964 Act which became effective July 1, 1965. I had no hand in
the drafting or enactment of the ‘64 Act. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t in the Division
The Department was a good place to work. It appeared to me to be
devoted to enforcing the law in an even-handed manner, to bringing cases that
were justified. It all looked good. Perhaps it wasn’t all that good, just because
nothing ever is, but that is the way it looked to me. And I meant with respect to
– 173 –
the other divisions, too. Ramsey was an excellent Attorney General. He was
committed, fair and well regarded. He too worked hard.
Ms. Garrett: What sort of relationship did you have with Attorney General Ramsey Clark when
you were the AAG of the Civil Rights Division?
Mr. Pollak: I had a very close working relationship with him. Except for some kind of semipersonal
occasion where somebody was leaving the Department and there was a
dinner or something or a holiday gathering or something, I don’t recall
exchanging social dinners with Ramsey and his wife Georgia, but I considered
myself a close friend of theirs and of him. I often ate with him on the roof of the
Department. We’d climb up a little rickety stairs and sit on the roof and look out
over Washington and talk over what we were doing.
Ms. Garrett: Who even knew that there was a stairway up to the roof?
Mr. Pollak: I don’t know. There was then. I had worked closely with him when I was First
Assistant and he was the Deputy A.G. He was much more closely connected to
President Johnson. When I faced the need to go into the White House, I
counseled with him and he gave me the best counsel he could as to what I should
do. As Assistant Attorney General, I was constantly communicating with him on
the problems that were at hand. I think he had confidence in the kind of materials
I gave him and he approved of what we were doing. He gave me the advice that
I’ve referred to about prioritizing equal employment. He was certainly strongly
supportive of continuing what we were doing in voting. I never have had an
occasion either then or since to know whether in his unspoken mind he would
– 174 –
have wished me to do something other than I was doing. If he did, he never told
me. Of course he had senior staff meetings which are customary in the
Department and I attended those. The heart of the Department in terms of the
Attorney General’s concerns, I thought, was right in the Civil Rights Division.
He thought that’s where it was, although there were plenty of other important
activities going on in other parts of the Department.
Ms. Garrett: Did the FBI – ?
Mr. Pollak: I want to make just one more comment. Some time when I was in the White
House, I believe, Warren Christopher was named Deputy, so I knew Warren well
as the Deputy and related to him all during the time I was Assistant Attorney
General. I think that he was there during some considerable period that John
Doar was Assistant Attorney General. In running the Division, I would deal with
Warren on legislative matters because the Deputy had the legislative
responsibility, but Warren didn’t have anything to do with running the Division. I
dealt only with the Attorney General.
Ms. Garrett: Was there an Associate Attorney General?
Mr. Pollak: No. And my access was with the Attorney General. I could and did see him
anytime I needed to. It was probably a much simpler line of communication.
Ms. Garrett: One can only imagine what it is now. I was going to ask you a question and I
don’t know what you can tell me about this, but did the FBI handle investigations
for the Civil Rights Division?
– 175 –
Mr. Pollak: The FBI handled investigations for the Civil Rights Division. During Burke
Marshall’s and John Doar’s time, they were at pains to educate the Bureau in
what they needed in order to prosecute civil and criminal civil rights cases. The
FBI was our investigative arm and in the early years of voting rights cases, John
Doar and his staff developed investigative requests that were like scripts and ran
50 pages, so that the Bureau had detailed instructions as to what we needed and
Ms. Garrett: Why was that level of detail needed with the FBI, because of the novelty of the
Mr. Pollak: I can only surmise because this was going on when I got there in March 1965. It
was true that these were new avenues and the attorneys in the Division were
learning their way through what they needed. There is no question that there were
elements in the Bureau that were hostile to what the Division was trying to do, but
I didn’t consider that the leadership of the Bureau was hostile to us. It was
prepared to carry out investigative requests, but to some extent, may have either
asked or telegraphed that it preferred to have detailed requests so that it was not
left to its own to do what we wanted, but rather had our instructions.
Ms. Garrett: Did the hostility among some elements in the FBI ever present itself in a
particular case in any troubling way?
Mr. Pollak: I can refer to two instances. As First Assistant, the instructions were that requests
for investigation that we wanted from the Bureau needed to be presented in
Washington by memoranda to J. Edgar Hoover. If you were in the South carrying
– 176 –
out a responsibility, it was not open to go to the local FBI office and ask for
assistance. You had to go through Washington.
Ms. Garrett: And that was unusual for requests to go through Washington?
Mr. Pollak: Well, I don’t know that it was unusual, that is the way it was. John Doar made it
a point to tell me that I should not expect to go to the Jackson, Mississippi, office
to obtain assistance. The Bureau had opened a Jackson, Mississippi, office in the
early 1960s, especially to work on civil rights matters. Roy Moore was in charge.
He was committed to enforcing the civil rights laws. I think the Bureau dealt with
the civil rights requests by requiring the T’s to be crossed and the I’s to be dotted.
In the aftermath of the capture of James Earl Ray, I was with the Attorney
General when he called J. Edgar Hoover’s liaison to come to his office. Hoover
had announced the capture of Ray and Ramsey thought that the facts had been
withheld from the Attorney General’s office so that Hoover could make the
announcement. Ramsey presented that to the liaison, and Ramsey and
Cartha DeLoach, the liaison, then expressed strong differences over the behavior
of the Bureau. Ramsey asked whether the liaison had failed to be candid with him
when Ramsey had asked him a direct question as to whether Ray had been
captured. My memory is that the liaison said that if it required lying to serve the
interests of the Bureau – lying to the Attorney General – then he would lie. I trust
that that was remedied soon thereafter.
Ms. Garrett: One can hope. Interesting. Any other details from the Division’s relationship
with the FBI?
– 177 –
Mr. Pollak: No. I think that it was a responsibility of the Division to find ways to utilize the
great investigative engine of the FBI. The engine was not immediately available
to the Division. It had to be harnessed through requests and it fell to us to draw
good requests to get it done. I think that was a workable way to do it.
Government isn’t for sissies and we were expected to know what we needed and
wanted and to write it down.
Ms. Garrett: And that’s what you did.
Mr. Pollak: And that’s what we did, right.
Ms. Garrett: Was J. Edgar Hoover’s office in Justice?
Mr. Pollak: It was on the fifth floor of main Justice, halfway down Ninth Street, between
Constitution and Penn. He came in every morning and rode up the elevator that
was right outside my office on the first floor at the corner of Ninth and
Constitution. To my knowledge, I don’t think I ever met with him while I was
Ms. Garrett: I understand that J. Edgar Hoover’s office subsequently became the offices for the
Civil Rights Division?
Mr. Pollak: I know it did, because I once visited there. There must have been a lot of ghosts
in that office (laughs).
Ms. Garrett: If walls could tell stories.
Mr. Pollak: I did have occasion once to call on J. Edgar Hoover in his office, but I can’t
remember what it was for. I remember going in to that old office, but I can’t
recall whether I was in the Civil Rights Division at the time. I dealt a little back
– 178 –
in 1964 or so with an Assistant Director named William Sullivan. I think he must
have thought I was a possible source of information because he seemed to
befriend me. It was when I was working on the poverty program. He called me
up to go to lunch. I remember another one of the lead people of the FBI, an
Assistant Director named Rosen, who had responsibility for civil rights matters.
We in the Division dealt with him. I thought he was cooperative and supportive
of what we were doing in the Civil Rights Division.
Ms. Garrett: Do you have any idea what the relationship is now between the FBI and the Civil
Rights Division?
Mr. Pollak: Absolutely none. When you get out of government, you rapidly cease knowing
anything about it.
Ms. Garrett: The doors close behind you don’t they?
Mr. Pollak: They really do.
Ms. Garrett: Tell me about some of your colleagues in the Division.
Mr. Pollak: I had great colleagues. There was a natural selection of people who wanted to
serve in the Civil Rights Division. A number of young attorneys came from the
South, the Deep South. There was George Rayborn from Mississippi. He’s a
prosecuting attorney in Philly. His wife became an equal employment lawyer
practicing with one of the good firms in Philadelphia. George has always called
me Mr. Pollak, even years and years afterwards. If I see him now, he calls me
Mr. Pollak. The First Assistant, D. Robert Owen, joined the Division probably in
1959 or ‘60. He was John Doar’s right hand person and outstanding. David L.
– 179 –
Norman, who became a Superior Court judge, was some of the brains behind the
Division’s approach to various doctrines that had to be put in place before there
was legislation. Harold Greene is justly famous for his many accomplishments.
His staff included outstanding appellate lawyers. A woman named Battle Rankin
lives in Delaware. Howard Glickstein who is a Dean of the law school at Truro,
New York. David Rubin became Deputy General Counsel of the NEA. Alan
Maher, Gerry Choppin. They were all on Harold Greene’s appellate staff. A man
who’s justly famous as a law professor, Owen Fiss, came from clerking for
Justice Brennan to be a Special Assistant to John Doar. He stayed on and worked
with me and became head of the Appeals Section. Maceo Hubbard, an African-
American, was head of the Eastern Section, Frank Dunbaugh, head of the
Southern Section, Frank Schwelb, who is on the D.C. Court of Appeals, became
head of the Eastern Section, and Brian Landsberg, who is a professor now at
McGeorge Law School, was the head of the Education Section and then the
Appeals Section. Brian’s wife, Dorothy Landsberg, was an outstanding paralegal.
John Rosenberg was head of the Western Section. Jim Turner was head of the
Central Section. Chad Quaintance was an outstanding attorney and leader. I’ve
not named all the outstanding attorneys and paralegals with whom I served, but
these were very capable trial attorneys who could put a case together. Because
many of the times district courts that we were litigating in front of were hostile,
the Department had to make doubly fine records and often won only on appeal.
– 180 –
Ms. Garrett: Do you think that as the receptivity of the courts to civil rights cases changed the
nature of the lawyering changed?
Mr. Pollak: Well, it certainly didn’t change in my time. I put a high priority on making
outstanding records in each case. That was the way the Division was schooled.
I don’t know how it developed after we were gone. John Doar always used to say
that he wouldn’t stand for having “Gee Whiz” lawyers, lawyers who wanted to
come into court and say, “Gee whiz, Your Honor, we certainly got the right side
of this case and we ought to win.” He wanted lawyers who found the facts and
presented them as a basis for prevailing on the law and that was my own credo.
I observed when I joined the Division that John Doar, the Assistant
Attorney General, manifested what I saw as an independence from the civil rights
organizations. It seemed to me that those organizations felt – somewhat
erroneously – that we in the Division were never doing all that we should do and
that we were not adequately supporting their efforts. That had been a big thing in
the first half of the 1960s when there was violence against civil rights workers and
the Department was seen as unwilling to become a national police force to protect
them. There was hostility to the Department. I thought then that I was observing
some hostility by the Department to certain activities of the organizations. I now
think that that was a misperception on my part. I believe that the attitude that I
was perceiving was that we were the United States Government and it was up to
us to reach our own judgments on what cases were brought and on what facts
motivated us to bring cases. We weren’t doing the bidding of one side or the
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other. We were making our own independent judgments. There was in John
Doar a great respect for what those organizations were doing and the courage with
which they were doing it. It’s been some comfort to me to reassess my own
reactions to that picture. The Department had more legal resources than the civil
rights groups. There was a statewide school case brought in the U.S. District
Court for the Middle District of Alabama before Judge Frank M. Johnson called
Lee v. Macon County. The Court put the United States in that case as an amicus
because it knew that the civil rights organization didn’t have enough staff to
prepare the case and we did. I think our independence was needed as we went
before the courts. We weren’t in the pocket of people who were litigating on the
same side, we were independent. I don’t think it meant that we were hostile to
them or what they were doing.
Ms. Garrett: As the AAG for Civil Rights, did you have direct dealings with civil rights
Mr. Pollak: Some, but not a lot. Burke and John had been known to and walked with some of
those giants of the movement. My job description didn’t really require me to do
it. There were occasions in which our paths crossed. Sometimes, as I remarked at
a prior session on the meeting we had with the leaders of the women’s movement,
people would come in and I would meet with the Attorney General and with
them. Mostly, I just worked away doing our thing. We had laws to enforce, a
mission to carry out and I just worked at it and those people may have met with
the President or met with the Attorney General. If they met with the Attorney
– 182 –
General, I was with them. When Dr. King was slain, the Attorney General sent
me to Memphis where there was going to be a march two or three days after the
death and the day before the funeral. I went down there and was the President’s
representative in terms of dealing with nationalizing the Tennessee Guard and the
whole fabric of trying to maintain civil order. I’m confident that I met various
people at the time I was there. I never had occasion to meet Dr. King.
Ms. Garrett: What were your feelings when you were sent down to Memphis for the march,
because it was a potentially volatile event, right?
Mr. Pollak: It was.
Ms. Garrett: What were you thinking about that?
Mr. Pollak: I was consumed by the mission. I considered that my major responsibility was to
work with the local authorities, Governor Ellington, the leadership of the
Tennessee Guard and the federal officials. I can’t remember whether we had
federal troops there, I believe not, or whether we relied on Tennessee Guard to
assure that the march could go off peacefully, that there was no violence against
the marchers, and that there was no eruption out of the march that would bring
about violence. Our purpose was to have armed force available but unseen in the
event there was trouble. I’m sure there were other people that felt it as well, but I
felt as if I was in charge for the President and the Attorney General. I got there
very early in the morning because everything was beginning to happen and about
the time the march was about to begin, I looked around toward the line of march.
I was on an upper story of a downtown building along the line of march, and I
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saw a tank rumbling down a side street toward the line of march. I thought that
was the last thing we wanted. I called down and said, “Get that tank out of there,”
or “Get that back out of sight.” And so the tank went rumbling off out of sight,
and the march and the Memphis Police and the Guard all cooperated and the
march went off without incident. It was a good day in those sad times, and it was
the right thing. They were able to demonstrate their grievances. As soon as that
day was over, I went to Atlanta where the Civil Rights Division had responsibility
for liaison on the street with those seeking to maintain order there for Dr. King’s
Ms. Garrett: What was the reception like with the local officials you were dealing with in that
Mr. Pollak: Well, it was excellent in Memphis and I think it was the same in Atlanta. That’s
my recollection. It was tense. It was certainly tense in Atlanta, particularly, but,
as much as it may sound sophomoric, we had a job to do that was all-consuming
and so we just did that job. We did it all to the exclusion of thinking of anything
else, and the job was again the same thing, to see that the funeral procession could
go ahead, could go where it was to go, that there wouldn’t be interference and that
the civil authorities would be carrying out the job of maintaining order for the
funeral. We were restoring the civil fabric of the country.
Ms. Garrett: What did your wife, what did Ruth think about your launching yourself or being
launched into hot spots at moments like this?
– 184 –
Mr. Pollak: I think that the major thing she thought was that she had a lot to do at home. She
may have worried about it, but I had never considered that my job was dangerous.
It just didn’t seem that way. It was all-consuming. The most difficult call that I
handled was one night while I was First Assistant. I was asleep and a telephone
call came in from a small town, Greenwood, Mississippi. Some black young
people had gone to a movie theater to desegregate the theater. When it came time
to go home, there was a mob outside. Someone either in the theater or outside
was calling to ask me what they could do or what I could do to assure the safety
of the young blacks inside the theater.
Ms. Garrett: And what was the answer?
Mr. Pollak: I thought that was really scary. What I believe happened was that I urged them to
be cautious and not rush out of the theater. I spoke to the Bureau and asked
whether they could intercede with the local police to see if there could be a police
presence brought on the scene. I can’t tell you how it all came out but there was
no report of violence.
Ms. Garrett: Let me ask you this. How old were your kids at this time?
Mr. Pollak: When I became First Assistant, my youngest, Eve, was 3 and Roger was 6, and
David was 9 and Linda was 11, so 11, 9, 6 and 3. When I left government, they
must have been 14, 13, 9, and 7.
Ms. Garrett: Did your kids, particularly the older ones, have an understanding what your work
– 185 –
Mr. Pollak: I thought they did. I thought Roger did who was my third child. I have a
photograph of Roger at the swearing in by Justice Brennan. My father was there
and he and Roger are looking at the commission the President had signed. There
was a lot of sacrifice that I asked the family and Ruth to make. Ruth thought that
I needed somehow to get away from some of it and we bought a place in
Rappahannock County in 1965 which she scouted out for that purpose. That was
good, I went out there occasionally.
Ms. Garrett: How often did you go out there?
Mr. Pollak: I don’t recall. It had nothing on it for a time, so we would go out there and camp
in a tent. We went out there and roamed around often enough. We go now about
every other weekend. The period of my government service from 1961 to 1969,
which was a period when my children were really young, indeed Ruth had our
youngest in 1962, was a period in which I was working all the time. I lost a lot.
Ruth carried a lot and I think I asked a lot of her and the children. I missed a lot
of their childhood and they missed having more of me. It’s just not any longer a
one-way thing. Women are government leaders and asked to make similar
sacrifices. The non-government spouse in that situation is asked to do a great
deal, and the government spouse misses out on a lot of wonderful family activity.
Ms. Garrett: Do you have any recollection about how you talked to you kids about these
enormous and historic events that were occurring around you and with you?
Mr. Pollak: I recall talking to Linda or David’s eighth grade class about what the Civil Rights
Division did. I took my son Roger with me for a trial of a race case in the
– 186 –
Northern District of Mississippi in the early 1970s when I was representing the
NEA. The children had a good awareness and feeling for the purpose served by
the Division, equality and equality before the law and non-discrimination.
Our kids seemed to have a pretty good idea about what I was doing. I
don’t know that I was making it all seem as significant to them as it was to me.
It’s a heady experience, government. I can remember being present on the
Meredith March from Memphis to Jackson and each day going along and then
staying in very rural out-of-the-way motels and watching it all happen. There
were a lot of interesting and challenging things to do. I don’t know that it struck
me at the time they were fun, but in the larger sense they were captivating. I
consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity.
The men and women in the Division have all gone on. Some stayed and
had careers in the government, in the Division, but many of them went on and had
interesting and rewarding careers of one sort or another outside government. It
was a great bunch.
Ms. Garrett: We’ve talked a fair amount about the cases and some of the issues that you
confronted as you came in as the AAG of the Civil Rights Division. Were there
any pieces of legislation that you wanted to touch on that were particularly
prominent that you developed or played a significant role in your time as AAG?
Mr. Pollak: Well, I think I’ve alluded to them. I remember having a major debate when we
were drawing the Fair Jury statute with Attorney General Clark. His view was
– 187 –
that you didn’t have to be able to read to be a juror, and I think that’s the way we
drew the bill, and it became law.
Ms. Garrett: Did you disagree with him on that point?
Mr. Pollak: I had to be persuaded, but I don’t recall that we were in disagreement at the end.
As enacted, the Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968 authorized the chief
judges of the district courts to recognize a person as qualified to serve as a juror
unless he or she was unable to read, write, and understand the English language
with a degree of proficiency sufficient to fill out the juror qualification form. In
developing the provisions of the jury bill, we worked closely with then District
Judge Irving Kaufman who was the chair of the committee on juries of the
Judicial Conference of the United States.
In January 1968, President Johnson asked the Congress to enact several
pieces of civil rights legislation in addition to the jury selection bill. Primary
planks that became law were the Fair Housing statute, Title VIII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1968, and the bill to strengthen federal criminal laws penalizing
violent interference with the exercise of civil rights which was passed as Title I of
that Civil Rights Act. The problem we were working to address in what became
Title I was left by the Supreme Court’s 1945 decision in Screws v. United States
[325 U.S. 91]. The Court was reviewing an indictment charging county police
officers in Georgia with a conspiracy to violate a Reconstruction Era civil rights
statute [Section 20 of the Federal Criminal Code, 18 U.S.C. 52] making it a crime
under color of law to willfully deprive a person of any rights, privileges or
– 188 –
immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States by reason of
the person’s race or color. The Court was concerned that the statute’s terms were
unconstitutionally vague and set no ascertainable standard of guilt. To save its
constitutionality, the Court interpreted the term “willfully” to require proof of a
specific intent to deprive a person of a federal right made definite either by the
express terms of the Constitution or laws of the United States. Over the years,
satisfaction of Screws posed a difficult problem of proof – described to me in law
school as requiring a showing that the defendant had in his head at the moment he
was striking a black person or a white person aiding a black person a specific
intent to take away a specific civil right of the person.
So Louie Claiborne, who was in the Solicitor General’s Office, and I
drafted a new section of the federal laws protecting against criminal interference
with civil rights, now codified as 18 U.S.C. 245, to specify precisely the various
actions proscribed; for example, interference with any person because he is or has
been voting or qualifying to vote or is or has been enrolling in or attending any
public school. Congress enacted the bill just as we drafted it. It also passed the
historic Fair Housing Act as well.
Louie Claiborne was a lifetime member of the Solicitor General’s Office with
whom I served 1961 to 1964. In his later years, he resided in Britain, the home
country of his wife, where he became a barrister and Queen’s Counsel. He
continued to serve as an attorney in the SG’s office during periods when he
returned to the United States.
– 189 –
Ms. Garrett: How on earth did he manage that?
Mr. Pollak: He did. He was so outstanding. He was such an outstanding lawyer. He’s now
deceased, I am sorry to say, but he was there when I was in SG’s office and
became a friend. He was a wonderful lawyer, a delightful man. It was a great
privilege to work in the SG’s office when I did because there were only nine of
us, including Archibald Cox who was an outstanding Solicitor General; Oscar
Davis, who became a federal judge, succeeded by Ralph Spritzer as First
Assistant; Dan Friedman who became a federal judge as Second Assistant; Wayne
Barnett who became a professor of tax law at Stanford and then the University of
Washington Law School; Frank Goodman who also became a professor of law;
Philip Heymann who became a professor of law at Harvard and later Deputy
Attorney General; Nat Lewin who later served as my Second Assistant in the
Civil Rights Division; Bill Doolittle who became a private attorney here in D.C.;
and Bruce Terris who created a special small private law firm representing “good”
causes. That’s probably the whole of the office. All wonderful lawyers.
Ms. Garrett: Ever since, you have kept in touch with a number of the folks you worked with?
Mr. Pollak: I have, although I haven’t been in touch with them in a year or so. I knew them
all well. We were so close. We generally had our meals together and we often
ate at the Federal Trade Commission cafeteria on the 7th floor. Archibald Cox ate
with us every Friday and sometimes we would eat with him on Saturday because
we all worked Saturdays. We often ate at a restaurant where the Hoover Building
– 190 –
is on the north side of Pennsylvania – Harry’s Raw Bar. Being in the SG’s office
is a totally all-consuming job because you always have a big brief on your desk.
Ms. Garrett: Before a big court.
Mr. Pollak: Yes.
Ms. Garrett: We’re winding into the end of your term of Assistant Attorney General.
Mr. Pollak: I think so. When Nixon was elected, Richard Kleindienst, the Deputy Attorney
General designate, interviewed me as he did all the Assistant Attorneys General,
and he later communicated the message that President Nixon would accept my
resignation, so I submitted my resignation. I don’t know whether I would have
been willing to serve had they asked me to stay on, but I put my resignation in. It
was accepted and I was out at noon on January 20. My successor was confirmed
and in office on January 20, 1969, at noon.
Ms. Garrett: Slightly different than the pattern in recent administrations.
Mr. Pollak: Right. He had been confirmed and everything. My last act was to tell the guards
at Justice that Jerris Leonard, my successor, was indeed to be permitted to enter
the Department of Justice. I went home and had nothing to do. I had not had an
interview with a law firm. I hadn’t spoken to anyone about work. I had no job. I
had nothing.
Ms. Garrett: Was that because you had been so consumed with your work?
Mr. Pollak: I didn’t consider that I wanted to have anything to do with anybody about a job
while I was in office, but in addition, we worked full bore up to the moment I
– 191 –
went out of office. We brought a lot of suits, made the whole engine go, and then
we were out.
Ms. Garrett: Then you and Ruth took a vacation didn’t you?
Mr. Pollak: John Rosenberg and his wife Jean came to live at our house, and Ruth and I took a
couple of weeks. John was a lead attorney in the Division, and Jean, a super
research analyst. We went skiing in Aspen and then we went to Mexico, but that
was a little after I got out of the government. I negotiated with John Gardner who
was head of the Urban Coalition, he wanted me to come on as his deputy and with
Bill Gorham who was President of the Urban Institute who wanted me to become
his deputy. The Urban Coalition was supported by management and labor. The
labor movement apparently believed that John Doar and I were anti-union
because we had brought equal employment cases against unions. The unions we
sued had very poor records in terms of non-discrimination. We were not antiunion,
we were pro-non-discrimination. In any event, when the labor movement
objected, Gardner withdrew his offer. I guess he counted on funding from labor
unions. Gorham pressed his offer, but wisely, and with some reluctance, I turned
him down. I remember buying him a bottle of Napoleon brandy and giving it to
him as a gift when I turned him down. I did so feeling that my calling was to be a
After I had been in the government for a couple of years, Gerry Gesell,
with whom I had worked at Covington & Burling, told me I should come back,
and suggested that the firm would not necessarily take me back if I stayed longer.
– 192 –
Of course I did. Although Covington was beating the doors down to hire
Ed Zimmerman who had been head of the Antitrust Division, they were not
interested in hiring me. My colleague at Yale, Bill Dempsey recommended to
Frank Shea that Shea & Gardner hire me. It was an outstanding and wellrespected
firm of perhaps 20 lawyers, all with great academic and practice
credentials. I went to lunch with Frank and Bill at the Metropolitan Club. On the
way back we walked along H Street, the firm’s offices were at the corner of H and
15th, we were standing on the northwest corner waiting for the light, and Frank
said, “Well, I hope you’ll join Shea & Gardner. We’ll bring you into the
partnership as the youngest partner and I’ll pay you what you would have earned
at the Department if the raise which Congress had enacted had been in effect
before you left.” which it was not. I said, “Well that sounds fine to me,” and so I
had a deal.
Ms. Garrett: Well it sounds like there was a little more parity between government and private
salaries at the time.
Mr. Pollak: Probably so. He was offering me something like $28,000. I didn’t think the
money made any difference. I felt that I would make my own way as a partner,
that the future would take care of itself.
Ms. Garrett: Well, it’s worth noting because in this day and age starting associates can
command over $100,000 per year, right out of law school.
Mr. Pollak: Right.
Ms. Garrett: Well, in the government they don’t make anywhere near that.
– 193 –
Mr. Pollak: Well, there was more parity certainly.
Ms. Garrett: Interesting. That’s for somebody else to explore. Did you want to add anything
Mr. Pollak: Let me just say this. Immediately after my leaving the Department, someone I
didn’t know from the Archives called and asked me to do an oral history, so I did
four sessions with the Archives. I think they are a valuable contribution.
Certainly valuable to me. One thing that didn’t come through on the tape was that
in giving those histories over those four days, it emphasized to me how much I
had lost by having to give up that work.
Ms. Garrett: Bittersweet.
Mr. Pollak: I felt pretty much adrift. That was my mental state as the questions were put to
me by the Archives person. Transition out of government is demanding because
you’re dealing with national problems because of the office you hold and then
you’re just a newspaper reader.
Ms. Garrett: Physical withdrawals is how I described it.
Mr. Pollak: Right. You have to learn to live with it.
Ms. Garrett: All right, Steve. Why don’t we wrap up this interview here and we’ll pick up at
our next interview with life in the private sector.
Mr. Pollak: Right.
– 194 –
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Eighth Interview-June 14, 2005
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is Katia Garrett. The interview took place at the Goodwin Procter law firm at
901 New York Avenue, N.W., in the District of Columbia on June 14, 2005. This is the eighth
Ms. Garrett: When we last spoke, at least for purposes of our interview, you had just left the
government, and I wanted to start today talking about your entry into private
practice. What the change was like, what you anticipated from the firm, and how
it unrolled for you.
Mr. Pollak: Do you want me to memorialize on the tape the attachment of a memorandum that
I did the night of September 29, 1967, of a flight to President Johnson’s ranch
where he announced his intention to nominate me head of the Civil Rights
Ms. Garrett: Yes, why don’t you do that.
Mr. Pollak: I thought the experience was sufficiently noteworthy and memorable that I
dictated a memorandum on my return home. I brought it along and decided to
make it an attachment to my oral history, so I’m passing it to you.
Ms. Garrett: Okay, great. That will be attached with the other materials.
Mr. Pollak: After the election of 1968, which was won by Richard Nixon, Richard Kleindienst
was designated to be the transition chief for the Department of Justice and may
have been nominee-designate to be Deputy Attorney General. He called me, and
I understood all the other presidential appointees in the department, and
– 195 –
interviewed us about our positions and intentions with an understanding that the
President-elect would let us know whether he would invite us to stay on in his
Administration or ask for our resignations. There was no indication requested,
and I gave none, whether if asked I would stay on. Early in 1969, I received word
that I would not be asked to remain, and I tendered my resignation effective at
noon on January 20. That’s the way my service in the Department came to a
I had had no discussion with anyone about post-government employment
up to that time, and no one had sought me out to have any discussion about postgovernment
employment. I was unemployed and feeling quite deprived and adrift
after the activity of government and the responsibilities of government, which
were very much to my liking. The very week I left government, Archives
telephoned and asked if I would sit for an oral history. I did so, and that history
ran over four days in one week, January 27, 29-31. The history is in the Johnson
Library and can be accessed on the Internet. I have a copy also.
The major question for me when I came out was whether I would seek a
position in a law firm or seek a position in a social activist organization. It turned
out that John Gardner, who had been Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare
in Johnson’s Cabinet, was running an organization then known as the Urban
Coalition. He asked me to come in and talk with him and ultimately asked
whether I would take a position as his deputy. I said I would consider it. At the
same time, Bill Gorham, who had also been an official in the Department of
– 196 –
Health, Education and Welfare, was running something called the Urban Institute,
which exists to this day. Incidentally, the Urban Coalition morphed into Common
Cause, which also exists today. Gorham’s organization was engaged in research
relating to urban problems, whereas Gardner’s organization was actually working
with urban communities to address their problems and better the lives of the
residents. Gorham wanted me to become his No. 2. I considered seriously both
After a time, Gardner advised me that he couldn’t follow through on his
offer. He explained that his funding came one-third from labor unions, one-third
from management or corporations, and one-third from the public. The unions, he
said, had objected to his hiring me. Their explanation was that John Doar and I
were anti-union. Their evidence was that we had brought civil lawsuits alleging
employment discrimination against building trades unions. I was left with the
offer of Bill Gorham, which I seriously considered. My wife Ruth and I took a
long-delayed vacation in February or early March 1969 while both jobs were still
on the table. We went skiing in Aspen, and then to Mexico City and Cozumel. It
was on that trip that I learned – I think we were passing through Dallas – that
Gardner’s offer, or almost-offer, was withdrawn. On my return, I began thinking
more definitely about law firms.
I had agonized over Bill Gorham’s offer and interest in bringing me into the
Urban Institute. Its work was exciting. Bill was broadly capable, had broadly
capable colleagues, but in the end I concluded that I wanted to be a practicing
– 197 –
lawyer. Bill’s office was on L Street around 19th or 20th, and I made an
appointment with him. He didn’t know what I was going to say. There was a
liquor store in the ground floor of his building. I bought a bottle of outstanding
brandy, Napoleon brandy, and took it with me as a gift. I told him I wasn’t going
to take his job and I felt his regret and my own. It was, again, a decision that was
the right one for me.
Ms. Garrett: So, then you started at Shea & Gardner as their youngest partner. What was your
practice like?
Mr. Pollak: I didn’t have any clients, and no one ever talked to me about being a client. In the
five-plus years at Covington, I can’t recall that any clients came to me. Now,
Frank Shea assigned me my first piece of work, which was an interesting problem
of the Democratic Party. The Party had been represented by Bennett Boskey and
Ellis Lyons who had a small firm. The Party had published, I believe in
connection with the 1968 or 1964 election, a glossy Fortune magazine-size book
of ads by corporations and other supporters and questions were being raised
respecting improper fundraising. Ellis Lyons, I think, was handling it. It seemed
to be headed toward litigation, and Bennett and Ellis asked Frank Shea if he
would take it over. Frank said he would. Frank had a rule of practice, which at
least he gave verbal support for, that anyone who would pay his fees would be
represented. Frank asked me to work on it and so I bore deeply into everything
about the collection of these funds and the presentation in the magazine. My
memory is that one way or another, we resolved the problem favorably to the
– 198 –
client. That kept me busy. I believed in the client’s position. I think that, like a
lot of lawyers, I generally believe in my clients’ positions, but most of the clients
who have come to me have had positions that looked in the directions that I
believed in or that were congenial with my social and ethical outlook.
Frank was certainly interested in whether clients would come to me. It was a
small firm and he was taking a chance in bringing in a partner who hadn’t begun
with the firm. I think all the other partners had moved through from associate to
Ms. Garrett: How many partners were there at that time? You said there were about twenty
Mr. Pollak: Maybe there were under twenty. I think that there were probably ten, eleven,
something like that. Many had been Supreme Court clerks. Frank had been Dean
of the Buffalo Law School. He had been an Assistant Attorney General in charge
of Alien Property, the precursor of the Civil Division. Warner Gardner had been
Acting Solicitor General and First Assistant to the Solicitor General at Justice as
well as Solicitor of Labor, Solicitor of Interior, Acting Deputy Secretary of
Interior. He and Frank had started the firm in 1946 and had hired many Supreme
Court clerks. Frank was known for being a good judge of lawyers and seeking to
hire the best quality.
Frank always counseled me to have patience. “Clients would come,” he said,
“it didn’t matter; the firm was happy to have me on board and we’d have plenty to
– 199 –
Ms. Garrett: What kind of practice did you envision yourself developing at that point, when
you started off with no portfolio?
Mr. Pollak: I envisioned a litigation practice. I had no desire to turn my civil rights
experience into representations of persons or corporations or unions charged with
violating the new civil rights laws. I never sought that kind of practice and almost
never did it. Indeed, the only defense-related work that I ever did in civil rights
was for the railroads which were a client of the firm, one of the first clients of
Shea & Gardner. The firm represented the National Railway Labor Conference,
which was the collective bargaining representative of the railroads for national
bargaining with the unions. Certain railroads had been charged with employment
discrimination by the Department of Justice. I think I had brought cases against
railroads, or at least those cases were in preparation during my time in the
Division. The railroads asked me during the 1970s to counsel with the National
Railway Labor Conference respecting the equal employment laws. I recall
preparing memoranda and meeting with the railroads. Out of that came a
representation in a private employment action, a class action against the St. Louis
Terminal Railroad which I defended along with John Rich, my partner, a younger
partner. It was presented before Judge Harlington Wood, of the Alton Division of
the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, who went on
from the District Court to the Seventh Circuit. There was a large amount of
discovery, and we put up a very active defense. We had appropriately aggressive
counsel for the plaintiffs, and ultimately settled the case at a modest figure which
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we considered a very good settlement. Those were the only times in a long
private practice that I was approached to represent persons or corporations
defending themselves against complaints of employment or other civil rights
Early in my return to Shea & Gardner, Northwest Airlines telephoned me
when I was in Chicago for something – maybe on a case – and flew me on an
empty 747 to Minneapolis and interviewed me about becoming its counsel on
equal employment matters. I thought that was an exciting possibility. I must not
have fit their bill because I left and never heard another word.
I thought my practice would be a litigation practice. I didn’t have any idea
what field. I knew my way around the courts. I engaged in no marketing. I just
did what came along. Then David Rubin, who had been in the Appeals Section of
the Civil Rights Division when I was there, and had moved to the Civil Rights
Commission as Deputy General Counsel or General Counsel, had left government
and become Deputy General Counsel of the National Education Association and
counsel for the NEA’s DuShane Fund, the focus of which was protection of
teacher rights. David called me and said that the DuShane Fund and NEA wanted
to have a special counsel representing the organizations on desegregation issues
affecting education. He asked me to get my thoughts in order, possibly writing
them down, and to come to Puerto Rico, where the DuShane Fund Board was
meeting, to be interviewed.
Ms. Garrett: When was this?
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Mr. Pollak: Early 1970 or late 1969. I had joined Shea & Gardner on March 18, 1969. I went
to Puerto Rico. The lead person for NEA in heading up the group for which I
would be serving as counsel was a black man named Sam Ethridge. I remember
making a presentation before him and others. I recall feeling that the desires of
NEA in respect to school desegregation appeared to be somewhat diffuse. I was
uncertain whether I had made an effective presentation and what the outcome
would be. Very shortly, or maybe while I was still in Puerto Rico, I was advised
that NEA wanted to go ahead with me, and that began a full decade of
representing NEA in school desegregation and teacher desegregation litigations in
the Supreme Court and the federal appellate and district courts. It was one of
those representations that anyone – at least of my stripe – dreamed of. During
that decade, Shea & Gardner, with me at the helm, had amicus briefs in the
Supreme Court in virtually every case affecting school desegregation, all the race
cases. We represented NEA in numerous related proceedings in the lower courts.
There was a great Supreme Court case in that period involving the separation of
church and state in funding of education. Lemon was the petitioner. Ralph
Moore, who had clerked for Chief Justice Warren, was one of my partners at the
firm. He took the lead in drafting that brief.
David Rubin was deeply committed to school desegregation. Richard
Sharp, one of the younger associates, and I teamed up working with David on all
of these briefs. The Civil Rights Commission had come out with a report on
“Racial Isolation in the Public Schools,” even with desegregation, and we worked
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on briefs in the Michigan case, Milliken, involving racial impaction in the center
city and white schools in the suburbs and the power of the courts to award
interdistrict relief. The issue was whether state action had caused the racial
makeup of the largely black center city district and the almost totally white
surrounding suburban districts, so that the court was empowered constitutionally
to order interdistrict busing for desegregation. The issue came down to whether
the existing segregation in the public schools of Detroit was caused by state action
or was the result of non-state action, so-called de facto segregation. We were
presenting arguments drawing on all the factual evidence to try to show that the
racial makeup of those schools was the result of state action, de jure, rather than
de facto.
Besides the appellate litigation, NEA retained me to represent teachers in
school discipline situations. Some of those I litigated. One involved a teacher in
Dade County, Florida. A lot of Shea & Gardner lawyers were kept busy with
these NEA-funded litigations.
The decade saw two of what I would call great trial-level, and in one
instance, appeals cases. I’d like to put them on this record.
One of the very earliest assignments that NEA brought to me was to
challenge efforts that were percolating in Deep South school systems to use
standardized tests and minimum scores on those standardized tests to requalify
teachers in public school systems following orders of the courts that the faculties
must be desegregated. Where school systems had maintained black faculty for
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black students and white faculty for white students, the court orders meant that
black faculty would be teaching white and black students alike. This was
considered unacceptable by school boards and teachers in some school systems.
NEA sought me out for two systems in northeastern Mississippi that resorted to
ETS – Educational Testing Service – tests with a minimum qualifying score to
requalify their teachers. One system was the Starkville Municipal Separate
School District which for the fall of 1970 required all of its teachers to make a
minimum score on the Graduate Record Examination. A second school district
just down the highway from Starkville, the Columbus Municipal Separate School
District, employed the more appropriate National Teachers Examination with a
minimum score to requalify all its teachers. The black teachers scored low on
these two tests, probably at levels that were 50 percent of the scores posted by the
white teachers. Although many of the black teachers had taught for long periods
and taught with high approval ratings, the institution of the testing meant that they
were going to be fired. Mixed race groups of teachers complained to the NEA,
and the NEA asked me to represent them. David Beers, my partner at Shea &
Gardner, and I went to Mississippi to find local counsel. We hired Hal Freeland
out of Oxford, and we came home and drafted complaints and filed lawsuits
before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi,
Judge Orma Smith.1 I spent a great deal of time in Mississippi interviewing these
1/ Armstead v. Starkville Municipal Separate School District, 461 F.2d 276 (5th Cir. 1972), affirming 325
F. Supp. 560 (N.D. Miss. 1971); Baker v. Columbus Municipal Separate School District, 462 F.2d 1172 (5th Cir.
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teachers, learning the cases, and then deposing officials of the school systems.
We had preliminary injunction hearings before Judge Smith, and we prevailed.
The use of the tests to quantify teachers for the 1970-71 school year was enjoined.
Along the way, I worked with the Educational Testing Service, including their
expert on these examinations whose name was James Deneen, as well as Winton
Manning who rose high in the organization. ETS believed that the uses being
made of the tests were not appropriate. That was particularly so with the GRE,
but it was also true of the NTE which had not been drawn to test for effectiveness
of experienced teachers. I had Deneen and Manning as experts supporting the
plaintiff teachers and made this full record; had the superintendents of each school
district on the stand before the Court examining them as to why they were doing
what they were doing. I had my teachers on the stand. The school districts
appealed to the Fifth Circuit and we briefed and argued the cases and the Fifth
Circuit affirmed the rulings of the District Court. I do not recall that certiorari
was sought.
Subsequently, we brought two state-wide federal court actions, one on
behalf of the South Carolina teachers, and the other on behalf of the North
Carolina teachers, challenging institution of requirements that all teachers take the
National Teachers Examination and make a stated score. Each state laid on the
test score requirement coincident with court orders for desegregation of faculties.
1972), affirming 329 F. Supp. 706 (N.D. Miss. 1971).
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These two cases were presented to three-judge district courts. The
managing judge for the North Carolina case was United States District Judge Tam
Craven who later went onto the Fourth Circuit. We prevailed in the North
Carolina case. However, the state school superintendents had learned a thing or
two from the Mississippi litigations and had configured the use of the test more to
ETS’s standards. This was particularly so in South Carolina where ETS was
represented by Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering.
It’s worth saying something about that. Winton Manning, whom I had
presented as an expert in the Mississippi cases, asked if I would represent ETS in
what he correctly anticipated would be a series of challenges to its examinations
on racial grounds. I looked at the situation and advised him that I thought that
soon enough ETS and my client NEA were going to be on opposite sides of this
issue, so that I shouldn’t represent ETS. I recommended my Yale Law School
classmate Howard Willens at Wilmer, Cutler. So it turned out in the South
Carolina case that Wilmer, Cutler and Howard were representing ETS as an
amicus. They gave ETS effective representation. The court in the South Carolina
case was led by Circuit Judge, former Senator, Russell of the Fourth Circuit.
Senator Russell was a very smart judge and he was hostile to our case from the
standpoint of the facts and the issues that we presented. He disagreed that there
was any remedy that was appropriate, and in the end, we lost before the South
Carolina federal court on four or five or six different issues. We appealed to the
Supreme Court but it was pretty clear that the Court was never going to take a
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case in which the appellant had lost on six grounds. A motion to affirm was made
by the state and granted by the Supreme Court. That led to reversal of the
favorable decision in North Carolina and pretty much finished NEA’s challenge
to the use of the ETS NTE test for teacher requalification. We had endeavored to
prove in the North Carolina and South Carolina cases that the National Teachers
Examination had not been properly validated for the uses by the two states. And
of course ETS valiantly tried to prove otherwise. I think we had the better of the
issue. We satisfied the North Carolina court, but we lost before the South
Carolina court. Those were great litigations, and there’s no question that the
scores that black faculty were making on the test, which were around the 11th or
12th percentile, presented a great hurdle to overcome. Those scores say a lot about
the education and background of the black teachers, who were the products of
segregated schools and segregated societies. All of them had been teaching black
children in segregated schools, many doing so to the satisfaction of the state for
many years.
Later in the 1970s, NEA brought me a representation which came from its
General Counsel, Robert Chanin, that was more of a labor law case. The NEA
and the American Federation of Teachers, led by Albert Shanker, had had
discussions of a never-ending nature about the possibility of merger. Indeed, I
think those discussions go on even to this day. The NEA’s state affiliate in
New York and the AFT affiliate in New York had merged. The joint state
affiliate was called the New York State Union of Teachers, I believe, NYSUT.
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The merged affiliate then split apart, and NEA retained me to sue the AFT
affiliate for funds that NEA had invested in the merged entity which NEA
believed were due to be returned. We brought suit in the U.S. District Court for
the Northern District of New York in Albany and there ensued a lengthy, and
actively pursued on both sides, litigation in which the Shanker affiliate was well
represented by John Callagy of the Kelly Drye firm. Many depositions were
taken, mostly in New York City. I litigated the case with the help of a paralegal
at Shea & Gardner, Dorothy Landsberg, who had been in the Civil Rights
Division. Her husband, Brian Landsberg, had spent a career there and then
became a professor at McGeorge Law School, which is part of the University of
the Pacific. Dorothy completed a law education later in her career and is now the
head of a major law firm called Kronick Moskovitz in Sacramento.
Ms. Landsberg and I prepared these depositions and did a great deal of factfinding
in the records. Ultimately, we worked with NEA General Counsel Chanin
to settle the case with return of a significant sum to NEA.
That was an active period for me in representing NEA all the way up to
1980 when Bob Chanin determined that he was going to join a law firm but
remain as NEA General Counsel. He considered Shea & Gardner and a unionside
labor firm, Bredhoff & Kaiser. Ultimately he decided to join Bredhoff &
Kaiser where he has had a distinguished career and remained as NEA General
Counsel down to this day. I discussed with Bob the merits of joining our firm
versus Bredhoff. I remember telling him that while Shea & Gardner would make
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a good place for him, the union firm might be a more congenial or supportive
home, and he chose to go there. When he moved to Bredhoff, I never did another
stick of NEA work. Now my son is a partner of Bob’s at Bredhoff & Kaiser.
Ms. Garrett: Is that right? Which son is this?
Mr. Pollak: This is Roger. Roger’s a labor lawyer.
Ms. Garrett: Does he do any work for the NEA?
Mr. Pollak: He did one case with Bob. I had a great time representing NEA, and I have very
fond feelings for all of the NEA people, including Bob Chanin. It was a very
special representation.
It wasn’t long after I joined Shea & Gardner that another client came to
me, the Trustees of the United Mine Workers of America Health & Retirement
Funds. The Funds were a collectively-bargained pension and welfare fund for
coal mine workers and their dependents. I think they first came to me in 1970,
and I continue to represent them today. But it is fascinating what led them to me.
Ms. Garrett: Why did they come?
Mr. Pollak: Coincidence. And this says something about marketing, which is a big thing in
law practice today. When I was at Covington & Burling, before going into
government, I worked with Gerhard Gesell on antitrust cases. He of course later
became an outstanding judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of
Columbia. When I was in the Civil Rights Division as First Assistant to Assistant
Attorney General John Doar, I did the hiring of young lawyers, particularly under
the Honors Program. One of those I hired under that program was a number one
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graduate from the Law School of Washington University in St. Louis named
Monica Gallagher. Monica served with distinction in the Civil Rights Division
and later moved to the Labor Department to handle pension and welfare matters
under the supervision of a lawyer named Ian Lanoff. Lanoff moved to the
UMWA Funds as General Counsel, and Monica moved with him. There were
two lawyers in the General Counsel’s office there.
The Funds had a system of hospitals qualified to provide care and be
reimbursed by the Funds, but the hospitals had to meet certain requirements. So
when the Funds refused to qualify a hospital in, I believe, Kentucky, Webster
Hospital, it sued the Funds claiming an antitrust boycott. The Funds wanted
outside counsel, and Monica remembered that I had done antitrust work, so the
Funds retained me as their antitrust lawyer. I defended the case successfully
before District Judge Tom Flannery in the United States District Court for the
District of Columbia. The hospital appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and we
prevailed there.2/
In 1974, the UMWA and the coal companies entered a new collective
bargaining agreement known as the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement
of 1974. It continued funding for the Health and Retirement Funds, providing for
a per-ton royalty on coal produced as well as a comparable royalty per-ton of coal
purchased on which the per-ton royalty had not been paid. The latter provision
was called the “purchase-of-coal clause” and it, or a comparable provision, had
2/ Trustees of UMWA 1950 Welfare and Retirement Fund v. Webster Hospital, 536 F.2d 419 (1976).
– 210 –
been in the successive national labor agreements since 1946, but it had never been
complied with by the operators or enforced by the Trustees of the Funds. The
UMWA said that the purpose of the clause was to protect the work of the UMWA
mine workers by evening out the cost of non-UMWA coal with that of UMWAproduced
coal. The cost of UMWA coal was elevated primarily because of the
cost of the health and retirement benefits, but also because the terms and
conditions of UMWA employment exceeded those of non-union companies. As a
result, the cost of non-union coal, referred to as non-signatory coal, was cheaper.
The coal companies rejected those justifications and challenged the clause as a
boycott of non-signatory coal aimed at forcing non-union companies to recognize
the UMWA, unlawful under the antitrust laws and under section 8(e) of the
National Labor Relations Act, the so-called “hot cargo” clause of the labor statute.
The Trustees, in 1974, asked me to prepare a memorandum on whether, if
they enforced the purchase-of-coal clause, they would themselves be committing
an antitrust violation. We did a comprehensive memorandum at Shea & Gardner.
Ralph Moore worked with me on it, and Frank Kramer. Frank was an associate.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fund was a capable attorney named
Harry Huge and the General Counsel, now deceased, was Martin Danziger. Our
memorandum said it would not be a violation of the antitrust or labor laws to
enforce the clause, provided the clause was a legal work preservation clause
aimed at evening out the cost of non-union coal with union coal and thereby
protecting the work of UMWA mineworkers. Shortly after providing that
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memorandum, United States Steel sued the Funds in the U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia to enjoin enforcement of the clause, and we defended
that lawsuit. After we got into the meat of the case with the commencement of
discovery, U.S. Steel apparently became concerned that it was creating a record
that might in the end be used by treble-damage plaintiffs against the company. It
moved immediately to settle the case, and we ultimately did so favorably to the
Trustees. Contributions were due on the coal that had been purchased in the
amount of over $12 million. I remember that the check for the Trustees’ recovery
was so large that U.S. Steel sent it over to me by messenger riding a bicycle. I got
it immediately deposited in the bank. That was in 1975. Thereafter, there was
litigation challenging the purchase-of-coal clause that extended all the way into
the late 1980s or early 1990s. Coal operators sued the Funds to enjoin
enforcement of the clause, and we sued operators seeking recovery of delinquent
contributions. Those cases were so numerous that we moved the Multi-District
Litigation Panel to consolidate them for pretrial discovery, which it did, in the
Western District of Pennsylvania before Judge Mansmann, who later went on to
the Third Circuit. Another district judge was assigned the case, Judge Alan
Bloch. We lost a motion for summary judgment before Judge Mansmann and
appealed the ruling to the Third Circuit. The question was whether the clause was
unlawful on its face. We prevailed on that issue3 although the court left open the
question whether the clause could be applied in ways that violated the labor or
3/ In re Bituminous Coal Wage Litigation, 756 F.2d 284 (3d Cir. 1985).
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antitrust laws. After that, there was a long run of litigations in which individual
companies endeavored to prove that the clause was unlawful as applied. There
was much paper discovery and many depositions.
After the Third Circuit ruled that the purchase-of-coal clause was legal on
its face in In re Bituminous Coal Wage Agreements Litigation, some 40 to 50
cases that had been multi-districted were remanded to Judge Bloch of the United
States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania for conduct of
common discovery. Some judges who have multi-district cases in front of them
look toward actually trying the cases once they have handled all the common
discovery. Judge Bloch was determined that he would conduct only the common
discovery and then remand all the cases. There was a large amount of discovery
conducted but Judge Bloch would not hear any substantive issues. When Judge
Bloch ruled on the discovery, he ruled orally in court, and his rulings were
transcribed in the transcript but in no other way. He gave his rulings by citing the
number of the interrogatory or document request and stating “yes” for approval of
the request or “no” for denial, thus “Seventeen- A, yes; Seventeen-B, no;
Seventeen-C, yes, Eighteen-A, no.” The court gave no explanation of the grounds
of the rulings.
Ms. Garrett: Interesting. Really did his best to not create a record, other than on the transcript.
Mr. Pollak: We tried to understand the foundation of the rulings by comparing the favorable
and unfavorable rulings. Ultimately, all of the purchase-of-coal cases but the one,
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Ohio Valley Coal Company, in which the Trustees prevailed on the merits, were
settled favorably to the Trustees.
I should mention that before the cases that were multi-districted, we
litigated the legality of the clause with Kaiser Steel, which had mines in
New Mexico.4 Kaiser was represented by Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering – Douglas
Melamed. We countered Kaiser’s effort to avoid its purchase-of-coal royalty
obligations imposed by the Coal Wage Agreement by relying on a proposition,
coming out of a Supreme Court case called Kelly v. Kosuga [358 U.S. 516
(1959)], that an antitrust and unfair labor practice defense should not be
entertained when raised by the employer after all employee services had been
performed. There were actually two suits, one against Kaiser, and another against
Reitz Coal.5/ One case was heard by District Judge Flannery and the other by
Judge June Green. They were consolidated before the United States Court of
Appeals for the D.C. Circuit where we prevailed in an opinion by Judge Abner
Mikva, with Judge Wilkey writing a vigorous dissent. Kaiser petitioned for
certiorari which was granted, and the Supreme Court, with Justice White writing
the opinion, in Kaiser Steel Corporation v. Mullins, Chairman of the Board of
Trustees, reversed, six to three against the Funds. When we couldn’t win on a
Kelly v. Kosuga theory, which didn’t put in issue all the panoply of facts about
whether the clause was a “hot cargo” clause or a work preservation clause, we had
4/ Mullins v. Kaiser Steel Corporation, 466 F. Supp. 911 (D.D.C. 1979), aff’d, 642 F.2d 1302 (D.C. Cir. 1980),
reversed 455 U.S. 72 (1982).
5/ Mullins v. Reitz Coal Co., 105 LRRM 2776 (D.D.C. 1979).
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to go into all of those issues and litigated for another decade and a half.
Ultimately, over $100 million in delinquent contributions was recovered. In the
one case, Ohio Valley Coal Company, that was ultimately litigated on the merits
to a conclusion, Judge Graham of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District
of Ohio upheld the legality of the clause as applied there.
Ms. Garrett: When did that case, the Ohio Valley case —
Mr. Pollak: That was almost the last purchase-of-coal case. It must have been decided in the
late 1980s. The owner of Ohio Valley was very firm in his view that he would
not settle. Both sides were well represented, lead counsel for Ohio Valley was the
law firm of Polito & Smock of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ohio Valley failed to
respond to our discovery requests, so the case was tried on the facts we set forth
in the discovery. I’ve continued to represent the Funds on other issues.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, due to changes in the coal industry, the
UMWA Health Benefit Funds went into the red, and the Trustees announced they
would soon for the first time be forced to cut benefits. Congress reconstituted
those funds into the UMWA Combined Benefit Fund and rebased the private
funding by former and present companies signatory to Coal Wage Agreements.
I’ve represented the Combined Benefit Fund in a number of long-running cases in
which coal operators have contested the constitutionality and meaning of the
statute, the Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act of 1992 (“Coal Act”).
Ms. Garrett: Of the federal statute that created the Combined Fund?
Mr. Pollak: Right.
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Ms. Garrett: Were there any details that you wanted to provide about those litigations?
Mr. Pollak: The Coal Act spawned a plethora of litigation between 1993 and 2007. Issues
relating to that statute, its meaning and constitutionality, have gone to the
Supreme Court and have been heard on the merits in three cases. During this
period, we have been litigating complex Coal Act cases for the Trustees. For
example, we are now representing the Combined Benefit Fund in litigation over
the meaning of the formula for calculation of the premiums the Coal Act requires
coal operators to pay. At issue is the meaning of the word “reimbursements” as
used in the formula. At least $209 million in premiums is involved. We litigated
the issue successfully before Judge Kollar-Kotelly in the District of Columbia.
On appeal, the D.C. Circuit, in a unanimous opinion by Judge Edwards for
himself, Senior Judge Williams and Judge Rogers, held in part for the position
taken by the Trustees but remanded it to the Social Security Administration which
applies the formula and sets the premium. Imagine, this litigation over the
meaning of one word in the premium formula still goes on, having been before
several federal trial and appellate courts in Alabama, Virginia, Maryland, and the
District of Columbia for nine years.
The representation of the Mine Funds has been fascinating in the legal
issues it has presented, a textbook lode of intellectually challenging questions.
The Trustees have been my longest running representation as a private lawyer.
Ms. Garrett: Have you recalled the name of the judge who dissented in the Kelly v. Kosuga
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Mr. Pollak: In the Kaiser Steel purchase-of-coal case, where the issue was whether the court
would hear a challenge to the legality of the clause in a contract action for
recovery of royalties to a collectively-bargained health benefit fund, under the
Kelly v. Kosuga ruling of the Supreme Court, the dissenting judge was Malcolm
Wilkey. We prevailed before Judge June Green in the Reitz Coal v. Mullins case,
which presented the very same issue. In the Court of Appeals, I remember the
argument where Judge Wilkey was totally unaccepting of the reading we were
giving Kelly, to the point where his face became red. Of course, Justice White
vindicated him, as the Supreme Court ruled along the lines that Judge Wilkey had
taken in his dissent.
At the time we were beginning to litigate the Kaiser case, the General
Counsel of the Funds was Henry Ruth. I worked closely with Henry and
ultimately, at my invitation, Henry joined our law firm as a partner and was here
at Shea & Gardner several years. He then went back to Philadelphia, which was
his home, to the Saul Ewing firm. Henry had been one of the Independent
Counsels in Watergate. I shared some representations with Henry while he was at
Shea & Gardner unrelated to the Mine Funds, including the representation of
Hamilton Jordan, Chief of Staff to President Carter, and the representation of
Billy Carter, the President’s brother.
There are at least three levels at which the cases I’ve litigated and clients
I’ve represented can be discussed. One is to speak about the cases and the issues
and the rulings, and I’ve been doing that. The second level is to speak about
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people that were involved. The clients, the court people, the opposing lawyers,
the witnesses. All of that is richly textured in my experience. The people that
I’ve related to stand out in my mind today almost as if I was still relating to them,
even though some of the events occurred 35 years ago. Then, the third level is to
talk some about my approach to litigation and oral argument. That I think is an
area I could deal with in less time, but certainly it bears comment.
My feeling about case preparation stems from working with Gerry Gesell
who believed that cases are won on the facts. I would even trace it back to Yale
Law School where I was taught by James Moore, of the Bankruptcy Treatise and
Moore’s Federal Practice. Professor Moore said that if you have an issue in court
and the facts don’t permit you to win, then your obligation as a lawyer is to go out
and find more facts; your responsibility is to look again at the issue and redefine it
so that other facts become relevant which will allow you to prevail. Either way, I
think the lawyer is challenged to define the issues in the cases he is handling and
then to find the facts that will be favorable to his client relating to those issues. I
have always worked hard on the facts side of case preparation, both in reviewing
documents – I learned about “the romance of the documents” from John Doar
who would peer into voting records endlessly in preparing the Civil Rights
Division’s voting rights cases – and in preparing for examination of witnesses,
and keying documents to the questions to be asked in depositions. I think that’s
been a strong area for me and one that I’ve enjoyed a great deal.
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In taking depositions where you don’t know what a hostile witness is
going to answer, I have often approached a series of question with absolute pain
in my stomach, wondering what the witness would say. Often on a deposition, I
have heard a witness’s testimony and thought, “Well my case is over. That
witness’s testimony is going to sink me forever.” And the day ended and I’m as
blue as a blue stone. What always happens is that on analysis it wasn’t ever as
bad as I thought.
Ms. Garrett: We were talking about the pleasure you took in preparing the facts of your cases,
and you had mentioned actually some of the desegregation cases and standardized
testing cases for the NEA of going down and talking with witnesses and talking
with the teachers and then deposing all the school officials. I’m wondering if
there are any particular conversations that you had or witnesses that you can recall
meeting with that were memorable or that sort of captured the tone of those cases
in that time?
Mr. Pollak: My opponent in the Starkville case was an attorney named Thomas Tubb. He was
from West Point, Mississippi, an area that called itself the “Golden Triangle,”
West Point, Columbus, and Starkville. I flew in a two-engine propeller plane into
the Golden Triangle Airport. It was a very, very southern community. My
beginnings there were in late 1969, which was really, for those school systems,
the beginning of desegregation. I had a band of teachers in the Starkville system
who were very courageous. The lead teacher was Carolyn Reeves, a white
teacher who brought the case to the NEA. She was joined by another white
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teacher named Jan Peterson and a number of black teachers and administrators,
including Mr. and Mrs. Buck. Mrs. Buck was a teacher and he was a principal
employed for many years in the black schools teaching black children. These
teacher-clients were worried about the course they were pursuing, the hostility in
the community. I never felt other than safe there, but I think some of my clients
were concerned. I was impressed with the dedication of these teachers to the
cause of desegregation, and I was interested in the officials of the school district
who were the opponents. The Superintendent of the Starkville District was
Paul Armstrong. I had him on the stand in a hearing before Judge Orma Smith on
a preliminary injunction. We were challenging imposition of the requirement that
all teachers achieve a particular score on the GRE as a condition of employment
for the 1970-71 school year that was about to begin. In the course of his
testimony in court on a point of significance, Armstrong testified in direct
contradiction to his deposition, and I was able to bring it out. Undoubtedly that
hurt him and his side of the case. The school officials in both districts, Starkville
and Columbus, believed that black teachers who had been considered acceptable
when teaching the black students were insufficiently educated to teach white
students. The situation was difficult because of the segregated circumstances in
which those teachers had been educated and the low expectations that had been
the rule for black students and their teachers. So the problems were real, but
terminating the blacks was not the answer. Thomas Tubb who defended
Starkville was in most every way a gentleman. He was highly regarded in the
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community. He may have been one of the trustees of the University of
Mississippi at the time of the dispute over registration of James Meredith. I’m
sure that he had deep roots in the segregation that was part of the life of his
community. He was always fair and honorable in the litigation. He said to me
once outside of court, “Steve, your position is correct, but we need 20 years to
make the change.” Of course, by then that was 16 or 17 years after Brown. Now
it’s 51 years after Brown. One can recognize that change has been very hard
across the whole nation. It struck me that those cases in the heart of Mississippi –
presenting them under the Federal Rules to Judge Orma Smith and to the Fifth
Circuit – were really a measure of rule of law at work. It was a great example that
southern school districts, Starkville and Columbus, had their full day in court and
couldn’t sustain their positions. The Court ruled, the appeal took place, the
teachers were retained and grew in their jobs. Judge Smith was fair, orderly,
impressive. At one point we were presenting part of the case to him in
Greenville, Mississippi, and I brought my son Roger who was born in 1959, so he
was 12 or 13. He commented that Judge Smith looked very “judgy.” It was
fascinating because the federal judges rode circuit. The district court in
Greenville wasn’t Judge Smith’s home court. He was staying at the same motel
where we were staying. He would eat with his clerk in the same dining room. I
would have no exchanges with him, but I would see him, and often my opposing
lawyer would be there as well. Those were very hard-fought cases, but I
considered counsel on the opposite side to have been honorable. The discovery
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was hard fought, and it was often difficult extracting documents from the school
districts, but the system worked, and we were able to make our record.
I haven’t said much about the Columbus case. Columbus was still rural, but
more urban than Starkville, and the Columbus District was more cagey in
choosing the National Teachers Examination in its efforts to avoid black teachers
teaching white students. Unlike the Graduate Record Examination, the NTE was
created to qualify teachers, but new teachers, not experienced teachers. I deposed
Superintendent Goolsby, who had come up as an athletic coach and had a lot of
executive ability. I respected him. He made a good witness for his side. Our
group of teachers, they were equally impressive. The plaintiffs in the Columbus
case were all black. Once the NTE score impediment to continued employment
was removed, the School District proceeded against one of our clients on
disciplinary grounds that Richard Sharp, my Shea & Gardner co-counsel, and I
believed were trumped up. We had a whole separate litigation defending that
teacher’s right to retain her employment and succeeded in that.
The litigations turned on the efforts we made on behalf of those teachers in
each district to discover the facts through depositions, discovery of documents,
and use of the ETS experts. That was the fabric of the two cases. Each case was
presented to the court on hearings on preliminary injunction in live testimony and
submission of documents and depositions, followed by post-hearing briefs, and
then oral argument. I remember crafting an order on the second floor of a non-air
conditioned federal courthouse somewhere in rural Mississippi with Richard
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Sharp. We were trying to draft an appropriate remedy for the orderly
desegregation of the faculty and administrators without use of the standardized
tests. I was deeply invested in those cases and issues respecting the proper uses of
employment tests. Later, I commented on and participated in efforts of the civil
rights organizations to get the EEOC to draft proper testing guidelines.
Ms. Garrett: What role did you have in that?
Mr. Pollak: The EEOC was drafting guidelines and put them out for comment. Through the
National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, with which I was
active following my departure from Justice, we commented on those guidelines. I
thought that ultimately EEOC adopted a good set of guidelines. More recently,
EEOC has been backing away and watering them down. I found the issue of test
validation a challenging one. I never thought that the ETS was other than in good
faith in trying to have tests that were not discriminatory. I think ETS made great
efforts to protect against discrimination in its tests. I doubted that they were able
to be successful because of the carryover of discrimination against the Blacks in
education and in the separateness of their society. I’ve never had the feeling that
court processes went the last mile in assuring that Blacks were not disadvantaged
by those standardized tests.
Ms. Garrett: What more do you think the court could have done?
Mr. Pollak: I’m doubtful that there was more for the court to do. It was up to the parties and
particularly on the civil rights side to present up records that could demonstrate
that even if unintended, the tests had a discriminatory effect, but that proof was
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difficult and complex. And ETS – I remember in the South Carolina case – had a
great big notebook supporting its claims to validation, which we challenged
Ms. Garrett: I want to explore the same avenues with the UMWA Funds; the people who are
involved and your relationships with them.
Mr. Pollak: One of the mistakes people often make is to believe that the Funds are an arm of
the United Mine Workers of America, the Union. They are not. The Funds are
trusteed, independent funds which, commencing in 1974, are regulated by ERISA.
I found from the very first in representing the Mine Funds that they were always
run in a financially open and honest way. There had been earlier challenges to the
predecessor fund that was set up originally in an agreement between John L.
Lewis who was the historically renowned chief of the United Mine Workers
Union, and Secretary of Interior Julius Krug, called the Krug-Lewis Agreement in
1946. Krug was involved because President Roosevelt had seized the mines
during World War II because of work stoppages by the UMWA. The earlier
UMWA Welfare and Retirement Fund of 1950, so called, had been trusteed, but
two of the three trustees were named by John L. Lewis. The trust then may have
been more an arm of the Union, or at least under the domination of the Union, but
I have no firsthand knowledge. As I knew it, the Funds were independent of labor
and management.
There was a major challenge to the practices of the Fund in the early
1970s in the Blankenship case presented before Judge Gesell. Those challenging
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the way the Fund was conducted were represented by Harry Huge, who later
became chair of the Board of Trustees. Judge Gesell ruled in Blankenship that
certain practices of the Fund were unlawful. He asked that Paul Dean, who had
been Dean of the Georgetown Law School, be named as the independent trustee.
Paul Dean was named, and continued to serve from Blankenship which was in the
late 1960s, early 1970s, through 1992 or thereabouts. Paul, my client as one of
the Trustees, was always independent of mind in handling his responsibilities. He
was joined for a long time by Chair Harry Huge, who was named by the Union as
a Union-appointed Trustee, and there were several different Trustees named over
the years by the coal companies signatory to the Coal Wage Agreement. One of
the later ones was William Miller who was a vice president or senior vice
president of United States Steel. I must have known maybe 10 or 12 different
trustees, some named by the Union, some named by management, the Bituminous
Coal Operators Association, and all during that time Paul Dean carried on.
Generally there were two Union-appointed and two operator-appointed Trustees,
plus Professor Dean, Dean Dean as he was sometimes called. Of course, I dealt
with the Trustees, but mostly I dealt with the Funds General Counsel and
sometimes the Executive Director. There was a succession of general counsels
starting with Ian Lanoff whom I’ve named, Henry Ruth, and coming down to the
modern era in which the longest serving general counsel, David Allen, has been
General Counsel now for some 16 years.
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The Trustees have never engaged in collective bargaining, which, until the
Combined Benefit Fund was established by Congress in 1992, determined what
the guidelines were for the Trusts, the Pension Trusts, and the Health Benefit
Trusts. However, issues between labor and management sometimes intruded on
the decisions the Trustees were called upon to make. Their obligation under
ERISA was to serve only the interests of the beneficiaries, not the interests of the
settlors who appointed them. Sometimes what will serve the beneficiaries is
viewed differently by labor and management. So the issues on which I’ve
represented the Funds in litigation have often required presentations to the
Trustees and their guidance on policy issues that come up. I like to think the
Trustees always thought they got the best advice we could give them based on our
understanding of the facts and the law.
My longest running and closest partner with whom I shared the Mine
Funds representation was Wendy White, who is an outstanding attorney and now
the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the University of Pennsylvania.
We had a long litigation over whether per-ton royalty contributions were required
on moisture included in coal: as the Eleventh Circuit said in A.J. Taft Coal Co. v.
Connors, whether coal means coal or coal means coal including moisture.6/ That
issue was raised in litigation in Alabama which was a favorite jurisdiction for the
mine operators. In the first moisture case brought by Taft Coal, Wendy acted as
lead counsel and I assisted her, we lost before Judge James Hancock of the U.S.
6/ 906 F.2d 539 (1990).
– 226 –
District Court for the Northern District of Alabama who said coal is coal, not
moisture, citing the dictionary. We argued that it meant something else based on
the collective bargaining agreement, but we were unsuccessful and the case went
to the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which affirmed Judge Hancock.
We litigated the same issue in Washington and prevailed and ultimately settled
most moisture cases favorably to the Funds.
Ms. Garrett: I think that my questions in this area are done, unless you had more issues you
wanted to get into about the people involved in the Funds.
Mr. Pollak: The Mine Funds are authorized under ERISA to sue in the jurisdiction of their
headquarters. We uniformly brought claims for delinquent contributions based on
purchased coal in the District Court for the District of Columbia. I litigated these
cases before Judge Gesell, Judge Harold Greene, Judge Joyce Hens Green, Judge
Flannery, Judge June Green, Judge Stanley Harris, and possibly others. Often
there was a race to the courthouse. I litigated the Ohio Valley case before Judge
Graham in the Southern District of Ohio, a very fair, outstanding judge – maybe
I’m influenced by the fact that he ruled in our favor on the merits of our
Ms. Garrett: Okay. Why don’t we conclude here then?
Mr. Pollak: Thank you.
– 227 –
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Ninth Interview-February 18, 2010
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is William Schultz. The interview took place at the Goodwin Procter law firm at
901 New York Avenue, N.W., in the District of Columbia on February 18, 2010. This is the
ninth interview.
Mr. Schultz: Steve, in the last interview, you talked about the beginnings of your private
practice and your representation of the NEA and the Mine Workers Fund, and so
I’d like to start this interview by asking you about your representation of the
International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Maybe we should start with you
telling us how that came about.
Mr. Pollak: It leads me to say right at the outset that the most significant relationships for me
in producing law cases and matters and clients was my service in the United
States Government. The National Education Association came to me because of
David Rubin, who was in the Appellate Section of the Civil Rights Division. The
Trustees of the UMWA Health & Retirement Funds came because of a graduate
of the law school at Washington University in St. Louis I hired into the Civil
Rights Division, Monica Gallagher.
The representation of the Garment Workers came as a result of my
relationship with John Doar who was head of the Civil Rights Division when I
served as First Assistant. John was head of a small firm at that time in
New York City and was retained to represent the Garment Workers in an alleged
violent strike matter, allegations that the Union representing workers at the
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Kellwood Plant in Kentucky had engaged in a violent strike in violation of the
law. John was representing the Union. He asked me and a paralegal who had
been in the Civil Rights Division with us, Dorothy Landsberg, to work with him.
So we helped prepare the case, going to Kentucky and interviewing workers and
collecting documents, all with John Doar and the general counsel of the ILGWU
Max Zimny. Ultimately, the allegations respecting the violent strike were
resolved without trial. Thereafter, President Reagan was inaugurated, and his
administration sought to repeal regulations implementing the Fair Labor
Standards Act that proscribed homework in the needle trades. The reason for the
regulations, which were issued originally in 1935, was the conclusion then that
piecework at home in the needle trades by women working at their sewing
machines would, as an economic matter, be in violation of the Fair Labor
Standards Act by paying wages that were below the minimum wage and by not
paying overtime for extra hours worked. Those regulations had endured from
1935 to 1980. With the movement for deregulation that was representative of the
views of President Reagan, the Labor Department issued a notice of proposed
rulemaking to repeal the regulations proscribing homework in the needle trades.
A number of related but smaller trades like jewelry work were also the subject of
the repeal proposal. The Garment Workers Union was the major interested party.
Most of the homeworkers were in the needle trades and their products competed
with those produced by members of the Garment Workers Union. The general
counsel asked me if I would represent the ILGWU in opposing repeal of the
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regulations. I said yes for myself and my firm, Shea & Gardner. I proceeded
over several years to use FOIA to ask for and obtain all of the documents
underlying the representations made in the notice of proposed rulemaking and
then all of the documents that were underlying representations in the outcome of
the rulemaking which was of course to adopt the repealer. We drafted comments
that drew on all of the factual material that the FOIA requests produced and the
factual material undercut the representations in the rulemaking decisions because
the factual information demonstrated the necessity of the rules and the
vulnerability of homeworkers to below minimum wages and excessive hours
without time-and-a-half. After the repeal was adopted, we went to the federal
court with an argument that the outcome of this informal rulemaking was arbitrary
and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act because the
factual representations and conclusions in the justification statement supporting
the repeal were not borne out by the record. We filed 40 volumes of record
materials supporting our claims.
Mr. Schultz: Were these mostly comments or other kinds of materials?
Mr. Pollak: There were comments but mostly they were factual materials from the files of the
Labor Department that we had obtained by FOIA requests.
Mr. Schultz: Surveys and other kinds of information the Labor Department collected?
Mr. Pollak: Right. And enforcement actions or recommendations for enforcement actions.
The standard for reversing an informal rulemaking is very rigorous. There’s a
presumption that the agency knows what it’s doing, and we presented our case
– 230 –
before Judge Louis Oberdorfer, and he ruled that the decision repealing the ban on
homework in the eight covered trades was not arbitrary and capricious. We filed
an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit in a case styled ILGWU v. Donovan, Secretary of Labor Donovan, and
brought to bear this factual record that we had made. I argued the case before a
panel of Judges Wright, Edwards and McGowan. The court, in an extensive
opinion by Judge Edwards, 722 F.2d 795 (1983) (76 comprehensive footnotes),
reversed the decision below, held that the informal rule making rescinding the
restrictions on homework was arbitrary and capricious, and issued instructions to
send the matter back to the District Court which in turn placed it back before the
Labor Department. There were extensive further proceedings. The commitment
to deregulate died hard. Ultimately, deregulation occurred in some of the lesser
trades, but the proscription of homework in the needle trades survived.
Mr. Schultz: That’s a tremendous victory.
Mr. Pollak: The outcome was successful. The case provided me with a fascinating
opportunity to look at the ILGWU, one of the nation’s most venerated and
venerable labor organizations, to work first with president Sol Chaikin, who was
quite a leader in the labor movement, and then with his successor, Jay Mazur.
There were hearings on the Hill about the subject, and I counseled the labor
movement on its presentation. I have a photo of General Counsel Zimny and me
testifying. So it was a real opportunity to serve as a lawyer for the labor
movement which was one of the few opportunities in that vein that I had.
– 231 –
Mr. Schultz: Did you do any other work for the Garment Workers?
Mr. Pollak: I don’t believe that I did. This representation took years, up to the Court of
Appeals down, more proceedings. I think ultimately we went back to
Judge Oberdorfer with a complaint that the federal government, the
Labor Department, was not heeding the remand order in conducting further
proceedings. I recall that that effort was successful. The requirements for further
rulemaking were enforced by the federal court.
Mr. Schultz: That’s terrific. The next matter I want to ask you about is a project I understand
Secretary Califano enlisted you on regarding regulations enforcing the disability
rights laws. Why don’t we start with my asking you how that came about.
Mr. Pollak: When President Carter came to office and named Joseph Califano to be Secretary
of Health, Education & Welfare, the Secretary found on his desk a set of
regulations implementing Section 504 of a statute that had been adopted by the
Congress proscribing discrimination against the handicapped. That statute was
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and of course President Carter
came in in 1976, so during the years since the statute had been on the books, there
had been proceedings before the Secretary of Health Education & Welfare
developing regulations, but the Secretary had been unwilling to adopt the
regulations which had essentially been completed, so they remained in front of
Secretary Califano and the Carter administration. Well as you can expect, the
Secretary had a million things on his desk and was assembling staff and I had
worked with Joe Califano when I served President Johnson in 1967 so he asked
– 232 –
me if I would undertake to review the draft regulations to draw on my background
in civil rights and other background and recommend to him a set of regulations
which would appropriately implement Section 504.
Mr. Schultz: Was this pro bono or was this paid work?
Mr. Pollak: It was paying work. My recollection is we may have charged something less than
our regular rates as a public service matter, but it was paying work.
Mr. Schultz: Tell me your recollections of Secretary Califano.
Mr. Pollak: Well, I knew him and worked closely with him when I served President Johnson
as White House staff. He was Johnson’s Domestic Policy Chief and I was the
President’s Advisor for the National Capital Affairs which was a domestic field,
of course. I often related to Joe in addressing various issues. My recollection of
him is that he was a very effective assistant to President Johnson, that he had a
very close relationship with President Johnson, that he was in command of the
fields assigned to him, that he dealt on the merits with the matters which brought
me in contact with him, that he was both personable and able to be brusque and
throw his weight around. I thought he respected competence, and my assessment
of the responsibilities that were assigned to me was that I was handling them
competently and he relied heavily on my performance. I had first met him when
Attorney General Ramsey Clark was head of a cabinet task force to assemble a
human relations legislative program for the new Congress for President Johnson,
the Congress entering in 1967. I had been the working head of that task force,
and I made what I would call a full report recommending 50 or 60 different
– 233 –
human relations possibilities for the President to consider for his domestic
program. I’m sure that was where Califano came to know me. In any event, I
remember meeting a couple of times on the handicap regs as we called them with
Califano as I called him, and my memory is that he said look, I’ve got these
regulations, I want to issue them, I want them to be the right regulations, I want
them to be effective, I want them to be sensible, and I want you to bring me an
appropriate set. It was the handicap community, disability community, I think
that’s the term now used – heads of organizations of deaf persons, heads of
organizations of people in wheelchairs, heads of organizations people with other
disabilities – they were all assembling to pressure Secretary Califano and the
Carter Administration to get these regulations issued. They had various positions
that they wanted reflected in the regs, and I remember believing that my
responsibility was to serve up to Secretary Califano regulations that were the most
appropriate regulations that would implement the statutory purpose and to identify
for him issues that the disability community might be pressing where the draft
regulations that I was proposing didn’t do just exactly what they wanted and to
explain to him why, so that he could decide a range of issues as to the coverage of
the regs. I think that the regulations he issued stood the test of time. There came
later a full statute protecting disability rights which drew heavily on the
regulations and enacted them into statutory law. The amazing thing about
Section 504 which was perhaps six or so lines long was that it proscribed
discrimination on account of disability. It was very constitutional in nature. The
– 234 –
later statute went on very extensively in identifying particular acts of
discrimination in particular fields that were proscribed. The earlier statute
essentially did the same thing but did it by saying there shall be no discrimination
on account of disability. Drafting the regulations was a very rewarding
assignment to be asked to perform.
Mr. Schultz: Did you meet with outside groups?
Mr. Pollak: The Secretary or his staff probably did so. I recall speaking with my long-time
friend and neighbor Ginny Stern, head of the AAAS Project on Science,
Technology and Disability, who was extremely knowledgeable about the needs of
persons with disabilities, particularly the deaf. I remember relating to top aides of
Secretary Califano, including his special assistant, Ben Heineman, and another
aide, Richard Beatty, who went on to be a major figure in a New York law firm.
We had a good working relationship with them. I think I was advantaged in
performing the function because Califano knew my method of working and
conveyed that to his special assistants. I had good people at Shea & Gardner
working with me, Wendy White and Bill Gateota were two of them.
Mr. Schultz: How did you go about this? Did you review the comments or materials they gave
Mr. Pollak: Yes. We reviewed the full record that was before the prior secretary and the draft
regulations and reviewed positions that were being urged by the disability rights
groups in time present. There could have been new submissions to Califano after
he took office. I think the work was done on the record, our work – Shea &
– 235 –
Gardner’s work – was done on the record that had been made before the
Republican Administration that was going out.
Mr. Schultz: Did you produce a written product?
Mr. Pollak: We produced a whole set of regulations and supporting memoranda that we then
transmitted to the Secretary.
Mr. Schultz: Did you make a presentation to them?
Mr. Pollak: I’m sure we did. The Secretary seems to have issued the regs in April 1977,
April 28, 1977. Secretary Califano undoubtedly took office some time in January
of 1977, and we worked for a couple of months and put out the regulations.
Today, a Secretary wouldn’t even be confirmed by then.
Mr. Schultz: Right. That’s pretty quick work.
Mr. Pollak: I had two other assignments relating to disability. I undertook representation in
the Supreme Court of a man named Walter Camenisch. He was deaf, and he was
a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. He had asked for a
signing person to be present in his classes and said he had a right under
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, to the sign
language interpreter. That was denied to him, and he brought a lawsuit that
ultimately wended its way to the Supreme Court. I represented him pro bono in
the Supreme Court and worked with the National Association of the Deaf Legal
Defense Fund and the Mental Health Law Project in doing so. I argued that case
before the Court. Unfortunately, the Court was constricting the scope of private
rights of action inferred from federal statutes which did not expressly provide
– 236 –
such a right. As a tactical matter, we felt constrained to limit our substantive
position on the reach of the federal statute and regulations in order not to risk a
restrictive decision on whether Camenisch had any right at all to sue. We
survived without an adverse decision, but we were not able to obtain a ruling
upholding the protections of deaf students afforded by Section 504. The Court, in
an opinion by Justice Stewart, held the question whether the preliminary
injunction ordering the University to supply the interpreter was moot because its
terms had been fully complied with; vacated the decision below in favor of
Camenisch, and remained for trial on the issue of who should pay for the
interpreter. The majority opinion did not discuss the private right of action
question. 451 U.S. 390 (1981).
The other representation in the disability rights area is this: There came to
me some clients, two different sets of clients, who were dyslexic and needed some
additional time to take the Law Aptitude Test. It was in the very early stages of
that issue being presented and resolved by the testing companies, and there was a
great sensitivity by the testing company, not inappropriately, to avoid giving
undue advantage to students with a disability as against students who had to meet
all the requirements. On the other hand, there was a willingness, if the case was
made, for dispensation to be given. I had two of those students, or applicants, as
clients. I remember dealing with John Wodach who was head of the Disability
Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division. They were very pressured
representations because the date of the exam was pressing, pressing, pressing, and
– 237 –
we were rushing to get the matter resolved so my clients could take the test. I’ve
always been surprised at the vagaries of practice because I was there at the
creation of these regs and really had quite a foundation, but I never developed a
disability rights practice other than those three representations.
Mr. Schultz: What happened in the representations?
Mr. Pollak: We were successful, and the students took the examination with a dispensation
and went on to gain admission to law school. By the time admission came, at
least in one case the individual decided not to study law. But they did take the
test with a dispensation.
Mr. Schultz: Did you go to court?
Mr. Pollak: In one case we brought a lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District
Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, seeking a preliminary injunction. The lawsuit was
against the testing company, ETS. ETS was very reluctant to risk a litigated
decision, and we were able to work out a favorable settlement.
Mr. Schultz: That area has really developed.
Mr. Pollak: It has, much, I think, to the advantage of the nation because members of the
disability community are getting jobs, getting educations. People that have great
potential are being productive. There have been a lot of advances and certainly a
great enlightenment of the nation as to people with disabilities.
Mr. Schultz: And a lot of it due to lawyers.
Mr. Pollak: I think so. A lot of it due to the rule of law, which has been a big concern of mine
throughout my practice and life.
– 238 –
Mr. Schultz: Is there any other work in the civil rights area in private practice that comes to
Mr. Pollak: I’m a mediator on the Panels of the United States District Court and the U.S.
Court of Appeals here in the District of Columbia, and I’ve had mediations
involving civil rights charges of employment discrimination particularly.
I had some early representations of counties that wanted to bail out of
coverage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I recall representing the County of
Honolulu, Hawaii and El Paso County, Colorado. Each county was covered by
the statutory formula, and we made presentations to the Justice Department and
the U.S. District Court here establishing their right to be released from coverage.
My recollection is that we were successful in relieving Honolulu and El Paso of
the obligations to comply with the special requirements of the Voting Rights Act.
To secure release, the counties had to demonstrate the negative, that is, that they
had not engaged in any conduct violative of the protections against discrimination
in voting. Note that bailout has now become a major matter in light of the recent
Northwest Austin Municipal Utilities District No. 1 v. Holder [557 U.S. 193
(2009)] decision, which was a constitutional challenge to Section 5 of the Voting
Rights Act where the Supreme Court didn’t reach the constitutional issue but said
that the Act gave the Utility District a right to bail out if it could prove it met the
statutory requirements.
Mr. Schultz: This is Judge Tatel’s decision?
– 239 –
Mr. Pollak: It’s Judge Tatel’s May 30, 2008 decision for the three-judge United States District
Court for the District of Columbia, 573 F. Supp.2d 221, which was reviewed by
the Supreme Court and decided in an opinion of Chief Justice Roberts.
Mr. Schultz: Let’s turn to antitrust. I gather one of the biggest matters you handled was the
Pinney Dock case, so why don’t you tell us how that came about and what it
Mr. Pollak: When I worked at Covington & Burling with Gerhard Gesell, I worked on several
antitrust cases. It was that antitrust background that led to my first retention by
the Trustees of the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds to represent the Funds
against charges by Webster Hospital that limitations on hospitals participating in
the health plan of the Trust were an antitrust boycott. So I’ve always considered
myself versed in antitrust law. In the later years of my practice, I had the Pinney
Dock case and two assignments from the United States District Court for the
District of Columbia in antitrust cases.
United States District Judge Harold Greene appointed me an amicus to
advise the Court in a case in about 1984. Laker Airlines had brought an antitrust
action in the United States courts against Pan American World Airways and other
airlines alleging antitrust violations. These were allegations respecting
international carriage and two British airlines went into the court in Britain and
sought a preliminary injunction against Laker proceeding against them in the
United States action. The British court issued the preliminary injunction against
the proceeding which was before Judge Harold Greene. Laker of course was
– 240 –
precluded from presenting any matters to Judge Greene. Judge Greene wondered
how to proceed, whether he should honor the injunction of the British court,
whether his duties under the antitrust laws in the United States called for him to
go forward, and he appointed me an amicus to advise him on what to do. So
primarily my service to Judge Greene, as to which I was assisted at Shea &
Gardner by partners John Rich, Tim Shuba, and Frank Kramer, was to review
matters of comity, international law, and interrelationships between courts in
preliminary injunction issues. We issued a lengthy report to Judge Greene that
was published in the International Business and Trade Law Reporter in its
November 1985 issue, about 100 pages. Judge Greene had considered proceeding
contrary to the injunction. Our counsel was to await an imminent ruling of the
British courts, and in the end, the British courts took down the injunction and the
matter went away. That was a very interesting assignment, posing great issues
respecting the rule of law in relationships between courts of different nations. I
recall that we determined that we would not have relationships off the record with
Judge Greene, so that the parties to the litigation need not feel that matters that
came to our attention in receiving submissions from the parties on the issue
presented to us would then become influential on the Court which was ultimately
to deal with the merits of the matter. That I think worked out well. Upon getting
the assignment from the Court, before we knew anything about the facts of the
matter, my memory is that Judge Greene was very restive at being under a
preliminary injunction from a foreign court that precluded a party from presenting
– 241 –
to him matters, facts, about carriers that were allegedly operating in violation of
the United States antitrust laws.
Mr. Schultz: Was this pro bono?
Mr. Pollak: No.
Mr. Schultz: How were you paid?
Mr. Pollak: In this International Business & Trade Reporter, we wrote a little introduction at
the invitation of the Reporter that talked about our report which they then
published in full. In that document, we reported that there was a great interest
that people had in whether we were paid. We spoke to that issue and I have to
look at the document which is in front of me. We said in this introduction,
“Although we had undertaken the assignment without any understanding
whatsoever about the availability of compensation, the law in the District of
Columbia was clear: ‘the traditional rule regarding compensation of an amicus
curiae is that ‘where the court appoints an amicus curiae who renders services
which prove beneficial to a solution of the questions presented, the court may
properly award compensation and direct it to be paid by the party responsible for
the situation that prompted the court to make the appointment,’” citing cases. So
we filed a petition for compensation from the parties. We didn’t specify what the
compensation should be. The matter was settled with the defendants that were
directly the beneficiaries of the British court’s injunction, British Airways and
British Caledonian, Lufthansa and Swiss Air. So we were paid something.
Now if you want, I can speak about the Pinney Dock case.
– 242 –
Mr. Schultz: Before you do, tell me about Harold Greene.
Mr. Pollak: Harold Greene had been the Chief of the Appellate Section, called the Appeals
and Research Section, of the Civil Rights Division. I was not in the division at
the time of the drafting of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the initial drafting of
the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but I have been greatly concerned with those
statutes and had a role in the ultimate drafting of the Mansfield-Dirksen
Compromise, which became the Voting Rights Act. My firm understanding is
that those bills were in the major part drafted in the Civil Rights Division and that
Harold Greene was the major drafter.
I joined the Division in March of 1965 and Harold was at that time the
head of the Appeals and Research Section. He was soon to be named by
President Johnson to the then-local trial court called the Court of General
Sessions. I came to know him well while he remained in the division where I
began serving as First Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General and then
became close to him in his service as Chief Judge of the Court of General
Sessions, and after 1972, Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of
Columbia. Particularly, I related to him when I served President Johnson as his
Advisor for National Capital Affairs. Also, I had at least one case in front of him
for the UMWA Health & Retirement Funds when he was a federal District Court
judge. I considered him both a professional and a close personal friend, along
with his wife Evelyn. Recently, as President of the Historical Society, I facilitated
for the family the gift of Judge Greene’s papers to the Library of Congress.
– 243 –
Judge Greene loved being a judge. My recollections about him are most fully set
out in time present because I spoke at the time his portrait was hung at the Court.
I will attach my remarks.
Mr. Schultz: Yes, that would be a good idea.
Mr. Pollak: I may have spoken on another occasion about him. In a short capsule, he loved
being a judge, he loved the law. He suffered fools not well. He was constantly
challenged by, and wanted to be constantly challenged by, the cases presented to
him. He was very effective in acting as a trial judge and was a good
administrator. He had always a twinkle in his eyes and liked to see the humorous
side of life. He was very enjoyable to be with.
Mr. Schultz: When you say he liked the humorous side of life, do you have examples?
Mr. Pollak: He had a strong ego but would make self-deprecating humorous remarks about
himself, noting his own personal foibles. Whenever I would call him “Judge,” he
would always call me “General,” as in Assistant Attorney General. He called for
all the formalities in his courtroom, but otherwise, on a personal basis, he wasn’t
at all stuffy. The best story I think is in one of these remarks that I made about
him: When he had just gone on the bench of the Court of General Sessions, I
went to lunch with him and he told me that he had a run-of-the-mine
landlord/tenant case that had come to him, and he said that he thought there were
fundamental issues presented by the claim of the landlord to evict the tenants,
where the tenant was presenting defenses or seeking to present defenses about the
compliance of the landlord with the Housing Code. Judge Greene said that he
– 244 –
was going to treat these issues fully and seek to address the legal issues in a full
manner, and he published then, I believe, a 22-page opinion, Edwards v. Habib.
The decision was reviewed by the D.C. Circuit. See 366 F.2d 628 (1965).
Mr. Schultz: It’s a huge case.
Mr. Pollak: It has rocketed down all the years. And that was in his first year on the bench. If
a matter was on his docket, he was going to get to the heart of it.
Mr. Schultz: He didn’t take anything for granted?
Mr. Pollak: No.
Mr. Schultz: That’s amazing. Okay, so let’s talk about the Pinney Dock case. How did that
come about?
Mr. Pollak: Pinney Dock was a dock company on what’s called the Lower Lake Erie. It
received iron ore vessels that brought iron ore pellets from the upper
Lake Superior iron ore mines down to the Lake Erie docks for offloading and
movement by rail cars to the steel mills in the Pittsburgh area. The railroads and
the dock companies were related because the dock companies had ore to ship and
had to pay the rates the railroads charged. The railroads were regulated and
enjoyed exceptions from the antitrust laws for rates for cartage of the ore that
were reviewed by the supervising ICC authority. Pinney Dock alleged – as did
the steel companies as well –that the railroads had colluded in violation of the
antitrust laws in setting the rates for movement of ore, and the railroads defended
on the ground that their behavior was fully authorized by the exemptions that
were part of the rate-making structure. John Doar, my colleague in the Civil
– 245 –
Rights Division, was retained by CSX, one of the major carriers of the iron ore, to
defend it from complaints by dock companies and steel companies for treble
damages stemming from the alleged unlawful collusion among the ore-carrying
railroads over rates. He needed assistance, so he came to Shea & Gardner and
particularly to Dorothy Landsberg, who had been a colleague of his in the
Division who was a paralegal at the firm, and to me to join him and to bring the
resources of Shea & Gardner to the defense of CSX. All the ore-carrying
railroads were defendants in the case. It was a great big case, a gigantic case in
which there were many, many depositions. The cases were filed in the late 1970s.
In order to defend the charges, we had to go back and find facts running back into
the 1950s and pursue thousands of documents and talk to aging railroad
executives who had come up from being clerks on the railroads. We had to learn
all of the economics of movement of ore. CSX was headquartered in Cleveland.
The case was pending in the United States District Court in Cleveland, and we at
Shea & Gardner with Doar engaged in a long case preparation focused on
developing a defense. Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad was a defendant,
represented by former Antitrust Division Section Chief Ken Anderson. Laurence
Shiekman from Philadelphia’s Pepper Hamilton firm represented another
defendant railroad. There were outstanding antitrust lawyers in the group. CSX
wanted John Doar to represent it in both the pending criminal and civil
proceedings. John said that it would be more than he could handle to do both so
Don Flexner of Crowell & Moring was retained to represent the company in the
– 246 –
criminal case. Ultimately, with John in the lead, CSX made a favorable
settlement of Pinney Dock’s civil case. All the railroads but the Bessemer &
Lake Erie settled. Anderson went to trial, and the verdict was against the
Bessemer. The treble damage award was in nine figures.
Mr. Schultz: What was the argument. Given that these were regulated rates, that the
companies had somehow manipulated the rates?
Mr. Pollak: That the ambit of the protections flowing from rate regulation by the ICC was not
as broad as the discussions between the companies reflected.
Mr. Schultz: So there’s evidence of discussions?
Mr. Pollak: My recollection, and it has been a while, is that the railroad representatives had no
consciousness that they were doing anything wrong because they were operating
in a climate where they were regulated and their rates were regulated and they
thought nothing of discussing the rates. So there were limitations. The evidence
was presented challenging the rates because of the discussions. The claims
reflected a change in the understandings, a look at events of the 1950s through a
prism of the later 1970s.
Mr. Schultz: Right. So this was the Carter Justice Department throughout the criminal case?
Mr. Pollak: I think so. There are a large number of people at Shea & Gardner who worked on
the case, it was so big. In the appellate proceedings, our team was led by
Dick Conway who was an outstanding appellate lawyer here at Shea & Gardner.
There were large multi-law firm efforts to consolidate the briefings. Ultimately
certiorari was sought in the Supreme Court. I don’t think the Supreme Court
– 247 –
reviewed the appellate decision that limited the protections of the railroads and
brought about the settlements.
Mr. Schultz: Tell me about John Doar.
Mr. Pollak: John was a great leader of the Civil Rights Division. I’ve spoken about him
earlier in this oral history and do not want to repeat myself. Here is one thing I
may not have said, because it may not have taken place. John had the highest
confidence of the courts before whom he appeared, particularly United States
District Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama and the
outstanding appellate judges of the Fifth Circuit who issued courageously the civil
rights rulings of that era about voting and schools, Judges Brown, Wisdom, Rives,
and Tuttle particularly.
I’m active with the Civil Rights Division Association, an organization of
division alumni primarily of the 1960s and 1970s. We put on a symposium at the
FBI auditorium and brought Judge Wisdom up. Of course he reflected on the
cases brought by the Civil Rights Division in the 1960s. John was there, and
Judge Wisdom expressed his high regard for John Doar and for the role John
Mr. Schultz: When he left the Justice Department, John went out on his own?
Mr. Pollak: John left the Department to become the President and Director of a project of
Robert Kennedy in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community in New York. He did that
for a while and if memory serves me, he was at one time for a period head of the
Public School Board in Manhattan. John was then retained by the House
– 248 –
Judiciary Committee majority as counsel responsible for the proceedings
respecting impeachment of President Nixon. He practiced with the Donovan
Leisure firm in large-case practice, antitrust practice. John’s integrity was
absolutely as high as anyone I ever practiced with. Subsequent to that time, the
Eleventh Circuit retained John to represent the full Court in reviewing allegations
of misconduct relating to Federal District Judge Alcee Hastings on the District
Court in Florida. John performed that responsibility in his usual outstanding
fashion. John continued practicing in his own firm which originally was known
as Doar, Dvorkin & Rieck. Mike Dvorkin had been a law clerk for Judge Gesell.
Mr. Schultz: Very interesting. Okay, so there were a number of interesting investigations.
Mr. Pollak: Right. Do you think we’ve done enough for one day?
Mr. Schultz: Okay. Why don’t we stop here.
– 249 –
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Tenth Interview-April 15, 2010
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is William Schultz. The interview took place at the Goodwin Procter law firm at
901 New York Avenue, N.W., in the District of Columbia on April 15, 2010. This is the tenth
Mr. Schultz: Steve, I understand that during the Carter Administration you represented some
public figures tied to the Administration, Hamilton Jordan and Billy Carter, and
later, the 1984 vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and her husband. I
would like to talk to you about all of those. Maybe I’ll start by asking you how
was it do you think that they came to you for these very important
Mr. Pollak: Bill, there really was no “they” because in each instance, the client came in
perhaps related but in different ways. The representation of Hamilton Jordan,
who was chief of staff to President Carter, and Jody Powell, who was Director of
Communications, arose as a result of Lloyd Cutler who was at that time Counsel
to President Carter in the White House. On one Friday in August, when on
Saturday I was leaving with my family for a vacation in Kitty Hawk,
North Carolina, I received a call from Lloyd Cutler advising me that
Hamilton Jordan and Jody Powell, neither of whom I knew, had a need for
counsel and would I take a call from Hamilton. I said I certainly would.
Mr. Schultz: Let me just stop you – how did you know Lloyd Cutler?
– 250 –
Mr. Pollak: I knew Lloyd Cutler from the time I came to Washington in 1955 or 1956 to
interview with law firms seeking a job on graduation from Yale in 1956, and I
interviewed at a Yale firm, as I saw it, called Cox, Langford, Stoddard, and
Cutler. It was nine people, nine lawyers. Lou Oberdorfer was a partner. And I
met Lloyd, he interviewed me. They did not offer me a job. They hired
Sam Stern, who was clerking for Chief Justice Warren, finishing a clerkship for
Warren, and I joined Covington & Burling. Subsequently, I had known Lloyd at
somewhat of a distance through Yale Law contacts because he had gone to Yale,
and he and Gerry Gesell, with whom I worked at Covington, were friends, and I
came across him in that connection. When I was head of the Civil Rights
Division, Lloyd had public assignments. He was Executive Director of the
National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence established in
1968 by President Johnson, and I related some to him in his role there. I don’t
think we had ever shared a representation or that I had ever been on a case with
him. My perception was that he couldn’t invite members of his own former law
firm, and I was a candidate. In any event, I was flattered by his inquiry.
Hamilton called me, and he just said, “Jody and I have a need for a lawyer,
would you come over to the White House and talk to us?” So I went to the
White House. I brought along Henry Ruth, who at my urging had earlier been
made a partner at Shea & Gardner. He had been general counsel for a client of
mine, the Trustees of the United Mine Workers of America Health & Retirement
– 251 –
Funds, and had been an Independent Counsel in connection with Watergate.
Henry had criminal experience.
Mr. Schultz: So you knew it was a criminal-type matter?
Mr. Pollak: I knew that much, yes. We learned, as the newspapers reported, that two
defendants who had been convicted but not sentenced in a tax-skimming case,
who owned and ran Studio 54 in New York and who were represented by
Roy Cohn, had —
Mr. Schultz: Tell us who Roy Cohn is.
Mr. Pollak: Roy Cohn was a famous, or infamous, attorney who had been counsel for Senator
Joseph McCarthy during his investigations and had a flamboyant and unsavory
reputation. Apparently the Department of Justice had told these defendants – one
was Steve Rubell – that if they could offer up some significant persons who had
used drugs at Studio 54, they might get a lighter sentence. They had reported to
the Department that Hamilton Jordan and Jody Powell had been there and snorted
cocaine. That was at least my understanding. A statute that existed at that time
provided that if a high-government official was alleged to have committed a
crime, the Attorney General was to name an independent counsel to investigate
the allegations and bring formal charges if the facts warranted. The independent
counsel – called a “special prosecutor” – had been named, Arthur H. Cristy, a
highly regarded New York lawyer. This was the first time the statute has been
applied. As the public record revealed, Hamilton and Jody had been in
New York City on public business at the time reported, they had visited
– 252 –
Studio 54, but they had not snorted cocaine. There would have been an issue for
me of representing both persons, but that issue never arose because it turned out
that at the asserted time Jody had left Studio 54. It was clear that the defendant
persons who named Hamilton and Jody were either confused or had someone else
in mind. In any event, any assertion that Jody had done this act fell away.
However, the investigation continued as to Hamilton, and I undertook the
representation, along with Henry Ruth. I wanted to follow up and get more
information. That Friday evening, we went to the White House after 7:30 at night
and spent some time there with Jody and Hamilton. I came back the following
day on which I was to leave in my car for Kitty Hawk and brought my son Roger
and a friend of his with me to the White House. While I was meeting with
Hamilton, they were enjoying the White House Mess. I got the facts I wanted and
proceeded to leave that day for Kitty Hawk and dealt with the matter (because
there were no immediate deadlines requiring my presence for a week or two) by
telephone. In any event, it wended its way along, and ultimately the special
prosecutor presented the case to the grand jury and the grand jury no billed it. No
charges were brought.
Mr. Schultz: How long did that take, from beginning to end?
Mr. Pollak: As I say, that was August. It resolved itself some time after March of the next
year, about an eight-to-twelve-month period. I know when it was because, as you
Bill Schultz know, I go skiing in Utah in March. It so happened that the date
before the grand jury was during the days that I was skiing, so I skied one
– 253 –
morning, took a van down to the Salt Lake City airport and took an afternoon
plane to Washington. I slept in my own bed, met Hamilton at the airplane in
Washington, we flew to New York, he went before the grand jury, and I took a
plane back to Utah at 6:30 that night. I recall dictating into a portable machine on
the plane my recall of the day and my client’s report of his appearance before the
grand jury. I was skiing the following day. I felt like a jet-setter.
You would have a hard time appreciating the difficulties that these
proceedings caused for the President’s chief of staff. Hamilton was directly
involved in negotiations to free hostages held by Iran, and Hamilton —
Mr. Schultz: So this is sort of at the end of —
Mr. Pollak: The Carter Administration, yes. And Hamilton, while I was representing him,
traveled in a disguise to the Middle East to negotiate for the release of the
hostages. He had to schedule these proceedings and interviews by me and the
goings on with the special prosecutor in and among all his other duties. That was
very dislocating for him. I found that he was very quick of mind and was able to
devote himself 100 percent to my needs when called on to do something. It was a
very interesting representation.
Mr. Schultz: Tell me more about your impression of both Jody Powell and Hamilton Jordan.
Mr. Pollak: I saw the most of Hamilton and much less of Jody. My impression of
Hamilton Jordan was a favorable one. The representation came after the period of
time in which he was looked on as kind of a callow youth who happened to have
ascended because of his role in the Carter campaign for the presidency to be the
– 254 –
President’s chief of staff. He was easy to deal with. He didn’t stand on
ceremony. He got down to business right away. He brought to bear all of his
calendar materials, and of course, the chief of staff has a pretty full paper record
of where he was when. He was really enjoyable to work with. He kept quite a
division between his public duties and the area of work for which I was
responsible. I would visit him in the White House, but he didn’t share his public
responsibilities with me.
What I’d say about Jody is that he was – both men were very bright and
reflected that. They were quick. Jody was a family man, had a wife, children,
seemed completely out of character to be somebody who would have done what
was alleged. Hamilton was – I can’t recall what his marital status was – but he
was a little less of the family creature I saw in Jody. I never doubted that he was
innocent of the charges. One other thing that was interesting, and this came up
with Billy Carter as well, I felt a responsibility to keep the lines of communication
quite clear. The decisions that we made respecting Hamilton, just as decisions we
made later respecting Billy Carter, were made independent of anybody who was
in the federal government, certainly independent of the President. I thought that
was entirely in the interest of my clients and certainly in the interest of the
Mr. Schultz: Did you have any contact with the President?
Mr. Pollak: I really didn’t. All that I remember was one incident when I was at the
White House in a hallway of the West Wing waiting for Hamilton. Bob Strauss, a
– 255 –
high official for Carter, was there and the President was walking in and out. I was
introduced to him, probably by Hamilton. He may have had on a cardigan
Mr. Schultz: Did the special prosecutor have the authority simply to drop the prosecution, but
he decided to take it to the grand jury?
Mr. Pollak: I suppose that he had the authority to drop it, but I suppose he had testimony
placing Hamilton at the Studio 54 and the claims of the two defendants that he
sniffed cocaine, and so presenting it to the grand jury was understandable. I have
no direct knowledge of his reasoning.
Mr. Schultz: Had you had prior experience in criminal law?
Mr. Pollak: I don’t know that I had. I felt perfectly at home doing what I was doing. I had a
lot of experience working with facts, and so I was working with facts. I spent a
great deal of time on the case as you can imagine. I think there are now rules
about private lawyers representing high government officials billing for their time
so that there’s no underbilling, but there weren’t any such rules at the time. With
my firm’s permission, we reduced our charges quite drastically for this
government servant.
Mr. Schultz: Did you have any contact with Hamilton after the Carter Administration left?
Mr. Pollak: I did. Limitedly. He ran for the Senate, you’ll recall. I had arranged with him
that while he was in the government he didn’t need to pay my bill, and we
arranged for periodic payments over a significant period of time once he left the
– 256 –
government. When he ran for the Senate, I excused him from making further
payments while he was running.
Mr. Schultz: Should we talk about Billy Carter?
Mr. Pollak: Yes.
Mr. Schultz: Was this after the Hamilton Jordan representation?
Mr. Pollak: Yes. When somebody is chief of staff to the President, all kinds of people try to
ingratiate themselves, so there’s an awful lot of things that come the way of the
chief of staff. That seemed evident to me, seeing Hamilton deal with the life that
he was leading.
Mr. Schultz: Can you be more specific?
Mr. Pollak: He was making this trip to New York to perform some public business. There
were people who wanted to show him a good time, take him around to the very
trendy places and be seen with him. This was the outcome. Long hours spent
defending himself, large articles in the press, and a whole diversion which
certainly we saw.
Mr. Schultz: Were there other examples that you observed, people trying to ingratiate
themselves, by giving gifts or that sort of thing?
Mr. Pollak: I couldn’t go around with him in any public space without people stopping and
making a fuss. That’s all.
Mr. Schultz: How did he react to that? Some people like it, some people don’t.
Mr. Pollak: He had a Southern manner. He accommodated as if it was expected. I don’t think
he sought it out. It didn’t seem to me to go to his head. Early in his career as
– 257 –
chief of staff, which I never observed, I wasn’t on the scene, the public perception
was that he acted in unseemly ways because he thought he was a big shot. That
had passed by the time I met him.
Mr. Schultz: Billy Carter. How did that representation come to you?
Mr. Pollak: That was different. Billy Carter was not in the government. He got into difficulty
because he accepted money from Libya, and the charge was made that he was
paid to act for Libya and that he had failed to register as a foreign agent.
Mr. Schultz: Just tell us a little bit about Billy Carter, his background. He was obviously the
President’s brother.
Mr. Pollak: Right. He was a younger brother of the President. He was married to a woman
named Sybil, they had six children. When the President was elected, and having
been Governor of Georgia, Billy Carter was running the family peanut farm in
Georgia. The President’s personal lawyer, Charles Kirbo – according to Billy, I
never talked about Billy’s case with President Carter, so my knowledge about
these matters comes from Billy – in any event, Billy understood that Kirbo
informed the President that because the peanut farm received some federal
subsidies, Billy couldn’t continue to operate it. So Billy lost his job. My
perception is that because of that, or matters related to that, Billy started drinking,
and he engaged in certain unflattering behavior as a result of his drinking,
including some incident where he arrived at an airport, or he was on a tarmac or
something, and he urinated on the tarmac. It was all over the public press. He
generally had sort of a clownish reputation, I think as a result of his drinking.
– 258 –
Mr. Schultz: Do you know anything about his relationship with his brother, the President?
Mr. Pollak: I think the President was very fond of him, and was very concerned about him.
Attorney General Civiletti, because of the President’s concern, had some concern
too because there were some – I think Cutler was still in the White House –
inquiries made of me about what we were doing in relation to Billy. My feeling
was that the President and his Administration would be best served if we kept our
counsel to ourselves and we did. That may have been upsetting to the President,
but we never communicated with the Administration up one side or down the
other, other than the people who were responsible for the administration of the
Foreign Agents Registration statute in the Department of Justice with whom I
dealt officially.
Mr. Schultz: Were there attempts by Lloyd Cutler or others in the Administration to
communicate with you?
Mr. Pollak: All that was going on was the normal concern of an older brother when the
authorities were investigating the younger brother. I was working with
Henry Ruth, and we thought the best course that we would take would be to erect
an entire wall between us and any high officials of the government.
Mr. Schultz: And they accepted that?
Mr. Pollak: They had to because we didn’t give them any choice. We just said we had no
Billy called and said, “I have a problem.” I think he referenced what we
had done for Hamilton and said he’d like to come see us. It was a fascinating,
– 259 –
really fascinating, representation. It had two facets. My conclusion was that he
should register as an agent of a foreign government, so we had to get the form that
the registration office required. Then we had to fill it out correctly. We had to be
certain that we had the facts, and it required a documentation as to how much
money had been received and for what. We had to get the right facts for all of
that. We made that filing. Then in addition to that, the United States Senate
investigated Billy, and we prepared him to testify. I have on my wall here a
picture of Henry Ruth and me which says, “Washington, Aug. 21 – BEHIND
THE BACK CONFERENCE – Billy Carter’s two lawyers stretch to confer for a
moment behind their client’s back as the president’s brother continues his
testimony Thursday on Capitol Hill before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee,
which is studying his dealings with Libya.” Then it identifies Henry Ruth and
me, and says 1980. I will attach the photo to this oral history.
Mr. Schultz: Right. August 21, so that’s right up to the election.
Mr. Pollak: Exactly. There are three volumes of testimony of Billy that I have in my library.
He testified for a lengthy period, and we of course worked with him to prepare
him for that. One of the challenges of the representation was that Billy liked to be
the center of attention of the press. My instructions to him were that he was not to
be talking about the substance of the matters. He was a good client and followed
the instructions. Contrary to the public perception, he was very smart. He was in
full command of himself by that time, and he was an outstanding client. He
performed very well, and he took his lumps based upon mistaken behaviors of the
– 260 –
past. It was a pleasure representing him. One of the highlights occurred the night
before his opening testimony before the Senate committee. My wife and I gave a
dinner for Billy and Sybil and Billy’s two siblings, other than the President, Ruth,
the sister who rode motorcycles and wore beads, and Gloria. They all came for
dinner out on the deck behind our house in Cleveland Park. Henry Ruth and his
wife were with us. I remember the President’s siblings talking about the President
and Rosalynn in a very family kind of way. So it was a very interesting evening.
Mr. Schultz: So you had to decide whether you needed to file registration, and then you had to
represent him before the Senate committee, but was there any potential
prosecution or investigation by the federal government?
Mr. Pollak: I think the Office of Foreign Agent Registration investigated his behavior and his
registration statement. We had to produce documents for that office. To my
knowledge, it never became a criminal investigation.
Mr. Schultz: Did you have any contact with him after the representation closed?
Mr. Pollak: No, not really. I think that there were some materials that I and my colleagues
returned to him, but I never had any other contact with him. I cannot remember
having any communication about the outcome with the President. I never had a
call from the President commenting on the outcome, and I never spoke with the
President about the matter.
Mr. Schultz: Is there anything else about the Hamilton Jordan representation or the Billy Carter
representation that should be included in this oral history?
– 261 –
Mr. Pollak: I think it’s hard being a sibling of the President. Throughout history, it’s been
hard. I think it was hard for Billy. Billy just didn’t have a role. He wanted to
have a role, a working role. I still have a tape measure, it’s here on my desk,
saying “Carter’s Warehouse, phone 824-4915, Plains, Georgia.”
Mr. Schultz: Did he ever talk to you about how difficult it was being a brother of the President?
Mr. Pollak: He complained about Kirbo and the edict that came down saying, “you can’t run
the peanut factory.” That was his work. But I don’t think he was given to more
global ruminations about being a sibling of the President. From the evening with
the family, my perception was that the President’s siblings felt a mixture of
Mr. Schultz: He was the oldest?
Mr. Pollak: He was the oldest, right. But they, like all siblings, grew up together. They
viewed him as a brother.
Mr. Schultz: Do you remember anything anyone said?
Mr. Pollak: I just remember that they had comments about Jimmy and Rosalynn. I felt
fortunate to have the representation. I may have done it as public service.
Mr. Schultz: Maybe not voluntarily, though?
Mr. Pollak: I received psychic remuneration.
Mr. Schultz: You were the lawyer for the people in and near the Administration in serious
Mr. Pollak: The funny thing about it was that I had no relationship with the Carter
Administration at all. At the outset of the Administration, I had hoped to get a
– 262 –
job. I wanted more public service, but I never had even an offer of a job, and as I
say, I had no relationship with anybody in the Administration. I’ve told you how
the Jordan representation came about through Lloyd Cutler, and I think Billy just
took a page out of that.
Mr. Schultz: I think they must have been very happy with you representing them, somebody
recommended you to Billy Carter probably.
Mr. Pollak: He said he read it in the paper.
Mr. Schultz: Is that right? That’s interesting. He probably saw that you were successful.
Mr. Pollak: It suggests that the Studio 54 thing came up in 1979 and that it had been put to
bed in the Spring of 1980. Billy came in the Spring of 1980.
Mr. Schultz: Was there ever any discussion about the impact of Billy Carter’s situation on the
President’s re-election?
Mr. Pollak: It may have been speculated on in the press.
Mr. Schultz: You don’t remember any discussion with him or anybody in the Administration?
Mr. Pollak: No.
Mr. Schultz: So then Geraldine Ferraro.
Mr. Pollak: I have to tell you how Geraldine Ferraro came about.
Mr. Schultz: But before you do, is this 1984?
Mr. Pollak: 1984.
Mr. Schultz: Just tell us, maybe somebody will be reading this 25 years from now, who
Geraldine Ferraro was.
– 263 –
Mr. Pollak: Geraldine Ferraro was a congresswoman from New York who lived out near
Kennedy Airport; her district must have been out there in Queens. She was
finishing her third term. The Democratic Convention, to which I was not a
delegate and was not present, elected Walter Mondale, Carter’s Vice President, as
the candidate to run against President Reagan. The common understanding was
that it was an extremely uphill battle for Mondale and perhaps for that reason,
consideration was given to doing something unprecedented, which the Party
ultimately did, and that is to select a woman as the candidate for vice president.
That’s what happened, and the person selected was this third-term
congresswoman. I’ve always thought that in the political calculus of the time
there was some concern on the part of the Republicans that this selection of a
woman could conceivably constitute a threat for the Mondale ticket against the
Reagan ticket, and so from the very moment that she was named, there arose a
great clamor over an assertion that was originally made by a professor at GW or
American University that she had improperly or intentionally falsified a statement
that she filed with the Federal Election Commission when she was running in
1976 for her first term in Congress. I’ll explain what that allegation was, but in
any event, there grew to be a whole play out of claims that Geraldine Ferraro had
committed a grievous wrong in falsifying this document that had been filed some
six years previously. She was embroiled in rebutting those charges during the
entirety of the campaign. It carried on to investigations by the Federal Election
Commission and the Congress well into 1985, maybe even 1986. Depositions
– 264 –
were taken, the Department of Justice had a criminal investigation. It was a big
deal, and it was all about this charge that she filed a false or misleading statement
with the FEC a long time before she ever became a vice-presidential candidate.
What had happened, according to Gerry Ferraro and her husband
John Zaccaro and her aides, so I have no reason to doubt it, was that she was
running for Congress – this is, to me, very interesting and it reflects the status of
women in what must have been 1978 – and she had a need for campaign funds. A
young man came to her campaign office and volunteered to work for her election,
representing himself to be an expert on the federal election laws. He advised that
she could meet her financial needs if there were members of her family who could
make her a loan. So, her children and John made her loans. Candidates for
federal office must make periodic filings about their campaign finances, and her
first filing with the Federal Election Commission was rejected, or at least found
wanting, in that she reported her loans and they said, “You’re not entitled to have
any loans from your family, that’s proscribed.” So she had to come up with
money to pay them back. Being a woman, when she went to a bank, she couldn’t
get a bank loan. Now maybe there were other reasons she couldn’t get a bank
loan, but the primary reason, as I understood it, was because she was a woman
and she had limited opportunities for getting that kind of financing. So she had a
piece of property in her name which she sold. It was property in SoHo in New
York City. The allegation was that the property wasn’t hers, that it was her
husband’s. That was the issue.
– 265 –
Here’s how I came to have the representation, at least this is my
understanding of it. The Mondale campaign was under way. I said to a lawyer
friend of mine, John Nolan, who I thought had connections into the Democratic
Party, that I was looking around for some way to contribute to Mondale’s
election. John mentioned it to Mondale’s aide who was until recently the
President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Dick Moe. He was
active in the Mondale campaign. Gerry’s need for representation came up, and
Moe must have mentioned my name. I knew Mondale some from having testified
before a Senate committee he chaired on school desegregation. Ultimately, the
treasurer of the campaign, Mike Berman, called me up one afternoon and asked if
I would talk to Gerry Ferraro who needed a lawyer. I said yes. Gerry called me
up and said she needed a lawyer, would I represent her. I said sure. She said,
“Well, we’re having a meeting with our accountants tomorrow morning in
New York.” Her accountants were Arthur Young, one of the Big Seven
accounting firms. She asked would I come up to that meeting. Again, I said sure.
She must have told me something about what the problem was.
Mr. Schultz: It was probably in the papers too.
Mr. Pollak: Sure. So I flew up to New York for this meeting. I went there with my partner
Tony Lapham. The subject of the meeting was that Arthur Young was putting
together Gerry’s registration and disclosure statement as the candidate for Vice-
President. It had to be filed with the FEC. The disclosure form asked every
question you could possibly ask about everything you ever owned, how it came to
– 266 –
be owned by you. So it put in issue all of her finances and raised the necessity of
being completely and totally factually correct. As I sat in this meeting room in
New York City with a raft of people I had never met before, an amazing thing
dawned on me: on all the issues, I became the decision maker. Everything that
was put on the table, they looked to me to decide because after all, the filing was
by Gerry Ferraro and I was her lawyer. So it was really an eye-opening
experience, an amazing experience. We continued to work on the statement for
some period after. I’m happy to say that the statement was filed and it passed
muster. But that was just one of a host of challenges facing my new client for
which I was responsible.
Mr. Schultz: That was the beginning.
Mr. Pollak: That was the beginning.
Mr. Schultz: Was this a pro bono representation?
Mr. Pollak: No, but it was certainly done at a reduced fee. I was not a big money maker for
my firm on these representations.
Soon thereafter, Gerry undertook to have a tell-all news conference at a
motel/hotel near Kennedy Airport. Tony and I worked with her to prepare her for
the conference along with her staff member, Maxine Isaacs, who was the wife of
Jim Johnson, Mondale’s campaign director, was a press person for the Ferraro
campaign, and others. I remember riding over to the conference with Gerry in a
limousine. We had tried to identify all the questions she could be asked, how she
would answer them based upon everything that we knew. We went into this
– 267 –
motel and there were a million microphones and television cameras, all that. My
memory is that she did an excellent job and handled it very well, but the charges
dogged her throughout the campaign and even beyond. They kept being blown
up, her good answers never seemed to catch up with the allegations. All of her
documents were subpoenaed by the Public Integrity Section of the Department of
Justice. Gerry and her husband John Zaccaro were subpoenaed by the
Department of Justice to give depositions, as were others who touched the
properties in any way.
Mr. Schultz: Is this after the election?
Mr. Pollak: Yes, most of that was after the election.
Mr. Schultz: But during the election there were also lots of allegations about John’s real estate
Mr. Pollak: There were subterranean or not so subterranean allegations that hadn’t a shred of
validity from that day to this – that John had some connection with the mafia. I
thought the source of those was nothing but undisguised prejudice against Italian-
Americans. John was in real estate, he had real estate ownerships. The trials that
they suffered because she was a candidate were heavy. The family was a good
American family. They had a son, Harry, and two daughters, lovely people. It
was something to relate to them. It gave me a look at what it is to be a candidate.
They didn’t have time to pay their bills. I mean they paid them, but when they
had a moment of free time, they’d be doing the kind of things that each of us has
to do to keep our household together. It was quite amazing to observe. During
– 268 –
the campaign, Gerry had to spend significant time dealing with requests for
documents and other things when she was traveling across the nation trying to
help Mondale win election.
Mr. Schulz: Whatever came of these charges?
Mr. Pollak: We represented Gerry in a major investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
Ultimately the House Committee issued a decision which we considered a
favorable outcome. Gerry testified before the House Committee. Then there was
a full-blown Federal Election Commission proceeding, and we briefed numerous
issues in filings before the FEC. As I mentioned, the Public Integrity Section of
the Department of Justice had a criminal investigation, subpoenaed documents,
and deposed Gerry and John. At one time the Department of Justice or the FBI
had gotten wind of some kind of threat against John, and I remember meeting
with FBI Director William Webster, trying to be sure that John was protected. It
was a whole array of representations.
Mr. Schultz: Nothing ever came of any of it?
Mr. Pollak: I want to be precise about the outcome of the investigation by the House Ethics
Committee. I’ve got in my library materials respecting its hearing on Geraldine
Ferraro. [Finds some materials] This is a report of the House Committee on
Standards of Official Conduct, December 4, 1984, a good month after the
election. The volume runs 795 pages. The Washington Legal Foundation was the
first to make the charge against Gerry that kicked it all off.
Mr. Schultz: Is this the report here?
– 269 –
Mr. Pollak: Yes. Looking at pages 28-29 of the report, there were two conclusions. One was
that “Representative Ferraro either failed to disclose or incorrectly disclosed a
significant number of items relevant to her total financial concerns. As a result,
approximately ten of the allegations in the WLF [Washington Legal Foundation]
complaint are sustained.” The second was that “Representative Ferraro did not
meet three standards necessary for claiming the exemption from disclosure of her
husband’s financial interests. Her inability to successfully claim the exemption
centered on the benefit she has received from her husband’s financial activities.
The preceding pages of this report identify many items which would be
characterized as the financial interests of John Zaccaro. Maintenance of the
Forest Hills home, education of the children, and the purchase of vacation
properties are three examples of expenses covered with John Zaccaro’s financial
resources.” The report goes on: “The Committee wishes to weigh at least two
considerations which reflect favorably on Representative Ferraro’s position in
matters relating to the WLF complaint. First, no information received by the
Committee staff in the course of this investigation indicates a deceptive intent on
the part of Representative Ferraro. Instead, all facts point to error, oversight, and
misinterpretation as reason for the incomplete disclosures. Second, the
Congresswoman has amended her 1978 through 1983 disclosure statements to
include nearly all of the information originally omitted or misreported. While
these amendments do not cure the alleged violations of House Rule XLIV (as
concluded in Section V of this report), the fact of their filing may indicate the
– 270 –
Congresswoman’s willingness to make full disclosure.” The Committee then says
it’s faced with determining the appropriate action. The Congress was adjourned
so the full House was unable to take formal action. The Committee determined
what it would have recommended to the House had the House been in session:
The report relates that the staff recommends that “the Committee conclude with
regard to the errors and omissions alleged in the WLF complaint that
Representative Ferraro has committed violations of House Rule XLIV
constituting a technical violation. A technical violation is a determination made
available to the Committee pursuant to Rule 17(c)(2). It carries no
recommendation for action when a report of such finding is made to the House.”
The report was approved by the Committee by a vote of ten to two. We thought
that was a good outcome.
Mr. Schultz: I can see that. So what happened to Geraldine Ferraro?
Mr. Pollak: Well, her husband kept practicing real estate – he’s not a lawyer – he continued
his real estate business at 218 Lafayette Street, New York City, and Geraldine
went into a law firm. She wrote a couple of books and practiced law, and I think
she’s now retired. She has been battling cancer.
Mr. Schultz: Any other thoughts on this representation?
Mr. Pollak: I worked on it with at least three outstanding partners of mine, Tony Lapham,
Wendy White, and John Rich, and we gave the representation the best we had. It
was mired in financial documents, real estate transactions, there was a “guys and
dolls” cast of people in New York who had roles: investors, real estate agents,
– 271 –
accountants. They all were interviewed by the FBI or gave depositions. It really
had a life of its own. Gerry and John became friends of ours. They were very
appreciative of our work. It was another rewarding experience.
Mr. Schultz: You were in a small firm then, Shea & Gardner.
Mr. Pollak: Yes. When I joined Shea & Gardner in 1969, it was probably 19 lawyers. It grew
incrementally. Maybe it was 30 when I represented Gerry and John.
Mr. Schultz: And now you’re in a large firm?
Mr. Pollak: Right.
Mr. Schultz: And of course law practice has changed, it’s much more focused on profit.
Mr. Pollak: It’s also become much more specialized. I considered that I was well-qualified to
handle these representations, but I was not engaged in the practice of representing
persons under criminal investigation.
Mr. Schultz: It’s true, criminal investigations, federal election law, real estate law, accounting,
all the areas that you certainly hadn’t specialized in.
Mr. Pollak: No, but apprenticing with Gerhard Gesell and attending Yale Law School and
serving in the Department of Justice were adequate preparation.
Mr. Schultz: What I was getting at is, I mean these are obviously very high profile, very
interesting cases that any lawyer would be flattered to be able to do one of them,
but do you think in a large law firm today a lawyer would be able to do these
cases at the fees you were or were not being paid?
Mr. Pollak: I think there would be questions raised. There were no questions raised in my
firm. Frank Shea had been an Assistant Attorney General, he had been on
– 272 –
Justice Jackson’s staff at Nuremburg; Warner Gardner had been Solicitor of
Interior and Labor and held other high positions in the federal government. They
believed in public service. I think we all thought that a lawyer who is asked to
take on representation of public servants has an obligation to respond. Not an
obligation to respond without fee, but astronomical fees were really not in the
cards for any of these people. They didn’t have that kind of money. Ferraro and
Zaccaro were not wealthy. One of the things that was fun was to see the family
trying to cope with the mother being a candidate for Vice President.
Mr. Schultz: It came kind of fast on her, didn’t it?
Mr. Pollak: Right. It did.
Mr. Schultz: It sounds like your firm not only went along, they were probably delighted that
the firm was associated with this kind of work.
Mr. Pollak: I hope so. They at least never complained to me. And I felt good about it. I
thought it was a great opportunity.
Mr. Schultz: Sounds great.
Mr. Pollak: Want to close it up?
Mr. Schultz: Probably a good stopping place. Three pretty interesting matters.
– 273 –
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Eleventh Interview-May 7, 2010
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is William Schultz. The interview took place at the Goodwin Procter law firm at
901 New York Avenue, N.W., in the District of Columbia on May 7, 2010. This is the eleventh
Mr. Schultz: We’re going to talk about a few other matters in your private practice, and the
first one I want to ask you about is being the Special Master in the Vitamins
Antitrust Litigation, Misc. No. 99-197; MDL 1285. Why don’t you just tell us
about that.
Mr. Pollak: That was a fascinating four-year effort, and I’m pulling off my bookcase a
compendium of opinions that I wrote.
Mr. Schultz: Which is about 8-10 inches thick.
Mr. Pollak: Yes, but I have three of them. First let me tell you how I got named. The
Vitamins Antitrust Litigation had been multi-districted for pre-trial discovery in
the District of Columbia. The claim was price fixing, boycott, by manufacturers,
exclusively foreign manufacturers of vitamin products primarily for addition to
food and animal feed. There had been criminal proceedings and guilty verdicts or
pleas, so these were follow-on treble damage civil litigations, class actions. It was
originally assigned to Paul Friedman. The judge foresaw that there was going to
be a great deal of active litigation, particularly over discovery, and asked the
parties to suggest a special master to handle discovery issues and other related
issues. Out of that came my appointment as special master.
– 274 –
Mr. Schultz: Who were the lawyers who had a role in selecting you?
Mr. Pollak: The lawyers were a roster of the major firms of the nation who represented the
defendants, Mayer Brown; Bruce Montgomery of Arnold & Porter; Sherman &
Sterling; Sullivan & Cromwell. I’m not certain how my name got into the mix.
Mr. Schultz: The plaintiffs lawyers, was that Dickstein?
Mr. Pollak: The plaintiffs’ lawyers were Boies Schiller; Dickstein Shapiro, Ken Adams; a
Texas firm, and Joe Sellers’ firm.
Mr. Schultz: Cohen Milstein?
Mr. Pollak: Yes. Mike Hausfeld was a major player for the plaintiffs.
Mr. Schultz: What years was this?
Mr. Pollak: My initial appointment was 1999. I remained active in deciding issues up through
2003. It was a four-year assignment. I issued recommended decisions in perhaps
49 or 50 litigated matters, some of them extremely interesting issues. Of some
interest respecting the work of the United States District Court, Judge Friedman
had the cigarette multidistrict litigation, tobacco litigation. It was suggested either
by the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
or the Multi-District Panel that he shouldn’t be handling both cases – cigarettes
and vitamins – because it was too much, so after I had been named, the case
moved to Judge. Judge Kennedy is an outstanding tennis player, had played
tennis actively with Jonathan Schiller of Boies Schiller. Judge Kennedy, I
believe, recused himself because of that relationship. So the case moved to Chief
Judge Thomas Hogan, and stayed with Judge Hogan. I communicated with
– 275 –
Judge Hogan, who I didn’t know, suggesting that he should feel free to select as
special master someone with whom he was acquainted. He communicated to me
that he wished me to stay with the assignment, so I served as Judge Hogan’s
special master throughout. It was one of the great opportunities and great
experiences of my professional life. I found Judge Hogan to be an outstanding
judge in handling this complex case and managing it. Indeed, there were
hundreds of motions, thousands of docketed items, as many as 5,000 items in the
docket. Judge Hogan managed to make it all look easy. I know that he spoke
once about it to an ABA gathering. The case offers a good opportunity, just like
the AT&T case of Judge Harold Greene, to observe a masterful judge handling a
complex multi-party case. It wasn’t one case; there were many different vitamin
products involved, and each presented its own litigation, so while the defendants
were often similar in each case, in some of the cases there were different
defendants. Most of the cases ultimately settled. My responsibility was to handle
all discovery disputes, and while I was a private practicing attorney, these
disputes would be briefed to me, and then I would go to one of the federal
courtrooms and the parties would argue them to me.
Mr. Schultz: In a federal courtroom?
Mr. Pollak: Right. I would sit on the bench. I never wore a robe, and I never endeavored to
arrogate to myself any of the formal attributes of a judge, but the parties
obviously took seriously the briefing and arguments, and I rendered written
reports and recommendations which under the Federal Rules are subject to appeal
– 276 –
to the United States District Judge. They very, very often would be appealed and
they would be very, very often be affirmed by Judge Hogan.
The first issue presented to me was a unique issue on which there had been
very little precedent: whether discovery by plaintiffs to establish personal
jurisdiction over the foreign defendants must proceed under the Hague
Convention on Taking Evidence Abroad or the Federal Rules. The Federal Rules
are much more conducive to obtaining discovery than is the Hague Convention.
This was presented to me as a discovery dispute, and the issue was fully briefed
and argued. I rendered a recommendation that in the circumstances the discovery
would be conducted pursuant to the Federal Rules. The issue went to
Judge Hogan, and he reached the same conclusion in a Memorandum Opinion
filed September 20, 2000. I thought the case would be, the ruling would be taken
to the Court of Appeals because there was so little law, but it stayed with Judge
Hogan’s opinion.
There were many other quite challenging issues, very intellectually
stimulating. One of the issues was sufficiently complex that I issued a Report and
Recommendations that was a hundred and one pages long.
Mr. Schultz: Wow.
Mr. Pollak: It proves the wisdom of Judge Friedman’s anticipation that a special master was
needed. There was really no way that a sitting federal judge with multiple
assignments on his or her docket could give these discovery disputes the attention
which I could give as a special master.
– 277 –
Mr. Schultz: How much of your time did it take over those four years?
Mr. Pollak: It took a lot of time. I did the work with the help of one associate at the firm.
Most of the time that was Tim Lynch, who had been editor-in-chief of the Law
Review at Georgetown and was at Shea & Gardner. Subsequently, Tim went to
be an Assistant United States Attorney. He performed in outstanding fashion.
There were months when I would spend more than 100 hours on the assignment.
Mr. Schultz: So well over half your time?
Mr. Pollak: Right. I charged for my services at a reasonable rate under the Court’s order
appointing me and the parties divided the charges 50/50.
Mr. Schultz: What was your relationship to Judge Hogan?
Mr. Pollak: My relationship with Judge Hogan was a formal one on all the issues that were
presented to me. I did not discuss them with Judge Hogan. They were presented
to me, I rendered a written ruling. The parties would or would not appeal that
ruling to Judge Hogan, and he would address the issue with my report and with
their briefing in front of him. He limited the briefs to ten pages, considering that
the matter had been fully handled in front of me and that he could give it
summary attention based upon more limited briefing. The record was always a
written one before Judge Hogan. I had a discussion with him early on in which I
said that I thought the appropriate approach would be for me not to discuss the
substance of these issues so the parties would have a full shot at the federal judge,
who after all had the responsibility.
– 278 –
Mr. Schultz: So it was really like the relationship between a District Court and Court of
Mr. Pollak: That’s right. Now there was an occasion in which there was kind of a backup.
Judge Hogan set a date for conclusion of discovery and stuck to it hard but then it
had to be slipped once or twice. In an effort to wind up discovery, all the pending
motions were catalogued, and I held a hearing at which all of the motions and the
necessity of briefing them and having them decided by me was addressed so that
we could identify what the real line up before the court was and put to one side
those motions that probably never had to be addressed. The number may have
been over 200. In approaching that sort of scheduling responsibility, I recall
having discussions with Judge Hogan about how to approach it and manage it.
Otherwise, while I had pleasant, for me, relationships with Judge Hogan, they
were limited.
Mr. Schultz: Did he try some of these cases ultimately?
Mr. Pollak: He did try – the major cases settled, and some cases – the amount of money
involved was tremendous. The criminal fines were the largest ever collected by
the Department of Justice. One was $1 billion, or maybe over a billion.
F. Hoffmann LaRoche, one of the defendants, had paid a big fine. But the cases
that went to trial involved significant money but were for a long time more
secondary cases. A few cases were tried. I haven’t been active in the matter for
five years. A few tag ends are still going on before Judge Hogan.
Mr. Schultz: Did he consult you or did you have any role in the trials?
– 279 –
Mr. Pollak: I had no role. When appeals were taken of my rulings, I generally went to the
argument before Judge Hogan. It was of course a matter of interest to me, but
also there were occasions when the outcome of the argument left something more
for me to do after a ruling by the judge. I attended some of one trial just for the
interest, seeing how it went. I had never wanted to be a judge and so this
experience of serving as a special master afforded me a good window on what it
would be like to be a judge. It was a challenging, decidedly interesting, and very
rewarding experience. I found the briefing interesting. Sometimes I was
intrigued by the briefing because there were often issues that went directly to the
meaning of the Federal Rules, and sometimes for one reason or another the parties
on both side of the issues seemed to avoid briefing what appeared to me to be the
central matter at issue. I never asked them about it. There were obviously great
resources put into the briefing, and often there had to be extensive affidavits about
foreign law and practice, so a great deal of learning was presented to me. I
learned a great deal from the case.
Mr. Schultz: Did your experience make you think you would have liked to be a judge or
confirm that you wouldn’t?
Mr. Pollak: I probably would have enjoyed being a judge. I wasn’t sorry that I had that view
that I had. I never sought to be a judge. Judge Hogan assigned some settlement
responsibilities to Magistrate Judge Kay and I occasionally talked to Magistrate
Judge Kay about what I was doing. He led me to believe that I was shouldering a
– 280 –
lot of responsibilities that were valuably performed by me so as to relieve
Judge Hogan.
Mr. Schultz: Yes, I’m sure.
Mr. Pollak: Magistrate Judge Alan Kay performed highly competent services in bringing the
parties to settle some of the cases. It was a good example of a federal judge using
the various tools that were available to him to deal with this immense litigation.
The case proceeded a lot of the time under the radar. There was no major
commentary, as there was about the AT&T case, that Judge Hogan was
performing his very unusual service as there was commentary about
Harold Greene. I think it was a comparable virtuoso performance.
Mr. Schultz: Did you have any other experience as a special master?
Mr. Pollak: I never did. I hoped to have another assignment, but I never did. I guess you get
just one of those, and mine was a big one.
Mr. Schultz: So the next project I want to ask you about is your experience as Assistant to
James McKay who was an Independent Counsel.
Mr. Pollak: Jim McKay was a partner at Covington & Burling with whom I had worked when
I was there. Jim McKay was an outstanding trial attorney. In and about 1960,
Jim and I together, possibly I was in the lead, sought from then-Chief Judge
Bazelon a pro bono case to work on, and Judge Bazelon turned to the Chief Judge
of the Fourth Circuit who had been Solicitor General, Simon Soboloff. The
Chief Judge gave us two habeas cases under 18 U.S.C. 2254, state habeas. Men
who were claiming that they had had constitutionally infirm trials and who had
– 281 –
appealed their convictions without success. Number one was incarcerated in
Jessup, and the other was incarcerated in the jail in downtown Baltimore. Jim and
I handled those cases which presented issues respecting the availability of federal
habeas to these prisoners of the State of Maryland, issues that had not yet been
determined by the Supreme Court. Shortly thereafter the Supreme Court decided
a now-legendary case regularizing greater rights of the criminal defendants who
had been convicted to post-conviction review. But those issues were then more
I knew Jim in that capacity. When he was named by the Division of the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for Appointment of Independent
Counsels, the chief judge of which was D.C. Circuit Senior Judge
George MacKinnon, a former Congressperson, my partner Wendy White and I
volunteered our assistance.
Jim McKay was appointed in February 1987 to investigate whether
Lyn Nofziger of the Reagan Administration had violated any criminal law.
Thereafter, Jim’s assignment was expanded to include related allegations possibly
implicating Attorney General Edwin Meese III when he was counselor to
President Reagan.
Mr. Schultz: What were the allegations?
Mr. Pollak: The question to be investigated was whether Nofziger, acting as an agent of
Welbilt Electronic Die Corporation, violated federal conflict of interest laws, 18
U.S.C. § 207(c), by communicating with the President’s office within one year of
– 282 –
being employed as Assistant to the President. McKay brought formal charges
against Nofziger. McKay and members of his staff, including now Circuit Judge
Merrick Garland, tried the case.
I remember that Jim had offices on 18th Street. Others working with him
in addition to Garland included Lovita Coleman and Thor Halvorson. Wendy and
I participated actively addressing legal issues that came up at the time the matters
were being presented before the grand jury. In my private practice, I had taken
many witnesses to the grand jury. I did that over the whole of my practice,
including in the Monica Lewinsky affair. With Jim McKay, this was the only
time that I ever had occasion to go into the grand jury for presentation of
evidence. That was extremely interesting to me. Looking back on the role of the
Independent Counsels and the comments and criticisms that have come on the
extended issues that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr addressed, Jim McKay
was an experienced courtroom litigator and brought to his assignment some
discipline growing out of his experience that centered his investigation and
allowed him to move through it and complete it and make his report while
focused on what the central matters were.
Mr. Schultz: Roughly how long did the investigation go on?
Mr. Pollak: Looking at his published report respecting Mr. Meese dated July 5, 1988, he
completed his investigation and the trial of Mr. Nofziger within 17 months of his
Mr. Schultz: What prompted you to volunteer?
– 283 –
Mr. Pollak: I was interested in finding something interesting to do in the way of public
Mr. Schultz: And you had worked with him before?
Mr. Pollak: Sure. Jim always treated the contribution that Wendy and I made as important.
I’m not sure whether it was that significant. His report (page vi) says we served
as his “counselors, successfully defending my office from attacks on the
constitutionality of the independent counsel statute and attacks on my jurisdiction
Mr. Schultz: I’m sure he was delighted to get the help. You mentioned that you represented a
witness in connection with Monica Lewinsky. I can’t let that go by without
asking you about that.
Mr. Pollak: The wife of a Yale Law friend had been a volunteer in the Clinton White House,
and in that capacity had had some contact at work with another volunteer,
Kathleen Willey, who lived in Richmond, Virginia. Ms. Willey made allegations
respecting the President which were apparently explored before a grand jury. My
friend’s wife was called before the grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Virginia. I represented her in responding to that investigative
Mr. Schultz: Your role in that piece of history.
Mr. Pollak: Another of my occasional responsibilities touching on governmental
– 284 –
Mr. Schultz: I think what we’ll do now is switch to your pro bono work and other kinds of
work during your years in private practice, which is extensive. I don’t think we’ll
cover it all. But there were I gather two Supreme Court cases that you argued on
a pro bono basis. Griffin v. Breckenridge and the University of Texas v.
Camenisch. So we’ll have a chance to talk about those. Let’s start with Griffin
versus Breckenridge, how this case came to you and what it was about.
Mr. Pollak: When I came out of the United States government, I was asked to succeed
John Nolan of Steptoe & Johnson who had been the first chair of the what was
then called the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. I
readily accepted and was chair of the board of directors for two years, 1970 to
1972. One of the major accomplishments of that service was the hiring of
Roderick Boggs as the director of the organization. He remains the director
today, and he’s made a unique contribution to civil rights and the representation
of indigent people with civil rights and related issues in the District of Columbia
and in the nation. Rod came to me with a case that became Griffin v.
Breckenridge. It was a claim for damages stemming from an interference, alleged
to have been on account of race, with an individual using the public highway in
Tennessee. The claim was brought under 18 U.S.C. 1985. The question was
what that statute, enacted initially in 1866 as part of the Civil Rights Act of the
First Reconstruction, meant and what it required as a matter of intent on the
defendant’s part. We took it on and I did the case with Richard Sharp, an
associate at Shea & Gardner and a lawyer who had been in the Civil Rights
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Division, Gary Greenberg. We researched back in the proceedings of the United
States Congress in 1866 the meaning of the statute and brought all of that learning
to bear. The issue was a later presentation of a similar issue decided in the
famous Screws case which dealt with a criminal statute, now 18 U.S.C. 241 or
242, interference with civil rights.
Mr. Schultz: Who is Breckenridge?
Mr. Pollak: I have to refresh my recollection. Why don’t we position that for the next session.
Mr. Schultz: Was this a case against a private person?
Mr. Pollak: Yes it was.
Mr. Schultz: So that was the whole thing. It wasn’t a state action, it was how far you could go?
Mr. Pollak: Exactly. When someone was interfering with your civil rights.
Mr. Schultz: But it was a private party.
Mr. Pollak: Yes it was.
Mr. Schultz: This was a pretty famous case.
Mr. Pollak: Yes it was. We prevailed nine to nothing.
Mr. Schultz: Could Congress under the 14th Amendment pass a law that dealt with private
conduct as opposed to public.
Mr. Pollak: Exactly. It was a wonderful case for somebody coming out of the Civil Rights
Division to have an opportunity to do.
Mr. Schultz: Did you take it from the trial court all the way up?
Mr. Pollak: No. I got it in the Supreme Court. My recollection is that cert had been granted,
when I took the case. We filed briefs, and I argued the case.
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The other case was University of Texas v. Walter Camenisch. I have
spoken about it earlier in this history.
– 287 –
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Twelfth Interview-July 7, 2010
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is William Schultz. The interview took place at the Goodwin Procter law firm at
901 New York Avenue, N.W., in the District of Columbia on July 7, 2010. This is the twelfth
Mr. Schultz: In the last section you talked about the Griffin and Camenisch cases, and I think
you wanted to put the Supreme Court’s citations in. Do you want to add anything
Mr. Pollak: Shortly after I got out of the Department of Justice in 1969, the Washington
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law had a case called Griffin v.
Breckenridge which was testing the reach and requirements for a judgment of
liability under 42 U.S.C. 1985(3). I believe that I was by then chair of the
committee and undertook to represent petitioners, Negro citizens of Mississippi,
who had brought a damage action charging that white citizens had conspired to
assault them when they were passengers “travelling upon the federal, state and
local highways” in an automobile. I presented the case in the Supreme Court
which reexamined and somewhat reinterpreted that significant statute in an
opinion by Justice Stewart, which continues to be the determinative opinion with
respect to the meaning of that statute.
Later, the Mental Health Law Project here in the District of Columbia came to
Shea & Gardner for representation of a deaf student, at San Jacinto State College,
named Camenisch, who had sought to have a sign language interpreter assist him
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at his classes and was denied funding. The case tested the reach of Section 504 of
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which proscribed discrimination on account of a
disability. I undertook the representation and argued the case in the Supreme
Court. The opinion held that the review of a preliminary injunction, which had
been granted in favor of Mr. Camenisch, had become moot and so the decision
did not interpret the reach of Section 504 or the legality of the provision. The
opinion there is 451 U.S. 390 in a 1981 decision. The Griffin v. Breckenridge cite
is 403 U.S. 88, 1971. Those were two of the three cases that I argued in the
Supreme Court after leaving the government, the third being one of the
representations of the Trustees of the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds called
Kaiser Steel Corporation v. Mullins. In the latter case, my client lost 6 to 3 in an
opinion by Justice White.
In any event, I had one other clarification or amplification. I have reported in
the prior sessions that I assisted James McKay who had been appointed an
Independent Counsel to investigate certain allegations respecting Lyn Nofziger, a
White House official in the administration of President Reagan. That
investigation by McKay also explored charges against the then-Attorney General
in the Reagan Administration, Edwin Meese III. In my discussion, I had left that
unclear. McKay made a lengthy report in respect to the Meese inquiry dated
July 5, 1988, and I and my partner Wendy White assisted Mr. McKay.
Mr. Schultz: Okay. So we talked about a number of cases that you did pro bono and projects
such as the special counsel investigation you just discussed. In addition to that,
– 289 –
you have served on an extraordinary number of committees, including the
Lawyers’ Committee, being chair of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, cochair
of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law; D.C.
Circuit Historical Society; numerous D.C. Bar activities. These are all listed on
your resume. You have a sort of complete resume that lists all these activities,
and I think it would be a good idea to append it to your history. I’m not going to
ask you to go through each of these, but maybe you can talk a little bit about what
you think drew you to do all this work and also how it fits into law practice or
how it fit into your law practice.
Mr. Pollak: I was originally drawn to law because I was interested in public service and I was
fortunate in being able to go into public service as a member of the federal
government from 1961 to 1969. Even by that time, I had made it a part of my
professional life to be a volunteer participant in public activities where my law
training was useful. My first such activity was while I was a new lawyer at
Covington & Burling. I found a model for combining private practice with
pro bono or unpaid civic volunteer work in Charles Horsky, well known, even
then in 1956, 1957, 1958, a partner at Covington & Burling. Charlie was
president of the Washington Housing Association, an organization begun in the
time of Eleanor Roosevelt and devoted to addressing the problems of low income
people having inadequate housing available to them. I volunteered as a member
of the Washington Housing Association and served on committees, including the
urban renewal committee which I chaired. Ultimately, while I was in the United
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States government, First Assistant in the Civil Rights Division, I served as
president of the Washington Housing Association which by then was called the
Washington Planning and Housing Association.
Mr. Schultz: Let me just back up for one minute. Was Covington & Burling’s commitment or
involvement in pro bono work a factor in your choosing that firm as your first
Mr. Pollak: It was. I was at Yale and there was a strain of the Yale Law School that favored
public service by the law school graduates. My interest in law firms in
Washington was in three firms that had a significant number of Yale law school
graduates in their leadership. Covington & Burling, where later Judge Gesell was
a partner, and he interviewed at Yale; and a firm called Cox, Langford, Stoddard
& Cutler, a nine-person firm in which Lloyd Cutler and later Judge Louis
Oberdorfer were partners; and Arnold & Porter, where Thurman Arnold, who had
been a professor at Yale, was a name partner. I interviewed with those firms in
New Haven and went down to Washington to interview at Covington. I accepted
that at Covington & Burling my choice of outside activities was my own to make,
that it would have the support of the firm, and that I would be called on to do my
law firm work at the same time as I did outside work.
Mr. Schultz: Okay, so you were in the government, and now you’re coming out of the
government. Was this a factor in choosing Shea & Gardner?
Mr. Pollak: It wasn’t really a factor in choosing Shea & Gardner. I can’t recall any discussion
about pro bono at all. Frank understood I had no clients to bring with me. He
– 291 –
was confident that that would all come in the future, and that I should feel easy
about what I would be doing. He’d see I had enough to do. I just assumed that
I’d find a happy home there and could make my professional life what I wanted.
And that’s the way it turned out.
Mr. Schultz: How did this pro bono develop for you?
Mr. Pollak: There was either a movie or saying long ago called “Available Jones.” I was just
an “Available Jones.” When people had something to be done for no pay, they
often came to me to do it, and I had no interest in saying no and generally said
yes. There were opportunities that came along and I generally treated those
unpaid activities as calling for the same kind of attention and energy as regular
law work, and one assignment led to another. I don’t really recall how the earliest
outside unpaid pro bono activities came on. The first outside position I took on
was chair of the newly created Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
Under Law. I joined Shea & Gardner in March of 1969. I must have become
chair of that Committee later that year and held it for two years.
Mr. Schultz: Who was the first chair?
Mr. Pollak: John E. Nolan of Steptoe & Johnson whom I had known in the federal
government. John probably asked me if I would succeed him. John had been
Special Assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
Mr. Schultz: What was the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights?
Mr. Pollak: In 1963, as I understand it, in anticipation of the coming passage of the public
accommodations statute, Attorney General Kennedy, Assistant Attorney General
– 292 –
Burke Marshall, and Assistant Attorney General Louis Oberdorfer, with the
support of President Kennedy, worked with the leadership of the ABA to gain an
establishment of a lawyers organization that could produce a large cadre of
volunteer attorneys who were to engage in litigation to secure the rights
guaranteed by the anticipated public accommodations law. It was thought that
there would be such broad scale opposition to opening public accommodations in
the South to Blacks that the resources of the Justice Department would be
inadequate to the law enforcement task. So this lawyers’ organization was
established at the request of the President, called the National Lawyers’
Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The first Co-Chairs were leading
members of the bar, former president of the ABA and Philadelphia attorney
Bernard Segal, and a prominent New York attorney, Harrison Tweed. The
Lawyers’ Committee has always been headed by two lawyers, co-chairs, and the
second or third group of chairs included Lou Oberdorfer, now, of course, a Senior
District Judge. Lou secured a grant from the Ford Foundation looking toward
establishment of local lawyers’ committees in major urban areas around the
country. The Washington Lawyers’ Committee was one of those local lawyers’
committees. It was organized in 1969, some five years after the National
Committee was born, with Nolan as chair and then I succeeded him. So I had two
active years there. A dimension of my activity was that just one of my
undertakings was to handle the Griffin v. Breckenridge case, but we were
providing pro bono representation through the Lawyers’ Committee for all kinds
– 293 –
of civil rights matters, and I was choosing staff as well. One of the points for
which I should be remembered is that I hired Rod Boggs back in 1972. Rod still
heads the Committee now in 2010 and has been a distinguished leader of that
organization. So, I devoted myself to that assignment, and then when the unified
bar was created in 1972, some people reached out and asked me if I would run for
the Board. I did and was elected and that spawned my many assignments with the
Bar, including, seven years later, being elected President-Elect. Before that, I’d
served on the Bar Board for several years.
Mr. Schultz: What are your reflections on the role of the D.C. Bar in the practice of law?
Mr. Pollak: My reflections are that a unified bar, meaning that all the lawyers who practice in
the jurisdiction here in the District of Columbia must be members of the Bar in
order to have a license to practice, is a good thing. The rules for the Bar are
created by the highest local court in the District, the District of Columbia Court of
Appeals. The body of lawyers elect their leaders, and the Bar is committed to
enforcing high standards of ethics. It’s devoted to other purposes that lawyers
should hold high, including affording representation to the poor and the
disadvantaged, pro bono representation. I think that there’s a place for all the
voluntary bars which are devoted to particular groups or particular purposes like
the Environmental Bar, the Federal Communications Bar, or the Asian-American
Bar. There are many different voluntary bars, but the unified bar, the D.C. Bar, is
the Bar of everyone who practices here. That’s a very positive institution and has
made a distinguished record. I was fortunate to have been elected as president for
– 294 –
the 1980-1981 term. I served as President-Elect with John Pickering, which was a
rewarding experience. John, a uniquely experienced, capable and humanistic
attorney, set a high standard for me. I ran against two distinguished lawyers,
Charles Horsky, my mentor, and Herbert Forrest, and through some, I always
thought, quirk, I was elected over those two persons who I thought brought great
qualifications to the office and would have prevailed. In any event, one of the
rewarding things about being president of the Bar is that in addition to the benefits
and burdens of serving as president, once you’ve served, you’re among a group
that’s often asked to take particular assignments later for no pay, including
heading up the D.C. Bar’s Pro Bono Program which I did in the early 1990s and
presided over a review and reorganization of the program. I consider that one of
the most rewarding pro bono undertakings I ever did.
Mr. Schultz: What does the Pro Bono Program do?
Mr. Pollak: The Bar’s Pro Bono Program has always been devoted to encouraging lawyers to
undertake representation of the poor and disadvantaged on a no-pay basis. In
1990, I was invested as chair of the governing body of the Bar’s Pro Bono
Program which at that time was called the Public Service Activities Committee.
Shortly after that, Bar president Sally Determan determined to undertake or to
sponsor a review of the program to see if it was accomplishing the purposes for
which it was created. With some effort, I convinced her that she should not go
outside the Public Service Activities Committee for the leadership of this review
committee, that there was not much for me to do as chair of the Public Service
– 295 –
Activities Committee while the review was going on, and that she should ask me
to chair the review, which she did. Working with nine or ten volunteer capable
lawyers and with Katherine Mazzaferri who was Director of the Bar, we
conducted an in-depth review over two years. The major contributors were
Jane Belford, Joe Sellers, Rob Weiner, Katherine Mazzaferri, and the now-head
of the Pro Bono Institute, Esther Lardent. We looked all over the country for
what bars were doing in the pro bono arena. We considered that the D.C. Bar was
not performing in as useful way as it should and replaced the programs with those
that were at the cutting edge around the United States. We found significant
patterns in the program of the San Francisco Bar and created a new structure,
which I’m happy to say endures to this day, in a very comprehensive report that
was submitted to the Board of Governors in 1992 when Jamie Gorelick was
president. I consider that the 75-page report of the Public Service Activities
Review Committee, issued June 15, 1992, to be among the best projects with
which I have been connected. Very rewarding. Its recommendations included
many strong points. One of them was that every other year the Bar’s Pro Bono
Program should seek out a new activity so that it would never become rooted in
stationary programs, that it should always be looking for something new,
something changed, so that it didn’t become routine and uncreative. It still does
create new activities.
Mr. Schultz: What are some of those most significant activities that the program has
– 296 –
Mr. Pollak: The most significant was that we created what we called initially a Law Firm Pro
Bono Legal Clinic. We asked law firms to take a night twice each year at which
they would send a cadre of 10 or 12 lawyers. The staff of the Pro Bono Program
would in advance of the night be “in-taking” indigent clients in need of
representation and developing the case materials for each of these potential
clients. Then, on the designated night, the Bar would invite the clients in, the law
firm would send the lawyers in, the Bar would marry up clients and lawyers, and
each of the clients would go home with a lawyer who had taken the case. There
would be family law cases, child custody cases, spousal abuse cases,
Social Security-type cases, landlord/tenant-type cases, and adoption cases.
Sometimes a lawyer in the law firm would have a case for a year or two that the
lawyer undertook at the Pro Bono Clinic. The law firm would agree to come to
the clinic say twice a year and take cases. I remember going. The Pro Bono
Program would serve pizza the night of the clinic. I went as a volunteer lawyer
the first night and took a case. Arnold & Porter was one of the first law firms to
volunteer. That program continues. It’s now called the Advice and Referral
Clinic. That was a wholly new undertaking. Today the Bar Pro Bono Program
has many different activities. For instance, it staffs something called the
Landlord/Tenant Resource Center, which is housed at the Landlord/Tenant Court
and serves individuals who are called, subpoenaed, to come to the
Landlord/Tenant Court, and come without a lawyer. They can come to the
Resource Center, show their court papers, and obtain information as to what’s
– 297 –
happening to them. If they need a lawyer, there’s another program that will
provide an attorney for that day when an individual needs an attorney. Another
aspect of the Bar’s Pro Bono Program is that under the so-called “referendum,”
adopted by the membership while I was president, unified bar dues cannot be used
for anything but general public purposes and the Pro Bono Program is not
recognized as one of those purposes. The Pro Bono Program must raise all of its
funding. So one of the things that we recommended in 1992 was that the Program
conduct an annual fundraising event. That has become the annual reception
honoring the new Bar president, and it’s been going on each year. This year it
raised over $620,000 or $630,000. So that was another creation of our report.
The Bar Board of Governors has asked me to undertake other assignments
which I’ve always been prepared to do. One of the particularly rewarding
assignments, which I performed over eight years on two different appointments,
was to be a member of the Judicial Nominations Commission, which statutorily
has the duty of naming the chief judges of the Superior Court and the District of
Columbia Court of Appeals, and when there are judicial vacancies on these two
courts, proposing three candidates, one of whom is to be nominated by the
President for service as a judge. I served with judges of the United States District
Court on that commission, including Chief Judge Aubrey Robinson, District
Judge Harold Greene, and District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson. That’s an
excellent institution, has produced an excellent bench of both courts. In my
– 298 –
experience, the Commission was dedicated to quality and diversity in candidates
to present to the President.
Mr. Schultz: In what years did you serve on the Commission?
Mr. Pollak: The Bar has a general limit of service of no more than six years. I served a sixyear
term and ended up as chair. During my service, the chairs were
Judge Robinson and then Wiley Branton. I succeeded Wiley Branton. I was
succeeded as chair by Judy Lichtman, an outstanding attorney and leader of the
National Women’s Law Center. Now-District Judge Paul Friedman succeeded
Judy. When Paul was named United States District Judge, and he had been
serving as a nominee of the Bar on the Commission, the Bar asked me to fill out
his term so I served for two more years. My first service was January 1984 to
January 1990; my second, July 1994 to January 1996.
Mr. Schultz: Tell me about Wiley Branton.
Mr. Pollak: I had known Wiley in the Department of Justice where he was a Special Assistant
to Attorney General Clark or Katzenbach. Then I served with him on this
Commission. When he was on the Commission, he was a partner at Sidley&
Austin. I credit him with providing black attorneys with a model for the private
practice of law. At Sidley & Austin, he mentored a number of outstanding black
attorneys. That firm was ahead of others in the District in diversity and I credit
Wiley with accomplishing that.
Mr. Schultz: Didn’t he have a history in civil rights?
– 299 –
Mr. Pollak: Wiley was a leader in the fight for civil rights in Arkansas, and then came to
Washington in the Kennedy-Johnson years. He was an excellent chair of the
Judicial Nominations Commission. He was distinguished by his commitment to
civil rights, his commitment to excellence and diversity in candidates for the
bench, and his really engaging interpersonal relations. He was a winning human
Mr. Schultz: You have a note here in terms of the D.C. Bar, it says, “the referendum.”
Mr. Pollak: The D.C. Bar is an agency created by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals
in which all lawyers practicing in the District must belong. In that respect, it’s not
like a voluntary bar. A voluntary bar is free to take any positions that it may wish
in behalf of the people who voluntarily become members. The unified bar, along
with unified bars around the country, engaged in a learning experience as to the
existence of some limitations on its position-taking because it’s speaking for all
the lawyers who have no choice but to belong. In the early years there was less
awareness of those limitations, and this came to a head in the time of
John Pickering’s and my presidencies, 1979 to 1981. The voluntary Bar
Association of the District of Columbia was maintaining a library at the federal
Courthouse, and, perhaps because of the creation of the unified bar, found that its
income stream was inadequate to continue to maintain the library. It offered the
library to the unified D.C. Bar and invited the D.C. Bar to take it over and
maintain it. The voluntary bar said to John Pickering, who was the D.C. Bar
president at the time, that the voluntary bar would support a dues increase for
– 300 –
funding the library. So John Pickering and the D.C. Bar sought approval by the
District of Columbia Court of Appeals for an increase in dues to fund the library
for the main part but also for some other aspects of its obligations. Well, this kind
of kicked over a volcano and out of it arose motions both to oppose the increase in
dues and to limit the use of dues to what the movants regarded as the public
purposes for which the D.C. Bar was created. Ultimately in my term as Bar
president, there was a referendum of the Bar’s thousands of members on these
limitations. I was the president of the entity seeking to avoid the limitations, or at
least those that we thought were inappropriate, and it was a very active campaign.
Among the leaders of the proponents of the limitations was Nate Dodel who was a
Department of Justice employee. He was a very committed opponent of a range
of expenditures by the Bar. So that was fought out, and the limitations were
adopted. The Bar achieved some moderation in the reach of the limitations. The
outcome, while we opposed it at the time, has turned out to be something that can
be lived with by the unified Bar. Activities that aren’t classified as core activities
can be funded through contributions. Since all lawyers practicing here must be
members, some limitations on use of dues are not inappropriate.
Mr. Schultz: Did the library qualify as a —
Mr. Pollak: We never acquired the library. We never got the funding. The best you could say
is it was a great big active fight. A large measure of my time as president of the
Bar, a post I have characterized as being counsel for the Bar, I spent litigating
– 301 –
over these limitation efforts and setting up the structure for the vote on the
Mr. Schultz: Were you in court over these?
Mr. Pollak: Since the Bar is an entity created by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals,
we were litigating in front of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in terms
of the structuring of this referendum and its outcome. I kept a docket and was
filing official papers. I felt my responsibility was to be satisfied as the ultimate
client with everything we were doing, reviewing everything we were filing and
saying about the referendum.
Mr. Schultz: How much of your time did you spend as president of the Bar?
Mr. Pollak: I don’t know the answer to that, but a lot. But I maintained my practice
throughout all these activities.
Mr. Schultz: How did you do that?
Mr. Pollak: I don’t know. I just did. I had colleagues who were working with me and just
squeezed the evening hours to do whatever was required.
Mr. Schultz: Did your firm ever question the amount of time you were spending on all these
outside activities for no pay?
Mr. Pollak: Not to my knowledge. I must have it down somewhere. In 1993, the firm elected
me chair of the executive committee, so my partners must have been satisfied
with how I spent my time. And that was then a big commitment of time inside the
firm, particularly as we undertook a look at the rules and procedures for
compensating partners. We had had a system which was heavily influenced by
– 302 –
seniority, and there was pressure to move to a system more business oriented,
which is where firms have gone subsequently.
Mr. Schultz: Did you talk about that in the oral history?
Mr. Pollak: I have not. After serving in the government from 1961 to 1969, I harbored the
hope that I would find another leadership position in the government in later
administrations. It seemed to me that after having held a presidential
appointment, I couldn’t reasonably go in as a line attorney. No presidential office
ever came my way, although I sought one. So these pro bono activities were for
me again the opportunity for public service that I was seeking when I couldn’t
serve in the government. I served in the House of Delegates of the ABA when I
was president and president-elect of the D.C. Bar, but I didn’t find that
particularly rewarding. Not that it wasn’t doing useful policy things. My focus
has always been on local activities, except for the National Lawyers’ Committee
on which I’ve always been active since going on its board in 1969 on getting out
of the government. I’ve done that national activity, but otherwise my focus has
been on the District of Columbia.
Mr. Schultz: When you took on a new pro bono assignment, did you have to get approval from
your firm?
Mr. Pollak: Certainly if it was a case, I did. I had to go through the usual conflicts check. If it
was a board position, I’m doubtful that I did. I probably told Frank Shea who was
for a long period the head of the firm.
– 303 –
Mr. Schultz: But even for a case, assuming there were no conflict, did the firm have to review
it in terms of resources?
Mr. Pollak: I think that in a loose way a case that would require significant application of
time, particularly of others besides myself, I would clear it with the head of the
firm. I don’t think I ever was denied approval. But there’s some in terrorem
effect of the staffing requirements. In other words, the National Lawyers’
Committee often has major trials, major district court level cases in the South,
which would require significant discovery and travel. I didn’t volunteer to take
one of those on because I didn’t think the firm had the wherewithal to handle that.
I was respectful of the Cravath firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, and other New York
firms, and Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, Arnold & Porter, that took on those cases
with great commitments of first-rate personnel. There were cases in which I was
involved, pro bono cases, federal cases, in which we invested large amounts of
personnel, lawyer time. But those certainly I would clear. They required
commitments of major resources.
Mr. Schultz: Let’s talk about the D.C. Circuit. What’s the Special Committee on Gender Bias?
Mr. Pollak: In a period of time, about the early and mid-1990s, the D.C. Circuit created a
Task Force on Gender, Race, and Ethnic Bias. The task force was composed of
District Judge Joyce Hens Green, Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Wald, Chief
Judge John Penn, District Judge Ritchie, and District Judge Paul Friedman, and it
created a special committee on gender which was chaired by Professor Vicki
Jackson of Georgetown, Professor Susan Ross of Georgetown, and Susan Liss of
– 304 –
the Civil Rights Division. I was a member of that special committee, and I
headed up a committee on litigation process. I expended significant time working
on the reports of the committee, particularly with Vicki Jackson. It was a
distinguished group of people. For one reason or another, several judges on the
Court of Appeals were opposed to the activities of this Gender Bias Task Force,
and felt that it was intruding on Article III rights and responsibilities of the
judges. Ultimately, the product of the task force and committee was pretty much
laid on the table, not able to have much positive effect, except perhaps for lifting
awareness among the court and its personnel, including staff and judges. But for
one reason or another, it was upsetting to a majority of the members of the Court
of Appeals.
Mr. Schultz: What year was this?
Mr. Pollak: I have in front of me a draft final report of the Special Committee on Gender
dated January 1995.
Mr. Schultz: But it was never released?
Mr. Pollak: It was released. But all that happened was it was submitted to the Court.
Recommendations for a committee on implementation were not acted upon. They
ended up on the bookshelf. It was a good report and deserved a better, more
useful, outcome.
Mr. Schultz: What did it recommend, roughly?
Mr. Pollak: I would have to refresh myself on what it recommended. The court is not an
institution distinguished from the rest of society. Ethnic and gender bias exist and
– 305 –
have existed. The work of the Special Committee on Gender was both one of
finding the facts out with respect to biases and remedies that could be put in place
or have been accomplished. I’m sure the report would make significant reading
today, and there may well be recommendations that are still relevant.
Mr. Schultz: Had other circuits tried anything like this?
Mr. Pollak: My recollection is that they had, although this may have been the farthest reach of
it. I noticed that the litigation committee that I chaired, litigation process, was
composed of highly distinguished members of the Bar and the whole Special
Committee on Gender was made up of really great lawyers, great participants in
our Bar.
Mr. Schultz: What you have there, is that a report? It’s a very big document.
Mr. Pollak: It’s the report, right. It’s the draft final report. I mean this was a multi-year effort
taken on at the request of the Court of Appeals, so it was taken very seriously by
all of those who worked on it. My litigation process committee included
Michelle Ellison; Patricia Gern; Carolyn Lamm, now president of the ABA;
Susan Liss was a liaison; Dan Margolis, former name partner of a D.C. law firm;
and Roger Warin, now head of Steptoe & Johnson. It was a significant
committee. I respectfully say that the reports of the committee were sensitive to
the concerns that troubled the judges who opposed what we were doing. It was
unfortunate that the work was not fully utilized.
Mr. Schultz: Do you want to say anything more about it?
– 306 –
Mr. Pollak: I will recall one aspect. We interviewed – that is, the Committee interviewed
judges on the court about gender bias and published – that is, made notes of the
interviews, and those were put in memoranda form and reviewed by the judge. I
interviewed District Judge June Green. She was the second woman on the U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia, nominated by President Lyndon
Mr. Schultz: That’s right.
Mr. Pollak: When she was named to the Court, she reported in this interview that a number of
judges were hostile to her presence on the Court. And for a significant period, she
had no courtroom of her own. She had an office that was a long way from the
courtroom to which she was assigned. She recalled that she used to walk in the
interior corridor with her robe in her hand and would put on her robe in the hall
when she got to the courtroom.
So, we have had great advances with respect to gender bias. This report of
the Special Committee on Gender prepared by the D.C. Circuit Task Force on
Gender, Race, and Ethnic Bias, was published in the Georgetown Law Journal of
May 1996 with a forward by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who sent me a copy of
her forward in which she said, “To Stephen Pollak, applause and appreciation for
your service on the task force. Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” I have this 84 Georgetown
Law Journal 1651 (1996) which is Justice Ginsburg’s forward and by looking
there, one can find both her forward and then at least a significant publication of
the work of the Special Committee.
– 307 –
Mr. Schultz: Okay.
Mr. Pollak: I have a very valuable library of civil rights materials that I have collected during
my time at the bar, and many of them are probably out of publication and largely
unavailable. I’m wondering what to do with it. I don’t think that it should be lost.
Mr. Schultz: You probably should talk to the Georgetown Law School Library or something.
Mr. Pollak: Maybe I could ask Yale.
Mr. Schultz: The great thing is that they can probably put it all online.
This is a good stopping place.
Mr. Pollak: Okay.
– 308 –
Oral History of STEPHEN J. POLLAK
Thirteenth Interview-November 22, 2010
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 Stephen J. Pollak, and
the interviewer is William Schultz. The interview took place at the Goodwin Procter law firm at
901 New York Avenue, N.W., in the District of Columbia on November 22, 2010. This is the
thirteenth interview.
Mr. Schultz: We’re going to continue on talking about some of the committees and some of
your pro bono activities. The first one I want to ask you about is the Washington
Housing Association and Housing Development Corporation.
Mr. Pollak: When I came to Washington in 1956, at Covington & Burling, I met
Charles Horsky. My history to date reflects that my life and activities intertwined
with his over the years. I had come from Chicago where my family was involved
with housing and indeed had founded the Metropolitan Housing and Planning
Council. I had a tradition of being concerned with housing for the disadvantaged,
and Horsky was president of the Washington Housing Association. I volunteered
to be active with that group and joined its board and probably spent twelve or
more active years serving on the board and then becoming president, continuing
into the period in which I was in the federal government. It was originally
concerned with public housing and worked with Eleanor Roosevelt in supporting
public housing here in Washington, D.C. In the late 1950s and 1960s, the
Association, under my leadership, expanded its focus beyond housing to planning,
and changed its name to the Washington Planning and Housing Association. One
of my close colleagues in the work was Reuben Clark who became a partner in
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Wilmer Cutler & Pickering. Reuben and I led the Urban Renewal Committee and
favored urban renewal which had its opponents who often were concerned that it
was not urban renewal but urban removal of the disadvantaged and minorities. I
learned there was some truth in that. There were redevelopment plans for
Adams Morgan drawn to use urban renewal funding to tear down some of the
dilapidated buildings in that area and replace them with modern structures. We in
the Housing Association were supportive of those plans as we were supportive of
urban renewal. The chair of the National Capital Planning Commission,
Elizabeth Rowe, known as Libby Rowe, opposed the plans. She carried the day.
I concluded at the time or relatively soon thereafter that she had been right about
saving the Adams Morgan neighborhood and commercial areas. Later on, the
Planning and Housing Association spawned a nonprofit corporation headed by the
Reverend Channing Phillips, a black man. I served on its board along with
several capable, public spirited attorneys, Donald Brown, C. Everett Shorey, and
Bruce Terris. We worked to obtain federal money to renovate Clifton Terrace
which was a big slum property on 13th Street. We did other good things to try to
secure better housing for the disadvantaged.
Mr. Schultz: Was WPHA a private organization?
Mr. Pollak: Wholly private.
Mr. Schultz: How was it funded?
Mr. Pollak: It was funded by raising money from donors and foundations. We had a small
budget. The organization spawned the Housing Development Corporation, but it
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didn’t fund the Housing Development Corporation, which sought funding from
HUD for renovation of Clifton Terrace and other projects.
Mr. Schultz: Did it have a staff?
Mr. Pollak: The Planning and Housing Association had one in staff, Anna Miller. Anna was
expert in all manner of housing for the poor and disadvantaged and urban
renewal. I recall her as a power for good.
Mr. Schultz: So the principal mission was to work on housing for the poor and disadvantaged?
Mr. Pollak: Exactly. And for enlightened planning. And I think the organization had a great
tradition and accomplished significant actions for betterment of housing for the
poor and disadvantaged.
Mr. Schultz: Does it still exist?
Mr. Pollak: I’m not sure. I still have bulky files of projects and programs that we worked on.
Mr. Schultz: Were those who were active with the Association mostly members of the board?
Mr. Pollak: Yes, and committees. I gained a relatively wide acquaintance through my work
with the Washington Planning and Housing Association. One of the people I
worked with was Carl Moultrie, a black lawyer who became a Superior Court
judge and later chief judge. The building at 500 Indiana is named after Carl. He
was on our board. And another member of our board was George E.C. Hayes
who was head of the Public Utilities Commission in the District of Columbia. He
was one of the active lawyers on the briefs in Bolling v. Sharpe/Brown v. Board of
Education. I look at the activities with the Washington Housing Association as
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having launched me into a broader range of activities with nonprofit organizations
in the District of Columbia.
Mr. Schultz: Tell me about Charlie Horsky.
Mr. Pollak: Charlie was a brilliant lawyer at Covington & Burling. He was an excellent brief
writer. He had been in the Solicitor General’s Office. He wrote a book early in
his career called Washington Lawyer. He lived to be quite elderly. When I was at
Covington & Burling, the U.S. Reports were in the 400s. Charlie had argued a
case I remember that was in the 311th volume of those reports. I had written my
comment at Yale Law School on the Expatriation Act of 1964 which, among
other things, provided for taking citizenship away from persons who were
convicted of Smith Act seditious crimes, rendering them stateless. My comment
took that sanction on and considered its constitutionality. The conclusion of the
comment was that this provision of the statute was unconstitutional as a cruel and
unusual punishment. When I arrived at Covington & Burling, Charlie was
preparing a brief in behalf of a petitioner to the Supreme Court whose citizenship,
the United States contended, had been forfeited pursuant to provisions of the
Nationality Act of 1940 [Section 401(e) and (j)] when he voted in a Mexican
political election and remained outside the U.S. in wartime to avoid military
service. The case was Perez v. Brownell [356 U.S. 44 (1958)]. I threw in with
Charlie in briefing the case. While the Court denied relief in Charlie’s case, on
the same day it ruled in Trop v. Dulles [356 U.S. 86] that another provision of the
Nationality Act [Section 401(g) providing that a citizen shall lose his nationality
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by “deserting the military or naval forces of the United States in time of war,
provided he is convicted thereof by court martial and as a result of such
conviction is dismissed or dishonorably discharged from the service” was
unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment as a cruel and unusual punishment.
The Court said it believed, “as did Chief Judge Clark in the court below, that use
of denationalization as a punishment is barred by the Eighth Amendment,”
quoting the Judge’s dissenting opinion citing and relying on my comment:
“Plaintiff-appellant has cited to us and obviously relied on
the masterful analysis of expatriation legislation set forth in
the Comment, The Expatriation Act of 1954, 64 Yale
L. J. 1164, 1189-1199. I agree with the author’s
documented conclusions therein that punitive expatriation
of persons with no other nationality constitutes cruel and
unusual punishment and is invalid as such. Since I doubt if
I can add to the persuasive arguments there made, I shall
merely incorporate by reference. In my faith, the American
concept of man’s dignity does not comport with making
even those we would punish completely ‘stateless’ – fair
game for the despoiler at home and the oppressor abroad, if
indeed there is any place which will tolerate them at all.’”
[356 U.S. at 101 n.33 quoting 239 F.2d 527, 530 (2d Cir.
Heady stuff for a second-year lawyer.
I met Charlie in those ways and was active with Charlie, who preceded me in
the White House as the President’s Advisor on the National Capital Affairs. As
I’ve said earlier in this history, as chance would have it, I ran against Charlie for
president of the D.C. Bar. I considered him not only a friend, but really the best
that could come of Washington lawyers. He was an example of that. Charlie was
the founding force for the Council on Court Excellence. During his term in the
– 313 –
White House, he spawned the President’s Commission on Crime in the District of
Columbia which led to many major reforms in the criminal justice system here.
He was a major force in creation of the Federal City College, now the University
of the District of Columbia. He had a great sway for good in the District.
Mr. Schultz: That’s tremendous. And he died about 5-10 years ago?
Mr. Pollak: Yes.
Mr. Schultz: So now I want to ask you about some of the committees that you’re on for the
Judicial Conference. But first of all, what is the Judicial Conference?
Mr. Pollak: Under federal statutes, each circuit, of which there are twelve in the United States,
has a Judicial Conference of the judges of the courts of the circuit. The federal
statutes now mandate the conference of judges to meet every other year with
members of the bar who practice before the courts of the circuit. There is also a
Judicial Conference of the United States chaired by the Chief Justice that is
composed of selected judges of all the circuits, including the chief judges of the
federal district courts and the federal circuit courts. Our Circuit Judicial
Conference has a few committees, including a standing committee on pro bono
services. From time to time, the Conference establishes special committees such
as the committee I chaired in the early 1970s on the administration of justice
under emergency conditions.
Mr. Schultz: So there are three Judicial Conference committees you’ve served on and chaired.
Let’s just talk about each of them briefly. The first one is the Committee on the
– 314 –
Administration of Justice Under Emergency Conditions. Why don’t you just tell
me a little bit about that.
Mr. Pollak: In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were many mass protests in the District of
Columbia and at the Pentagon over the war in Vietnam. There were arrests of
thousands of people. There were difficulties that mass protests raised for those
charged with maintaining civil order. The arrests and charges came into the
federal courts, and challenges were raised by the defendants. The Judicial
Conference in 1971 resolved that the chair of the Conference, Chief Judge
David Bazelon, appoint a committee “to report on actions taken to implement the
findings and recommendations of the 1968 Committee on the Administration of
Justice Under Emergency Conditions.” In carrying out that resolution, Chief
Judge Bazelon in August 1971 announced the appointment of an 18-member
committee, of which I was the chair, a distinguished committee, to look into the
administration of justice under emergency conditions. We obtained a
Ford Foundation grant of $40,000, had a small staff, co-directors and an executive
director, and volunteer lawyers, young, capable, energetic lawyers, who worked
with us. The Committee included Patricia M. Wald, later member and then
Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit Court; H. Carl Moultrie, later Chief Judge of the
D.C. Superior Court; the dean of Georgetown Law School Adrian Fisher, later
professor at Georgetown Samuel Dash; Frederick Ballard, a leader in the
D.C. Bar; Gilbert Hahn, who became chair of the D.C. City Council;
Norm Lefstein, who was a leader of the public defender; Dan Mayers;
– 315 –
Herbert “Jack” Miller, who was head of the Criminal Division of the Kennedy
Department of Justice; Fred Vinson, who later headed the Criminal Division of
the Department of Justice. A great committee. The committee issued an
outstanding report, in my view, which was presented to the Judicial Conference in
the summer of 1973. Judge Charles Fahey was the liaison from the Court of
Appeals to the Committee. There grew to be a concern on the part of some of the
judges of the Court of Appeals that the pendency in the court of cases arising out
of the mass arrests might render consideration of the report and implementation of
its recommendations somehow at odds with the judges’ Article III responsibilities
to see to the trial and the correct outcome of appeals of these pending cases. In
the end, the Committee, even with the help of Judge Fahey and Judge McGowan,
was unable to work out a modus vivendi for its report of several hundred pages.
All I was permitted to do, and no more, was to rise at the Judicial Conference in
the summer of 1973 at the Homestead and offer to submit the report to the
Conference. The judge who had the gavel received the report for the Conference,
and that was the end of it. We were unable to work out any implementation
committee or any formal use of its recommendations which was unfortunate as I
think they were well-considered, insightful and useful recommendations.
Mr. Schultz: Do you know anything about the dynamics on the court?
Mr. Pollak: There were reports of tensions between then-Chief Judge Bazelon and Circuit
Judge Burger and of differences among some of the judges on the court seen by
some to align with Bazelon or with Burger. I don’t mean to say that those
– 316 –
differences were influenced one way or another by this report, but that the report
got caught up in some of those differences and tensions. There had been
differences over whether a committee should have been named in the first place.
Mr. Schultz: So Bazelon was just not able to get a majority or consensus on the court to adopt
the report?
Mr. Pollak: Getting a consensus would have found a way for the report to be received and for
a committee, perhaps of the judges, to implement or use the report in ways that
would not pose any threat to the Article III responsibilities of the court which
were primary. It was unable to be worked out even though Judge Fahey worked
hard at it and I know had the help of Judge McGowan.
Mr. Schultz: Did you get to know Judge Fahey during this process?
Mr. Pollak: I did. And we benefited from his counsel greatly.
Mr. Schultz: Tell me about Judge Fahey.
Mr. Pollak: Judge Fahey was one of the great judges of the Court of Appeals. He was in the
finest tradition of a United States jurist. He was wholly dedicated to the fair
administration of justice. He came to the Court with a marvelous background,
having been in the Solicitor General’s Office and Solicitor General. He had
argued many cases in the Supreme Court. He was brilliant. He drew outstanding
clerks. He was deeply committed to the Bill of Rights and its place in
constitutional decision making. He was particularly concerned with Fourth and
Fifth Amendment rights, as well as First Amendment rights. He was a very softspoken
man, but he also had a very short fuse. One of my partners,
– 317 –
Richard Sharp, had clerked for Judge Fahey. He said that every clerk was always
fired by the judge several times during the year but always re-hired with
tenderness and care the next day.
Mr. Schultz: The next committee is the Program Committee for the 50th Conference in 1989.
Mr. Pollak: In 1989, the Chief Judge was Pat Wald and she was a co-chair of the Conference
along with a district judge. I was asked to be the Chair of the Program
Committee, or at least the non-judge chair of the Program Committee. It fell to
me to work with the Court Executive, then Linda Ferren, to identify for the
Committee the subjects for the Conference program and then the participants for
each panel. I devoted a large amount of time to doing that, and we had a great
lineup of both subjects for the panels and participants in the panels. Working
through that assignment outfitted me for work on the programs the Historical
Society now presents in the Ceremonial Courtroom. One of those Ceremonial
Courtroom programs is like one of the panels presented at the Judicial
Conference. All I can remember about the substance of the program in 1989 was
that one of the panels was on ways to promote better protection of the
environment, and we had a leading professor at Harvard Law who favored capand-
trade. That part of the panel was probably well ahead of its time.
Mr. Schultz: I think we’re still before its time.
And then the third one is the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services
which was a long-time committee of the Judicial Conference I believe.
– 318 –
Mr. Pollak: Right. It’s a Standing Committee of the Conference. I think it’s the only
Standing Committee of the Conference. I chaired it for five or six years. It’s
populated by members of the bar. During my tenure, we had two significant
accomplishments. The first was that we updated a rule of the Judicial Conference
that calls on lawyers who are members of the Bar of the Federal Court in the
District of Columbia to devote a certain amount of time, and if not time, to
contribute money, representing or funding representation of the poor and the
disadvantaged in access to justice. So we reviewed that rule, considered that the
time amount was too low and the dollar amount was comparably low. We
proposed increasing those minimums, and the Judicial Conference adopted our
proposal, which at least up to now, remains in the Federal Rules governing the
practice of law in the federal courts of the District of Columbia. The second
activity that we promoted was the fostering of more pro bono services across the
length and the breadth of the bar which was a traditional purpose, but we turned
for the first time to facilitation of pro bono services by lawyers employed by the
federal government. There needed to be facilitation by the leadership of the
various federal departments and agencies because government lawyers were by
rule not permitted to use telephones or time to represent persons other than the
federal government. There needed to be accommodating regulations and changes
in those regulations. We promoted that and drew together a committee of federal
government generals counsel and comparable officials across a broad spectrum.
– 319 –
That effort is continuing to bear greater and greater fruit as more and more federal
lawyers contribute their time.
Mr. Schultz: And this is mostly to what kind of legal services?
Mr. Pollak: It’s primarily to represent disadvantaged persons in civil proceedings involving,
for example, child abuse or adoption or Social Security denials or landlord/tenant
problems, a range of issues that are faced by the poor and disadvantaged.
Mr. Schultz: That’s terrific.
Mr. Pollak: At every judicial conference, the committee makes a report to the conference. As
a matter of the history of pro bono services in the District of Columbia, those
reports are a good chronology.
Mr. Schultz: Was Charlie Horsky the head of this committee?
Mr. Pollak: I can’t recall who my predecessor was. I know my successor, Katherine Garrett,
was selected by me and proposed to the chief judge. She now is the director of
the D.C. Bar Foundation.
Mr. Schultz: All right. So a couple of others. I guess the next one is the D.C. Bar Foundation.
Let’s talk about that. That’s another 12-year project it looks like.
Mr. Pollak: It actually was a 6-year project. The D.C. Bar Foundation is a 501(c)(3)
organization in the District of Columbia. The purpose of the Foundation is to
raise money and select providers of legal services to the poor and disadvantaged
to receive funding from those monies. You say it was a 12-year project. It was
actually longer than six years because prior to being named to the Board − the
– 320 –
Board is named by the District of Columbia Bar Board of Directors − probably in
the early 2000s, I had served actively as a member of a Study Committee of the
D.C. Bar on the Bar Foundation. The Study Committee made a panoply of
recommendations aimed at bringing the Bar Foundation forward.
The Bar Foundation was created in about 1977. Its three-person Board for a long
period was composed of former D.C. Bar presidents, and it had a very limited
budget for staff. Its staff during that period was a fine attorney and contributor to
the public good, Zona Hostetler. By the time the Study Committee looked at it,
the scope and rules of the Foundation needed updating to meet the challenges of a
later era. The Study Committee presented recommendations to the Bar Board
which were adopted. The Foundation’s Board was expanded, its staff augmented.
It was put in a posture that enabled it to do its job better. Subsequently, I was
named to the Board, and I served as a Board member first with Andrew Marks as
president and Emily Spitzer as the Executive Director. When Emily left to work
on her brother’s campaign for governor of New York or for other reasons of her
own, she was well-regarded as Director, she was succeeded, in part due to my
support, by Katherine (Katia) Garrett. I had known Katia in several capacities, in
part as my successor as chair of the D.C. Circuit Judicial Conference Pro Bono
Committee. Then I served with Rob Weiner as president and succeeded Rob as
president. I served a year as president, vacating the office when I reached the sixyear
term limit. I spent a large amount of my time as a member of the Bar
– 321 –
Foundation Board as chair of a committee on IOLTA, “Interest on Lawyers’ Trust
Accounts,” a significant source of funding for the Bar Foundation. We worked on
bringing the IOLTA Rules governing members of the D.C. Bar up to the high
standards of some other jurisdictions that required banks to pay “comparable
rates” on IOLTA funds and made IOLTA mandatory for members of their bars.
Mr. Schultz: Tell us what IOLTA stands for.
Mr. Pollak: Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts. In this period in which interest rates are
virtually zero, IOLTA raises annually something under a half million dollars for
the Bar Foundation, but when interest rates are higher, it can raise $2 million or
more. It’s a great engine for funding. The Bar Foundation has a really significant
mission to support legal services for the poor and disadvantaged.
Mr. Schultz: What organizations does it give back money to?
Mr. Pollak: It funds about 26 nonprofit legal services organizations in the District of
Columbia. One of them is Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.
Another is the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban
Affairs. Women Empowered Against Violence – WEAVE – is another.
AYUDA. I say 26, and they depend heavily on funding from the Bar Foundation
as well as fundraising of their own. Another organization supported is the
Neighborhood Legal Services Program which is funded primarily by the Legal
Services Corporation of the United States. I considered service on the
Bar Foundation Board to be well worthwhile. I think my tenure as president was
productive, but challenged by the decline in IOLTA revenues which dropped in
– 322 –
one year from $2 million to under $1 million because of the decline in interest
rates associated with the current recession.
Mr. Schultz: Then there is the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit.
Mr. Pollak: I’m not going to spend a long time on that. The District of Columbia Circuit’s
Historical Society has a website,, and history is available there.
The Society was founded at the suggestion and support of Chief Judge Patricia M.
Wald, and the founding chair was now-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It was
founded in 1990 to support the writing of a book on the history of the District of
Columbia Circuit Courts, that is, the U.S. District Court for the District of
Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and their
predecessors. That book has now been written by Professor Jeffrey Brandon
Morris. It’s entitled, Calmly to Poise the Scales of Justice. The Society went on
from there to support and promote the taking of oral histories of judges and
lawyers; to put on programs on historic cases and personages in our courts; to run
a mock court for area high school students arguing before federal judges; to help
judges preserve their private papers; to put on exhibitions in the Courthouse as we
have done. It’s an active society, it now has a 36-person Board. I was recruited
in the early 1990s to be an oral history interviewer and began that way and have
served since then and am now the president. It’s a labor of love.
Mr. Schultz: So now we’re going to talk about Shea & Gardner, which has morphed into
Goodwin Procter. What year did you come to Shea & Gardner?
– 323 –
Mr. Pollak: I came to Shea & Gardner in March 1969, hired by Frank Shea on the
recommendation of Bill Dempsey, who was a year ahead of me at Yale Law
Mr. Schultz: How big was the firm then?
Mr. Pollak: It was 19 or 20 lawyers.
Mr. Schultz: I think you’ve already talked about how you got hired and why you chose Shea &
Gardner, but I’d like to ask you just some questions about law practice and how it
has changed. I guess before I do that, you were at one point the chair of the firm,
of the management committee of the firm. Is that right? Why don’t you first talk
a little bit about the firm and its philosophy, how it was managed, and your role as
chair of the management committee.
Mr. Pollak: Warner W. Gardner, who was a name partner and founded the firm with Francis
M. Shea, has written a book, a small book, on the firm entitled, Shea & Gardner
1947-1994 As Seen by Warner W. Gardner. Anyone who wants to know about
the firm should scout out Warner’s book, which perhaps would be available on
the web in this day and age. In any event, Shea & Gardner was reflective of its
three senior partners, Francis Shea, Warner Gardner, and Lawrence J. Latto, all of
whom were very capable, broadly experienced, and committed to the highest
standards of the practice of law and the highest standards of ethics. The firm,
taking the leadership of Francis Shea, reached out for the best young lawyers who
were coming down the pike. When I joined, there were five or six former
Supreme Court law clerks, or more, and probably everybody else, although not
– 324 –
me, had been an appellate law clerk. The firm was a litigation firm, mostly in the
federal courts around the United States and the District of Columbia. The firm
had a stable of clients who came in and never left. In the practice of
administrative law, Warner Gardner represented American President Lines and
was practicing before the Federal Maritime Commission, and that was the focus
rather than the federal courts. Of course, some APL matters landed in the federal
courts. The firm, as was more typical then, made, or had a policy of making,
every young person who made the grade a partner and then advancing the partners
by seniority up the pay scale. That was not particularly unusual in that day, but
those were policies to which the firm was deeply and unreservedly committed.
Mr. Schultz: When you say made the grade, you mean in terms of work ethic and legal ability,
not business development. Is that right?
Mr. Pollak: Right. Business development wasn’t taken into account. The most senior people
received the largest pay, but all the others could anticipate moving up the line as
they became more senior.
Mr. Schultz: They moved up with their class?
Mr. Pollak: Right. There were classes. A small number in each class, but there were classes.
Soon after I got to the firm, I was named to the Executive Committee, and I
served when Frank Shea was chair of the firm, was chair for a long period, and
then sort of like breaking with precedent, Larry Latto succeeded him, then
Bob Basseches, one of my more senior partners, succeeded Larry, and I
succeeded Bob. And then John Aldock succeeded me, and the firm, after a period
– 325 –
of time of John’s tenure, merged with Goodwin Procter, and John has been, since
the merger five years ago, the chair of Goodwin Procter’s Washington office. My
tenure as chair of the firm was significant in at least one respect, a committee to
review the compensation system was constituted.
Mr. Schultz: What year was this?
Mr. Pollak: In the period 1993-1996. The outcome of that was a modest move, not as much
as some favored, away from the straight seniority system for compensation and
partnership toward taking more elements of the practice of law into account,
including business generation, steepening the income rise among partners and
providing for capping some partners who ended up not generating business.
Mr. Schultz: Was that in line with the prevailing compensation systems in other firms, or were
you behind them, or ahead of them? It’s all obviously gone in this direction in
recent years.
Mr. Pollak: I think that we probably made those moves later than many other firms.
Mr. Schultz: At this point, Frank Shea had died? And Warner Gardner was senior?
Mr. Pollak: Frank had died. Warner Gardner was certainly senior and didn’t participate. The
major participants were the senior partners of the firm at that time. We were not
all of one mind, so it was contentious.
Mr. Schultz: Did it change the firm?
Mr. Pollak: It made changes that were significant to the partners, but the directions of
movement and the steps taken were limited, and I don’t think the emotional ties
within the firm suffered very much. It represented a change in direction that
– 326 –
ultimately led to changes in the firm and led some people to leave the firm, not
because they weren’t successful, but because they weren’t committed to being in
the firm any longer. I’ve always thought that for lawyers, much of the ego
gratification comes from gaining their own clients and having the pleasures of
somebody wanting the lawyer to be the client’s lawyer, and secondly, by the
amount of income awarded to the lawyer by his or her peers. So as judgments
were made by the law firm that some people, although partners, weren’t
performing sufficiently to move up the ladder and gain higher incomes, they felt
unappreciated or dissed by the firm. That reduced their commitment to the firm,
and some took themselves away because they wanted not to feel that they had not
quite made the grade. I spent endless amounts of time arguing or debating the
pros and cons of these changes with partners, and obviously we had to reach some
kind of consensus. I think that the consensus we reached was for many of the
partners, more so the younger ones, only a way station. We didn’t go far enough
in directions of a system reactive to generation of business that some wanted and
the movement continued after I was no longer chair. To some extent, that drove
an interest in the merger, and at the time the merger was considered, the older
partners, of whom I was one, senior partners, didn’t participate in the vote on the
merger. We thought – I thought – I think others thought, it was a decision for the
partners whose futures would be tied up in the merged firm. I never changed my
mind about that. The merger worked out well for the partners who wanted it, and
Goodwin Procter has been a good home for me.
– 327 –
Mr. Schultz: How does the firm differ now from when you first came and even 10 or 20 years
Mr. Pollak: When I first came, and during all the time up until the merger, I was the only
lateral partner other than Henry Ruth who joined for a few years and then
departed for Philadelphia. We incubated all of the partners from associates who
had come to the firm. That’s not the way the firms operate today. Practice groups
come in and go out. I don’t know that practice groups have gone out from
Goodwin, but practice groups have come in. At Shea & Gardner, everyone knew
all the partners because we’d lived with them for six, seven, eight years before
they became partners. We had only one office in Shea & Gardner, that was 1800
Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest, preceded by 734 15th Street, Northwest.
Mr. Schultz: How big was Shea & Gardner when it merged with Goodwin Procter?
Mr. Pollak: About 65 attorneys. There were reasons that commended themselves to the
younger partners that made the merger look good.
Mr. Schultz: Which were what?
Mr. Pollak: Stability and assurance of a flow of clients and the fact that major corporations
were wanting a full “bench” well experienced in the areas of representation,
whereas at Shea & Gardner, we were litigation generalists. So the practice was
changing in that respect.
Mr. Shultz: Do you think Shea & Gardner could have survived by itself?
Mr. Pollak: I think so, but in an economy of greater and greater incomes for lawyers, I don’t
know that Shea & Gardner would have provided the same income growth that
– 328 –
could be had inside a large firm. I believe the younger partners wondered just
exactly what the future would be if we didn’t merge.
Mr. Schultz: That’s a common story.
Mr. Pollak: I don’t think there was a lot of broken china due to the process. The process was
handled well. Those who really favored the merger, that is it was their decision,
feel they made the right decision. I don’t count myself in that group because I
didn’t participate in making that decision. I consider myself a generalist in the
practice of law. The considerations that were motivating the merger were not
factors that were motivating me were I making a decision whether to favor it. It’s
just a different group of considerations for me than for the younger people.
Mr. Schultz: I assume a lot really had to do with security.
Mr. Pollak: I think so.
Mr. Schultz: Let’s see. Anything more about the firm?
Mr. Pollak: One of the disappointments that I had over the years was that we never really
established a good base of minority lawyers. We had some very capable minority
lawyers including Steve Carter, who was here and whom I recruited with the
advice of Owen Fiss, a professor at Yale. But Steve’s wife was hired to work in
New York, and Steve Carter, after about eight months, left us to go to New York.
Of course, he then became an academic of superior accomplishment. Steve’s
father, Lisle Carter, had been a colleague of mine in the government, and we hired
Steve before I knew of his relation to Lisle.
– 329 –
Mr. Schultz: How has having women as colleagues affected the atmosphere of the firm, or has
it made any differences that come to mind?
Mr. Pollak: It made it better.
Mr. Schultz: How?
Mr. Pollak: If you’re going to deal with a range of clients and a range of decision makers,
having a diverse group of lawyers is a better way to face the public and the
decision makers. I don’t totally generalize, but women have different experiences
often in their lives. Bringing those points of view to the table makes for stronger
decisions. Men left to their own have a more narrow vision than do men and
women together.
Mr. Schultz: Do you think it has made this firm and other firms more flexible in terms of their
attitudes toward family and those kinds of things?
Mr. Pollak: Sometimes. It doesn’t necessarily run just from women to be more flexible.
Some women don’t favor flexibility; they express a view, “Well, I made it
without flexibility, others should.” But there will be women more than men that
will say, “Look, we need that flexibility.” I happen to feel that it’s vastly in the
interests of the law firm to have that flexibility, let women take several years off
and then come back. If they’re good, they’re good. Those are large subjects.
Mr. Schultz: Yes they are. Lots of factors. Let’s talk a little bit about practicing law. Do you
have any observations you’d like to make? Let’s start with building a practice.
Mr. Pollak: When I came to Covington & Burling in 1956, right out of law school, the people
at Covington & Burling – the partners who recruited me, and maybe it was
– 330 –
Gerry Gesell or Charlie Horsky or Eddie Burling, I can’t remember – but they
always said uniformly that it didn’t make any difference whether I ever got any
business, that the firm had plenty of business and that I could always count on
having good work to do. Early on, I took that as a calming influence since I
didn’t have any idea where I’d get any business. Over time, I came to realize that
I wanted business to come to me for three reasons. One, I wanted to control the
work that I was doing, and if I had business coming, I could pick among the
business, the roles, that were congenial to my likes and my talents. Second, I
wanted, to be psychological about it, I wanted the gratification of having people
want me to be their lawyer. After all, that was my profession, and it wasn’t really
enough to have some other lawyers want me to help with their work. Third, even
if it wasn’t going to make a difference in my income at Shea & Gardner, where
income was really based on seniority for a long period of time, it was going to
make a difference in the role that I would play in the firm because people who
were controlling business were given a role on the executive committee and had a
say in the firm, which was somewhat more than others. So there was good reason
to want to generate your own clients, and I have always thought in the end that
was one of the things that one wanted to do in a practice. So the real question for
Washington lawyers is, “how do you do that?”
Mr. Schultz: Right. That was my next question.
Mr. Pollak: One of the ways is to inherit clients from partners that the lawyer assists in the
firm, both because the people they assist get older and move on, which firms now
– 331 –
encourage, but secondly, sometimes the client becomes so pleased with the
assistant that the client starts funneling business to the assistant. Another way,
which is quite significant today, is to gain experience in a particular area where
you become known, environmental law or antitrust law or tax law, choosing
experiences along the way that will mark you as well-versed in the field. Joining
the bar, ABA, antitrust section, tax section, business section, whatever, and
gaining colleagues who may have a need for a lawyer outside their firm because
of a conflict and send you business or send you business because you’re located
where they’re not located. A third way that worked for me is to have lawyers you
worked with or against in litigation or civic activities retain you or, when
someone asks them to recommend a lawyer, recommended you. In my years as a
practicing lawyer, I think my clients all came from other lawyers recommending
Mr. Schultz: Many of them were lawyers that you met when you were in the government?
Mr. Pollak: Many of them were lawyers I met in the government or met in some other way.
Mr. Schultz: After the government?
Mr. Pollak: Right. But mostly in the government or from Yale Law School. I didn’t ever
inherit any work. I didn’t need it, I guess. I just did the next thing that came in
the door.
Mr. Schultz: How long did it take you after you came to Shea & Gardner to get to the point
where you had your own practice?
– 332 –
Mr. Pollak: Not very long. The first business that came my way was from a lawyer, David
Rubin, who had been the Deputy Chief of the Appeals and Research Section of
the Civil Rights Division, number two to Harold Greene, the same Harold Greene
who became a District Court Judge here. David was Deputy General Counsel of
the National Education Association, and he telephoned me in Fall 1969 or
possibly early 1970 and said that an arm of the NEA, the DuShane Fund, wanted
to be more active in relation to desegregation, particularly of faculties, and
discrimination in the public schools and the effort to rid the public schools of it,
and would I come and talk with this group. I went to Puerto Rico to meet them
and this began a decade of representing the NEA in Supreme Court desegregation
cases and teachers who were objects of discrimination and a whole panoply of
great cases to work on.
Mr. Schultz: That’s a great way to start a law practice.
Mr. Pollak: Yes. That was really marvelous. If I was to point to anything that may have
recommended me, it was that I worked hard at fact development, depositions,
documents, motions, and argument. People that opposed me or saw me thought
that was something that I could bring to a case. That may have gotten me other
representations. I want to attach to my oral history a list of points that I used for
years in preparing my witnesses for deposition.
Mr. Schultz: We’ll attach it, but why don’t you talk about that for a minute.
Mr. Pollak: Most of the trials that I had were really in depositions. When my witnesses, my
client’s witnesses, or those that were related to my client’s case, were going to be
– 333 –
deposed by the other side, I would talk to them about what they should have in
mind as they answered the questions, and then one of my partners, John Rich,
made a list of what I was telling them. I would work with that list and refine it.
For example, I talked to the witness about what knowledge is, whether you knew
something or whether somebody told you, or recall or listening carefully to the
question or answering with a few words and letting the next question be posed, or
not becoming angry or not trying to please me when testifying, just telling it like
it was. I can remember saying to witnesses, “I can always live with the truth,
whatever it is, just tell it and it will work out fine.” I worked with my documents
and got them in order so that I could take a deposition with a flow of documents
that got me the kind of evidence that the documents would warrant.
Mr. Schultz: Any other sort of advice in terms of preparing to take a deposition?
Mr. Pollak: My feeling about taking a deposition of an adverse witness is that you need to be
sure you’ve collected every document that’s related to the witness or that’s related
to what you want to talk to the witness about. I always presume that the witness
will be doing the witness’s best to favor the witness’s side of the case.
With witnesses who have a commitment to a client who opposes your client, you
must have documents to force the witness to face up to the facts that you are
trying to develop because without them, there will be too many places for the
witness to hide.
Mr. Schultz: What about trial preparation? Thoughts about that?
– 334 –
Mr. Pollak: Just the need to try to center on what are the major points that need to be made
and keep your eye on the ball and not get diffused trying to do more than you
need to do. Have a winning theory and winning witnesses.
Mr. Schultz: What about preparing for appellate argument?
Mr. Pollak: Well I’ve told in another place when I made my first argument in the Supreme
Court as an assistant to the Solicitor General. Archibald Cox, Solicitor General,
attended and gave me two pieces of advice after the argument. He said, “Always
open with a statement of the issue as you see it, and secondly, don’t discard the
argument you’ve prepared because of what your opponent has argued, give the
argument you’ve prepared.” So I generally tried to prepare by identifying what
the issue was and what I wanted to say about it. I always found that I prepared an
argument that was too long. I would make an outline and then sometimes give a
moot court alone, just to myself. Then I would give one to somebody, a
colleague —
Mr. Schultz: Just to one colleague?
Mr. Pollak: Yes, or a couple of colleagues. Maybe I’d do it more than one time. The most
successful arguments that I made were ones where my long outline got boiled
down to a page or two of key phrases that would tickle my mind as to what were
the main points I wanted to make and what were the subpoints within the main
ones. I always articulated to myself that I would never get to make it in a run the
way the outline was, but I tried to feed into my responses to the judges’ questions
– 335 –
the points of my outline. ALI-ABA had me come and lecture on appellate
argument. I liked arguing a lot. It was a real high to do it.
Mr. Schultz: How many times did you argue in the Supreme Court?
Mr. Pollak: Twelve times. I think I made good arguments. In private practice I’d argue my
own cases. Most of the time I won, but not always.
Mr. Schultz: That’s not always so easy in private practice.
Mr. Pollak: No. I always remembered the statement of J.W. Moore, Moore’s Federal Practice
and Moore on Bankruptcy, at Yale Law. He said, “If the facts that relate to the
issue aren’t winning facts, then redefine the issue and find more facts.”
Mr. Schultz: Judge William Bryant used to always say, “Don’t fight the facts.” That’s really
the opposite.
Mr. Pollak: In the Civil Rights Division, we built our cases on the facts. We worked hard to
find the facts that established our claim. We built the factual record that would
determine the outcome where the law was applied. That’s what we trained the
young lawyers to do. Our leader, John Doar, derided “gee whiz” cases – “Gee
whiz, your honor, our claim is right; we’re entitled to win.”
Judge Gesell, another mentor, felt the real determinant of cases was the facts,
and I’ve been a fact person. I’ve always thought I was good with the facts,
because I had a clear idea as to what they were.
Mr. Schultz: So looking back on it, do you think law was a good fit for you?
Mr. Pollak: I was terribly fortunate to become a lawyer because I knew no lawyers, had no
lawyers in my family. It was just fortuitous I became a lawyer. It was the right
– 336 –
profession for me. When I came out of the federal government, I was flattered
that Bill Gorham, who was then the president of the Urban Institute, wanted me to
come be his deputy, and John Gardner, who had been the Secretary of Health,
Education & Welfare, wanted me to come as his deputy. He was head of the
Urban Coalition, which became Common Cause. Gardner withdrew his offer, and
I then turned down Gorham. That was really the right decision. So law was the
right place.
Mr. Schultz: What advice would you give somebody coming out of law school? What career
advice would you give?
Mr. Pollak: If you want to be a litigator, get a clerkship and then get in a really good U.S.
Attorneys’ Office and learn the trial practice. Assistant United States Attorneys
learn to be at ease in the courtroom. That’s my perception. They learn the
moves, and if you’re in a big uptown practice, you don’t get into court enough to
learn that. The other thing I would advise is the advice that I got when I went to
law school. My dad was in the real estate business in Illinois. The company’s
lawyer was a man named Bernard Nath, one of the founding partners of the
Sonnenschein law firm in Chicago. Bernie, whose children I grew up with, was a
graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. He didn’t understand why I
would want to go to Yale. He said, “If you go to law school, graduate in the top
ten percent of your class.” So I went to Yale and I saw all these wizards who
were making theses fabulous records. I thought, “Darn Bernie, what do you mean
be in the top ten percent?” I did, and he was right. That opened a lot of doors. If
– 337 –
you’re in a lower percentage, you can have a great career, but getting started is
Mr. Schultz: Anything else you want to add?
Mr. Pollak: I don’t think so. Thank you, Bill. You’re a great interviewer.
Mr. Schultz: Thank you, Steve. I really enjoyed it.
Oral History of Stephen J. Pollak
ABA. See American Bar Association
Abernathy, Ralph, 168
Abrams, Creighton, 15, 103, 104
Abzug, Bella, 138
Acheson, David, 88
Acheson, Dean, 87, 88
ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), 86, 129
Adams, Ken, 274
Administrative Procedure Act of 1946, 114, 229
Advice and Referral Clinic (D.C. Bar), 296
Afghanistan war, 144
African Americans, 10
and fraternity restrictions, 33
as private practice attorneys, 298, 323
and segregated South, 48, 49–51
teacher qualification standardized tests, 202–6, 218–23
and urban riots, 112, 138, 144–45, 165
and voting rights, 124–34, 170
and Yale Law School, 63–64
See also civil rights; school desegregation
airlines antitrust case, 239–41
and Civil Rights Division, 139, 181
Coal Fund litigation, 215
coal moisture case, 225–26
poll tax challenge, 124, 128, 129, 131–32, 134, 135
Selma-Montgomery march (1965), 110, 124, 125, 144
Voting Rights Act implementation, 141
Alabama Guard, 144
Aldock, John, 324–25
American Bar Association, 37, 275, 292, 305, 335
House of Delegates, 302
American Civil Liberties Union, 86, 129
American Federation of Teachers, 206, 207
American Kennel Club, 3
American Law Institute, 335
American President Lines, 85, 324
Anderson, Ken, 245, 246
Annapolis Naval Academy, 59
anticommunism, 18, 36, 37, 66, 70
anti-poverty program. See poverty program
anti-Semitism, 10, 11–12, 14–15, 33, 34, 72
antitrust cases, 76–81, 88, 100, 208, 248
airlines, 239–41
AT&T, 112–13, 275, 280
electrical industry, 80–83
Pinney Dock, 244–47
polio vaccine, 77–80
UMWA Fund, 209–11, 212–13
vitamins litigation, 273–80
antiwar protests, 57–58, 168
mass arrests and arraignments 314–15
appellate argument, 97–98, 334–35
armed forces desegregation, 51
Armstrong, Mason, 3–4, 11, 16, 23
Armstrong, Paul, 219
Army Engineers Corps, U.S, 153
Arnold, Thurman, 290
Arnold & Porter, 274, 290
pro bono work, 296, 303
Arnold, Fortas & Porter, 71, 74
Arthur Young (accounting firm), 265
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. See Doar, John; Marshall, Burke; Pollak,
Stephen J.
Association of Maximum Service Telecasters, 75–76
AT&T antitrust case, 112–13, 275, 280
Attorney General, 96, 107, 109, 112, 161
Civil Rights Division access to, 137, 170, 174
and civil rights lawsuit justification memoranda, 169
and civil rights organizations, 181–82
and Criminal Division, 101–3, 251
John Doar Award, 143
and special prosecutor, 251–52
and University of Mississippi violence, 101, 102–6
and Voting Rights Act implementation, 140–42
See also Clark, Ramsey; Katzenbach, Nicholas; Kennedy, Robert
Austern, Thomas, 88
AYUDA, 321
Baker, Donald M., 120, 121, 122
Ballard, Frederick, 314
Bar Association of the District of Columbia (voluntary), 299–300
See also D.C. Bar
bar exam, 73–74
Bar Foundation. See D.C. Bar Foundation
Barnett, Ross, 103
Barnett, Wayne, 92, 95, 189
Barrett, St. John (“Slim”), 146
Basseches, Bob, 324
Bazelon, David, 67, 280, 314, 315–16
Beatty, Richard, 234
Bedford-Stuyvesant Corporation, 159, 247
Beers, David, 42–43
Behn, Noel, 23
Belford, Jane, 295
Bender, Paul, 99
Berman, Mike, 265
Bernhard, Berl, 34–35, 38, 41
Bernstein, Louis, 77
Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, 245, 246
Bicks, Robert, 80
Bill of Rights, 19, 316
Black, Elizabeth, 108
Black, Hugo, 108
Bloch, Alan, 211, 212
Bloomfield Steamship Company, 84
Bogg, Roderick (Rod), 284, 293
Boies Schiller, 274
Boone, Dick, 119–20
Boone, Richard, 108
Border Patrol, 104
Borie, U.S.S., 45–46, 49, 56, 59
Boskey, Bennett, 197
Bowman, Merle, 45
Boxer, U.S.S., 43
Branton, Wiley, 136, 137, 298–99
Bredhoff & Kaiser, 208, 307
Brennan, William, 165, 179, 185
Bricker Amendment, 37
British airlines, 239–41
British Airways, 241
British Caledonian, 241
Bromley, Bruce, 81
Brown, Donald, 309
Brown, Shelby, 10
Bryant, William, 335
Buck, Mr. and Mrs. (black educators), 219
Bureau of the Budget, 119, 149
Burger, Warren E., 315–16
Burling, Edward, Jr., 87, 330
Bush, George H. W., 163
Bush, George W., 163
Califano, Joseph, 147, 148, 153, 155, 158
disability rights enforcement, 231–34
Callagy, John, 207
Calmly to Poise the Scales of Justice (Brandon), 322
Camenisch, Walter, 235–36, 287–88
Camp Chikopi (Ontario, Canada), 19–20
Canadian Mounted Police, 169
Caplan, Lincoln, 100
Carr, Robert, 17
Carr, Waggoner, 132
Carter, Billy, 216, 254, 256, 257–62
Carter, Gloria, 260
Carter, Jimmy, 99, 163, 216, 231, 233, 246
and criminal charges against brother Billy, 256–62
and criminal charges against chief of staff, 249–52, 254–57
siblings of, 260, 261
Carter, Lisle, 123, 328
Carter, Rosalynn, 260, 261
Carter, Ruth, 260
Carter, Steve, 123, 328
Carter, Sybil, 257, 260
case presentation, 217–18
CCNY (City College of New York), 34
Chaikin, Sol, 230
Chanin, Robert, 206, 207–8
Channel 9 (TV station), 76
Charleston, South Carolina, 48, 49, 50–51, 52
Chicago, 1–3, 6, 21, 123, 336
housing, 6, 308
South Side, 2–3
Chicago Planning and Housing Council, 6
Choppin, Gerry, 179
Christopher, Warren, 174
Churchill, Winston, 36
church-state separation, 121, 122, 201
Citizens for Better Housing, 86
citizenship forfeiture, 66–67, 69–70, 311
Civiletti, Benjamin, 258
civil liberties, 86, 101–2
civil rights, 19, 88–89, 299
criminal interference with, 175–76, 187–88
disability cases, 231–37, 284, 286, 287–88
District of Columbia issues, 284, 287–88
enforcement based on federalism principles, 142, 143–44
interference by private party, 285–86, 287
Johnson policy development, 136–37, 138, 145
Pollak’s personal library of materials, 307
poll tax cases, 127–34, 135
private practice cases, 199–200, 231–39, 284–86
public accommodation statute, 291–92
public highway use, 284–85, 287
“Second Reconstruction” (1957–1968), 172
statutes enacted, 172, 186–88 (see also specific acts)
volunteer attorneys, 292
See also civil rights organizations; discrimination; equal employment cases; school
Civil Rights Act of 1866, 284–85
Civil Rights Act of 1957, 136
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 110, 111, 172, 242
and race riots, 112
Title VII equal employment, 111, 117
and Voting Rights bill, 125
Civil Rights Act of 1968
Title I, 187
Title VIII, 187
Civil Rights Commission, 136, 137
“Racial Isolation in the Public Schools,” 201
“The Voting Rights Act…The First Months,” 142
Civil Rights Division, 89, 96, 103, 104–5, 120, 128–58, 159, 164–90, 285
Appeals and Research Section, 109, 110, 146, 179, 227, 242, 332
Assistant Attorney General (see Doar, John; Marshall, Burke; Pollak, Stephen J.)
caliber of personnel, 146, 169–70, 178–81
and civil rights community, 135, 136, 137–38, 168, 180–82
and crisis events of 1968, 168–74
and defense of federal personnel, 104–5
Disability Rights Section, 236–37
fact-based case development, 335
FBI as investigative arm, 174–77, 184
focus on South, 139–44
Honors Program, 208–9
and King assassination, 172–74, 183
lawyers, 165–66, 178–79, 208–9
travel in South, 139–40
legislation development and implementation, 109–10, 112, 172–73, 186–88, 242
long working hours, 166–67
Nixon appointee, 190, 195
office location, 177
policy consolidation, 136–37
purposes served by, 186
voting rights cases, 127–34, 140–43, 217
women lawyers, 165–66, 179, 209
women paralegals, 157, 165, 179, 207
and women’s movement, 138–39, 181
civil rights organizations, 135, 136, 137–38, 168
Civil Rights Division independence from, 180–82
and EEOC guidelines, 222
Civil Service Commission, 141, 152
Claiborne, Louie, 188–89
Clark, Charles Edward, 312
Clark, George, 18
Clark, Georgia, 160, 173
Clark, Norman, 26
Clark, Ramsey, 138–39, 146–48, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 169, 298
and Fair Jury statute, 186–87
and FBI, 176
and Johnson human relations legislative program, 146–47, 232–33
and King assassination crisis, 169–70, 176, 182
Pollak working relationship with, 173–74
and University of Mississippi violence, 103, 105
Clark, Reuben, 308–9
Clark, Tom C., 67
Claytor, Graham, 80
Clifford, Clark, 83
Clinton, Bill, 91, 143, 163, 283
coal, 114–16, 209–15
moisture-content cases, 225–26
See also UMWA Health and Retirement Funds
Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act of 1992 (Coal Act), 214, 215
Coal Wage Agreement, 213, 214
cocaine, 251, 252
Coffin, William Sloane, 57
Cohen, Jerome, 64
Cohen Milstein, 274
Cohn, Roy, 251
Cold War, 36, 42
Coleman, Lovita, 282
collective bargaining, 225, 226
Columbus Municipal Separate School District (Miss.), 203, 204, 218, 219, 220–22
Come, Norton, 96
Committee on Administration of Justice Under Emergency Conditions, 313–15
report (1973), 315
Common Cause, 196, 336
communications practice, 75–76
communism. See anticommunism; Cold War
community action grants, 122, 123
confession coercion and exclusion, 86
Congress, U.S.
civil rights statutes, 111, 124–25, 187
and District of Columbia self-rule, 148–54, 162, 164
and domestic peace corps, 119
and Ferraro falsified documents charges, 263–64
Johnson relationship, 146–47, 150–51
See also House listings; Senate listings
Constitution, U.S., 101, 121, 122
Bill of Rights, 19, 316
and poll tax, 128
See also specific amendments
Cordiner, Ralph, 82, 83
Coughlin, Father, 15
Council on Court Excellence, 312–13
Countryman, Vern, 60–61
Court of Claims (later U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit), 94
Court of General Sessions, 109, 112, 242, 243
Covington & Burling, 51, 65, 71, 73–91, 92, 125, 147, 191–92, 197, 208, 250, 280, 308
culture of, 87–88
dominant lawyers, 88–89, 311
Expatriation Act litigation, 311–12
pro bono work, 280–81, 289, 290
size, 74
women lawyers, 89–90
Cox, Archibald
as Pollak mentor, 117
on prepared argument before Court, 97–98, 334
as Solicitor General, 92–99, 189
Cox, Hugh, 88
Cox, Oscar, 74
Cox, Langford, Stoddard & Cutler, 71, 74, 108, 250, 290
See also Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
Cravath, Swaine & Moore, 81, 303
Craven, Tam, 205
Cross, H. R., 107
Crowell & Moring, 245–46
cruel and unusual punishment, 66–67, 70, 311, 312
CSX, 245–46
Cutler, Lloyd, 74, 249–50, 258, 262, 290
Daley, Richard M., 123
Danziger, Martin, 210
Dartmouth, Outing Club, 37
Dartmouth College, 5, 13–14, 17, 25–41, 61, 68
alumni activities, 38–39, 40
change to coeducation, 38
fraternities, 13–14, 33, 34
“Great Issues” course, 46
Kennan commencement address, 42
Native American Visiting Committee, 39, 40
and Navy program, 17, 27, 32, 40, 41, 43–44, 68
notable graduates, 25–26
and political and social issues, 35–37
swim team, 26, 29, 37, 38, 40
theater, 26, 39
veterans enrollment, 36
Winter Carnival, 28–30, 41
Dash, Samuel, 314
Davenport, Marcia, How Green Was My Valley, 26
Davis, Chan and Natasha [Natalie], 37
Davis, Oscar, 94, 95, 189
D.C. Bar, 34, 73, 114, 289, 293–301, 314
Board of Governors, 297
dues limitation referendum, 300–301
IOLTA rules, 321
Judicial Nomination Commission, 297–99
presidency, 114, 293–94, 297, 299, 300–301, 312
Pro Bono Program, 294–97, 318
Study Committee on the Bar Foundation, 320
as unified bar, 293–94, 299–300
D.C. Bar Foundation, 319–22
IOLTA funds, 320–21
D.C. Circuit. See U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
D.C. Circuit Judicial Conference, 313–19, 320
Administration of Justice Under Emergency Conditions Committee, 314–16
Pro Bono Committee, 320
D.C. City Council, 152–53, 154, 158, 314
D.C. Court of Appeals. See District of Columbia Court of Appeals
D.C. Superior Court. See Superior Court of the District of Columbia
deaf people, 233, 234, 235–36, 287–88
Dean, Paul, 224
Defense Department, U.S., 116, 145
DeLoach, Cartha, 176
Democratic Party, 7, 49, 52
Ferraro candidacy for U.S. Vice President, 263, 265–66, 272
and improper fundraising charge, 197–98
Dempsey, Bill, 64, 117, 192, 323
denationalization, 66–67, 69–70, 311–12
Deneen, James, 204
deposition taking, 84–85, 217–18, 219, 221, 332–33
Depression (1930s), 15, 21, 28
Deputy Attorney General, 96, 109, 174
of armed forces, 51
federal enforcement of, 101, 102–6, 144, 181
of public accommodations, 291, 292
See also school desegregation
Determan, Sally, 294
Devine, Sam, 107
Dewey, Thomas, 78, 79
Dewey Ballantine, 78
Dickey, John, 35
Dickstein, Sid, 98
Dickstein & Shapiro, 98, 274
Dimock, Edward, 69
Dirksen, Everett, 124, 126, 127, 128, 169
disability rights, 231–37, 284, 286, 287–88
fraternities, 11, 33, 34
poll tax, 127–34, 135
standardized test to validate teachers, 202–6, 218–23
See also anti-Semitism; civil rights; gender discrimination; segregation
District of Columbia. See Washington, D.C.
District of Columbia Bar. See D.C. Bar
District of Columbia Circuit. See U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
District of Columbia Court of Appeals, 293, 297
creation of D.C. Bar, 299, 301
District of Columbia Superior Court. See Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Doar, John, 103, 117, 191, 196
award named for, 143
and Bedford-Stuyvesant Corporation, 159, 247
Civil Rights Division leadership, 120–21, 135, 136, 139–44, 146, 158, 159, 164, 165,
170, 171, 174, 175, 178–81, 208, 335
and Garment Workers, 227, 228
as House Judiciary Committee majority counsel, 247–48
integrity of, 248
and Pinney Dock collusion case, 244–45, 246, 247
private practice, 248
on “romance of the documents,” 217
and Voting Rights Act implementation, 140–43
Doar, Dvorkin & Rieck, 248
dock companies, 244–46
domestic peace corps. See VISTA
Donovan Leisure, 248
Doolittle, Bill, 92, 189
Doppelt, Gerald, 65
Dorris, Michael, 39
Douglas, Emily Taft, 6
Douglas, Paul, 6
Draper & Kramer (real estate firm), 1–2, 6, 21
drug cases, 113, 117
Due Process Clause, 128, 134
Dunbaugh, Frank, 179
DuShane Fund, 200–201, 332
Dvorkin, Mike, 248
dyslexia, 236–37
Eastland, James, 126
education. See school desegregation; teachers
Educational Testing Service, 203, 204, 205, 221, 222, 223, 237
Edwards, Harry T., 215
EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), 222
Eighth Amendment, 66–67, 70, 311, 312
Eisenhower, Dwight D., 52, 89, 146
electrical industry price-fixing cases, 80–83
Eli Lilly (drug company), 77, 78
Ellington, Buford, 182
Ellison, Michelle, 305
El Paso County, Colorado, 238
Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 223, 225, 226
equal employment, 117, 170–73
Civil Rights Act of 1964 provision, 111, 172
and labor unions, 191, 196
mediation, 238
and railroads, 199–200
and standardized testing of southern black teachers, 202–6, 218–23
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 222
Equal Protection Clause, 130–31, 134
Erdley, Carl, 96
ERISA (Employment Retirement Income Security Act), 223, 225, 226
Erlenborn, John, 151
Ervin, Sam, 126, 164–65
Ethridge, Sam, 201
ETS (Educational Testing Service), 203, 204, 205, 221, 222, 223, 237
Ewing, Saul, 216
Executive Office Building, 156–57, 162
Exmoor country club, 11
Expatriation Act of 1964, constitutionality challenge, 66–67, 69–70, 311–12
Fahey, Charles, 315–16
Fair Housing Act of 1968, 170, 172, 187, 188
Fair Juries Act. See Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968
Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 113, 228–29
faith-based program grants, 121–22
FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), 101, 169, 174–77, 184, 268
Federal City College, 155, 313
Federal Communications Commission, 76
federal conflict-of-interest laws, 281–82
Federal Election Commission, 263–64, 265, 268
federalism, 142, 143–44
and civil rights unrest, 101–6, 181, 182–83
supervening federal authority restraint, 144
Federal Maritime Commission, 324
Federal Rules (practice of law), 276, 279, 318
Federal Trade Commission cafeteria, 96, 189
federal witness protection, 102
Ferraro, Geraldine, 249, 262–71, 272
alleged falsifed congressional filing statement, 263–64, 268–70
candidacy for U.S. Vice President, 263, 265–68, 272
Ferren, Linda, 317
Ferris, Charlie, 124, 125, 126
F. Hoffmann LaRoche (drug company), 278
Fifteenth Amendment, 134
Fifth Amendment, 86, 101, 316
Filvaroff, David, 136
First Amendment, 316
Fisher, Adrian, 314
Fiss, Owen, 179, 328
Fitch, Mary, 90–91
Flannery, Thomas (Tom), 115, 209, 213, 226
Flexner, Don, 245–46
Flynn, Clyde, 126
FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), 229
Ford Foundation, 292, 314
Foreign Agents Registration, 258, 260
Foreman, Philip, 77, 79
Forester, C. S., Hornblower books, 16
Forrest, Herbert, 294
Fort Sheridan (Ill.) army base, 9
Fourteenth Amendment, 128, 285
Fourth Amendment, 101, 316
Frank, Jerome, 67
Frank Knox, U.S.S., 43
fraternities, 11, 13–14, 33, 34
Freedom of Information Act of 1966 (FOIA), 229
freedom of speech, 36
Freeland, Hal, 203
Freidberg, Stanton, 18
Frelinghuysen, Rodney, 151
Friedan, Betty, 138
Friedman, David (Dan), 94–95, 189
Friedman, Paul, 273, 274, 276, 298, 303
Frost, Robert, 35
Funds. See UMWA Health and Retirement Funds
Furness, Betty, 157
Gallagher, Monica, 209, 227
Ganey, Cullen, 81
Gardner, John, 191, 195, 196, 336
Gardner, Richard, 58
Gardner, Warner W., 85, 272, 323, 324, 325
legal background, 198
Shea & Gardner 1947–1994 As Seen by Warner W. Gardner, 323
Garland, Merrick, 282
Garment Workers. See International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union
Garrett, Katherine (Katia), 319, 320
Gateota, Bill, 234
gender discrimination, 138–39, 181
D.C. Circuit Special Committee on, 303–5
financial, 264
law firms, 90
gender roles, traditional, 5–6, 14, 16, 22, 23–25, 61–63, 184, 185
General Electric price-fixing case, 80–83
Georgetown Law School, 307, 314
Law Journal Special Committee on Gender Bias report (1996), 306
Germany. See Nazis Germany
Gern, Patricia, 305
Gesell, Gerhard (Gerry)
administrative ability, 116–17
and armed forces desegregation, 51
Covington & Burling, 74–75, 76–83, 84–85, 86, 88, 89, 191–92, 208, 239, 250, 271,
290, 330
daughter’s paralegal work, 157
on fact-determined cases, 335
personality of, 77, 81–82
as Pollak’s major mentor, 76–80, 89, 114, 117, 271, 335
self-confidence of, 88
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 114–17, 208, 223–24, 226, 248
Gesell, Patsy, 157
Gewin, Walter, 132
Gibson, Elizabeth, 91
Gilbert, Ben, 159
Gilroy, Frank, 25, 26
The Subject Was Roses, 25
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader, 306, 322
Glencoe, Illinois, 12, 29, 48
Glickstein, Howard, 179
Golden Triangle Airport (Miss.), 218
Goodlet brothers, 63–64
Goodman, Frank, 96, 189
Goodwin Procter, 322, 325–28
Gorelick, Jamie, 295
Gorham, Bill, 191, 195–97, 336
Grackle, U.S.S., 50, 51–52
Graduate Record Examination, 203, 204, 221
Graham, James L., 214, 226
Green, Joyce Hens, 115, 226, 303
Green, June, 115, 213, 226, 306
papers of, 242
Greenberg, Arlene, 41
Greenberg, Gary, 285
Greene, Evelyn, 242
Greene, Harold, 96, 108, 109–16, 117, 146
and airlines antitrust, 239–41
Civil Rights Division Appeals and Research Section, 109, 110, 179, 242, 332
and civil rights statutes, 109–13, 125, 242
personality of, 243–44
UMWA Fund cases, 226
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 112–16, 170, 239, 242–44, 275, 280
Judicial Nominations Commission, 297
Greenville, Mississippi, 220
Greenwood, Mississippi, 184
Griswold, Erwin, 161
habeas corpus cases, 280–81
Hackett, David, 106–7, 108
Hague Convention on Taking Foreign Evidence Abroad, 276
Hahn, Gilbert, 324
Halvorson, Thor, 282
Hamilton, Dagmar, 129–30
Hancock, James, 225–26
handicap regulations. See disability rights
Hannah, John A., 136
Harlan, John, 67
Harris, Stanley, 115, 226
Harry’s Raw Bar, 189–90
Hart, Jane, 138
Hart, Philip A., 126, 136, 138, 165
Harvard University, 37
Hastings, Alcee, 248
Hausfeld, Mike, 274
Hayes, George E.C., 310
Health, Education, and Welfare Department, U.S., 231
Hechinger, John, 152, 153
Height, Dorothy, 138
Heineman, Ben, 234
Heller, Jim, 86, 120
Helms, Jesse, 92
Hesburgh, Theodore, 136
Heyman, Michael (Mike), 41, 67–68
Heyman, Terry, 68
Heymann, Philip, 95–96, 189
Highland Park, Illinois, 2, 3–4, 7, 9–10, 26
Highland Park High School, 10, 11, 15, 23, 34
fiftieth reunion, 25
graduates’ careers, 25–26
1946 graduating class, 22
Highwood, Illinois, 9
Hiss, Alger, 36
Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit, 289
Calmly to Poise the Scales of Justice, 322
Ceremonial Courtroom programs, 317, 322
Oral History Project, 114, 322
presidency, 242
website, 322
Hitler, Adolf, 14
Hogan, Thomas, 274–75, 276, 277–79, 280
Hollander, Bernard, 77
Holloway, Admiral, 44
Holtzoff, Alexander, 84, 85
homework, needle trades, 113–14, 228–30
Honolulu County, Hawaii, 238
Hoover, J. Edgar, 175–76, 177–78
Horsky, Charles, 86, 89, 147, 289, 294, 308, 319, 330
background and career, 311–13
Washington Lawyer, 311
hostage negotiations, U.S.-Iran, 252
Hostetler, Zona, 320
“hot cargo” clause, 100, 115–16, 210, 213
Hotchkiss, Frank, 32
Hotchkiss, Gene, 4, 5, 14, 16, 42
adult career, 23
and Dartmouth, 31–32, 42
Hotchkiss, Jim, 4, 5, 14, 26, 42
adult career, 23
and Dartmouth, 31–32
naval service, 49–50
Hotchkiss, Nancy, 49–50
House District Committee, 150, 151, 153, 154, 164
House Education and Labor Committee, 119
House Ethics Committee, 268–70
House Government Operations Committee, 151
House Judiciary Committee, 247–48
housing, 6, 86, 155–56, 308–11
Fair Housing Act, 170, 172, 187, 188
landlord/tenant disputes, 243–44, 296–97
Housing and Urban Development Department, U.S., 148, 310
Housing Development Corporation, 309
Hubbard, Maceo, 179
Huge, Harry, 210, 224
Hughes, Richard, 78
Hughes Hubbard, 41, 65
Humphrey, Hubert, 136–37
Huston, Charlotte (later Reischer), 17, 18
IBM, 125
ILGWU. See International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union
Illinois, 71–72, 73, 123
See also Chicago; Glencoe; Highland Park
Illinois Bar, 73–74
Inchon (Korea), 56
independent counsel, 280–83, 288
See also special prosecutor
Institute for Policy Studies, 58
integration. See desegregation; school desegregation
Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts., 321–22
Interfraternity Council, 34
International Business and Trade Law Reporter, 240, 241
International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, 113–14, 227–31
Interstate Commerce Commission, 245, 246
IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts), 321–22
Iran, American hostages in, 253
Iraq war, 144, 163
Isaacs, Maxine, 266
Isbell, David, 65, 74, 75, 88
Italian-American names, 10
Jackson, Robert, 272
Jackson, Vicki, 303, 304
James, Fleming, 61
Japan, 55, 56
Japanese-American internment, 19
Jeness, Ernest, 75–76
Jews, 3, 8, 10–15
and Christmas tree, 13, 53
dialect jokes, 34
and discrimination, 33, 72
ethnic identification as, 54
plight in Europe, 11, 14–15, 56
and Washington law firms, 72–73, 75
See also anti-Semitism
Job Corps, 121, 159
John Doar Award, 143
Johnson, Frank M., 131–32, 181
Johnson, Jim, 266
Johnson, Lady Bird, 160, 161, 162
Johnson, Lyndon, 99, 103, 109, 111, 118, 173, 182, 194, 231, 242, 250
Advisor for National Capital Affairs, 112, 145, 147–59, 160–64, 231, 232, 242, 312–
Califano as Domestic Policy Chief, 147, 158, 232
civil rights legislation (1968), 187
civil rights policy development, 136–37, 138, 145
and District of Columbia government, 148–53, 156
human relations legislative program, 146–47, 232–33
personal force of, 162–63
and Vietnam War, 161
Voting Rights Act, 124, 128
women judicial nominees, 306
Johnson, Norma Holloway, 297
Johnson Library, 152, 195
Jones, Bob, 4, 5, 11, 14, 16, 23
Jones, Gerald, 129
Jones, John B., 97
Jordan, Hamilton, 216, 249, 250–57, 258, 262
Judicial Conference (judges of circuit courts), 313–19
Committee on Administration of Justice under Emergency Conditions, 313–15
Program Committee for the 50th Conference (1989), 317
Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, 313, 317–18
Judicial Conference of the United States, 187, 313
Judicial Nomination Commission, 297–99
Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968, 172, 186–87
Justice Department, U.S., 39, 92, 96, 121, 125, 238, 246, 271
Antitrust Division, 77, 80, 95
Appellate Section, Criminal Division, 96
Archives oral history, 193, 195
Assistant Attorney General, 41
and civil rights (see Civil Rights Division)
Criminal Division, 169, 251, 264, 279, 315
enforcement of court-ordered university integration, 103–4
and Nixon transition, 190, 194–95
Office of Legal Counsel, 41, 64, 103, 118
offices location, 177–78
outstanding attorneys, 80
Public Integrity Section, 267, 268
Tax Division, 97, 108
See also Attorney General; Solicitor General’s Office
juvenile delinquency, 106
Kaiser Steel, 213
Kampelman, Max, 152–53
Katzenbach, Nicholas (Nick), 103, 107, 109, 111, 121, 124–25, 127, 298
and Civil Rights Division, 136, 137
and Voting Rights Act implementation, 141–42
Kaufman, Irving, 187
Kay, Alan, 279–80
Kellwood Plant (Ky.), 228
Kelly Drye, 207
Kemeny, John, 38, 39
Kennan, George, 42, 59
Kennedy, Henry, 274
Kennedy, John F., 41, 94, 95, 99, 111, 116, 118
assassination of, 15, 118
and civil rights, 89, 137, 138, 292
and University of Mississippi violence, 104, 105, 106
Kennedy, Neil, 126
Kennedy, Robert
assassination of, 168
as Attorney General, 101–9, 291–92
resignation, 120, 121
Bedford-Stuyvesant Project, 159, 247
Kentucky, 209, 228, 239
Kessler, Fritz, 66
Keynes, John Galbraith, 28
Key West, Florida, 49
Kidd, U.S.S., 46
Kier, Malcolm, 28
King, Martin Luther, Jr.
unrest following assassination of, 112, 138, 145, 168–70, 182–84
Kirbo, Charles, 257, 261
Kirk, Alan G., 42
Kleindienst, Richard, 190, 194–95
Knowles, John, A Separate Peace, 106
Kohn (Alabama lawyer), 132
Kollar-Kotelly, Colleen, 215
Kominers, Odell, 84
Korean War, 17, 22, 26, 27, 30, 44, 45–53, 55–56, 59
veterans as college students, 36, 63, 64
Kramer, Ferdinand (Pollak uncle), 6, 21
Kramer, Frank, 210, 240
Krim, Arthur, 160
Kronick Moskovitz, 207
Krug, Julius, 223
Krug-Lewis Agreement (1946), 223
Labor Department, U.S., 209, 228, 229, 230, 231
labor law, 206–8
labor movement, 191, 196, 197, 223, 224
ILGWU case, 113–14, 227–31
La Crosse, Wisconsin, 9
Lake Erie, 244
Lake Forest College, 23
Laker Airlines, 239–42
Lake Superior, 244
Lamm, Carolyn, 305
landlord/tenant case, 243–44
Landlord/Tenant Court, 296
Landlord/Tenant Resource Center, 296–97
Landon, Alf, 7
Landsberg, Brian, 179, 207
Landsberg, Dorothy, 179, 207, 228, 245
Lanoff, Ian, 209
Lapham, Tony, 117, 265, 266, 270
Lardent, Esther, 295
Lattimore, Owen, 36
Latto, Lawrence J. (Larry), 117, 323, 324
Laurie, Buzz, 4, 11, 14, 16, 23
Law Aptitude Test
disability dispensation, 236–37, 323
law clerkship, 66, 67–68, 74, 75, 108, 179, 198, 201, 248, 250, 323–24, 336
Law Firm Pro Bono Clinic, 296
Law School Admissions Test, 60
African American, 298, 328
changes in practice, 271
and client generation, 329–32
and fact development, 217–18, 332, 335
notable, 117
and oppositional activities, 58
and roles tied to judgments, 83
and self-confidence, 88
sources of ego gratification, 326, 330
and unified Bar, 293, 299
See also women and the legal profession
League of Women Voters, 6, 8, 15
Lefstein, Norm, 314
Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, 321
Legal Services Corporation of the United States, 321
Lemon, Alton (Lemon test), 201
Leonard, Jerris, 190
Levinson, Larry, 155
Lewin, Nathan (Nat), 96, 169, 189
Lewinsky, Monica, 282, 283
Lewis, John L., 223
Library of Congress, 242
Libya, 257, 258, 259
Lichtman, Judy, 298
Lindenbaum, Sol, 105–6
Liss, Susan, 303–4, 305
Lord, Thorne, 78
Louisiana, 139
Lowenstein, Allard K., 33
Lowery, Joseph, 168
LSAT (Law School Admissions Test), 60
Lufthansa, 241
Lykes Steamship Line, 84
Lynch, Tim, 277
Lyons, Ellis, 197
MacArthur, Douglas, 56
MacKinnon, George, 281
Macy, John, 141, 152
Maher, Alan, 179
Mahin, Amy Ruth, 90
Manitos, Mike, 150
Mann, Matt, 19–20
Manning, Winton, 204, 205
Mansfield, Mike, 124–25, 126, 127, 128, 136
Mansfield-Dirksen compromise. See Voting Rights Act of 1965
Mansmann, Carol Los, 211
Margolis, Dan, 305
Maritime Board, 84
Marks, Andrew, 320
Marks, Ray, 13
Marshall, Burke
brilliance of, 89, 109
Civil Rights Division leadership, 89, 103, 104, 108, 117, 120, 121, 143–44, 171–72,
and voting rights bill draft, 125
Marshall, Thurgood, 99
coal fund litigation, 215
federal habeas availability, 281
Matthews, Wilson, 141
Maugham, W. Somerset, Of Human Bondage, 16
Mayer Brown, 274
Mayers, Dan, 314–15
Mazur, Jay, 230
Mazzaferri, Katherine, 295
McCarthy, Joseph/McCarthyism, 18, 35, 36, 37, 251
McClellan, John, 126
McDougal, Myers, 66, 69
McGowan, Carl E., 315
McKay, James, 280–82, 288
McMillan, John, 150–51
McNamara, Margie, 160
McNamara, Robert, 160, 161
McPherson, Harry, 147, 148
Meese, Edwin, III, 281, 282, 288
Melamed, Douglas, 213
Memphis, Tennessee
King assassination, 182–84
Mental Health Law Project, 235, 287–88
Merck, Sharp and Dohme (drug company), 77
Meredith, James, 101, 103, 106, 144, 186, 220
Metropolitan Housing and Planning Council, 308
racial makeup of schools, 202
Mikva, Abner, 115, 213
Miller, Anna, 310
Miller, Herbert J. (Jack), 102, 315
Milton Academy, 107
Mine Funds. See UMWA Health and Retirement Funds
minimum wage/maximum hours, 113, 228
black voter registration statistics, 142
and Civil Rights Division, 139, 176, 178, 184, 186
and local FBI, 176
poll tax challenge, 128, 129
private civil rights interference, 287
school desegregation resistance, 186, 203–4, 205, 218–23
slaying of civil rights workers (1964), 158, 159, 164
university integration violence, 101, 102–6
Mississippi Guard, 106
Mitchell, Clarence, 135
Mobe (mass antiwar effort), 58
Moe, Dick, 265
Mondale, Walter, 263, 265, 266, 268
Montgomery, Bruce, 274
Montgomery, John M., 45
Moore, James W., 217, 335
Moore, Jenny, 57
Moore, Paul, 57
Moore, Ralph, 201, 210
Moore, Roy, 176
Moore on Bankruptcy, 217, 335
Moore’ s Federal Practice, 217, 335
Morris, Jeffrey Brandon, Calmly to Poise the Scales of Justice, 322
Mosteller, Bob, 91
Moultrie, H. Carl, 310, 314
mud lumps ownership, 95, 99–100
NAACP, 135
Nagasaki atomic devastation, 55–56
Nath, Bernard, 9, 17, 336
Nath, Marjorie, 9
Nath, Ruth, 9
National Association of the Deaf Legal Defense Fund, 235
National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1974, 209
National Capital Planning Commission, 309
National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, 250
National Education Association, 200–208, 218–23, 227
DuShane Fund, 200–201, 332
New York State Union of Teachers, 206–7
teacher standardized test validation case, 186, 202–6, 218–23
National Housing Administration, 21
Nationality Act of 1940 (Smith Act), 66, 69–70, 311
National Labor Relations Act of 1935, “hot cargo” clause, 100, 115–16, 210
National Labor Relations Board, 96
National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, 114, 289, 292, 302, 303
National League of Women Voters, 6, 8
National Railway Labor Conference, 198
National Recovery Act of 1933, 28
National Service Program, 119–20
National Student Association, 17, 32–34, 36, 37
National Teachers Examination, 203, 204, 221
National Trust for Historic Preservation, 265
National Women’s Law Center, 298
Native Americans, 39, 40
Navy, U.S., 16, 17, 20, 30, 42–53, 54, 58–60
career potential, 42
college program (Holloway Plan), 27, 32, 40, 41, 43–44, 68
Mine Warfare School, 50
partial desegregation, 51
Nazis Germany
persecution of Jews, 11, 14–15, 56
NEA. See National Education Association
Neighborhood Legal Services Program, 321
New Deal monetary policy, 28
New Jersey Supreme Court, 78
Newman, Jon O., 41, 65, 66, 67, 68
New York Court of Appeals, 81
New York State Union of Teachers, 206–7
New York Third Avenue Elevated bonds, 67, 69
Nixon, Richard, 190, 194
impeachment proceedings, 248
Nofziger, Lyn, 281–82, 288
Nolan, John, 67, 265, 284, 291
Norfolk, Virginia, 48, 49
Norman, David L., 129, 146, 178–79
North Carolina teacher validation case, 204–5, 206
Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, 6
Northern New England National Student Association, 33
Northmoor country club (Ravinia, Ill.), 8, 11
North Shore Congregation Israel (Glencoe, Ill.), 12
Northwest Airlines, 200
NTE (National Teachers Examination), 203, 204, 221
Nuremburg trials, 272
Oberdorfer, Louis, 74, 103, 109, 113, 114, 230, 231, 250, 290, 292
O’Brien, John Lord, 87
O’Brien, Larry, 150
Office of Economic Opportunity, 120, 121–23
Office of Foreign Agent Registration, 258, 260
Office of Legal Counsel, 41, 64, 103, 118
Ohio Valley Coal Company, 214
Oppenheimer, Ann, 119
Oral History Project, 114, 322
Oregon City, U.S.S., 43
Orrick, Bill, 109
Orshansky, Mollie, 131, 132
overtime pay, 113, 229
Owen, D. Robert, 146, 178
Owen, Roberts, 82
Pan American World Airways, 230
Parke Davis (drug company), 77, 78, 79–80
Partridge, Tony, 120
Paxton, Robert, 82–83
Peace Corps, 89
Pearl Harbor attack (1941), 15
Penn, John, 303
Pennsylvania Development Commission, 155
Pentagon antiwar demonstrations, 314
Pepper Hamilton, 245
Pershan, Richard, 65
Peterson, Jan, 219
Phillips, Channing, 86, 309
Pickering, John, 294, 299–300
Piel, Bill, 78
Pinney Dock case, 244–47
Pitofsky, Bob, 78
Pittman-Moore (drug company), 77, 78
police behavior, 101
polio vaccine price-fixing case, 77–80
influence of, 21
lineup of lawyers, 78
Polito & Smock, 214
Pollak, David (son), 39
Pollak, Eve (daughter), 184
Pollak, Laura Kramer (mother), 1–2, 3, 4, 13, 14, 18, 71
and Christmas, 53
college education, 1, 5, 25
and family skiing, 8–9, 31
Jewish religious practice, 12
marriage, 5, 25
parents of, 2, 3, 21
personal traits, 9–10
public affairs interest, 7–8, 14–15, 21, 24, 308
strong personality, 21
and traditional wife/mother role, 6, 22, 24–25
and volunteer work, 6, 8, 15, 21–22
work ethic, 21
and World War II, 14–15
Pollak, Linda Jan (daughter), 61, 71, 73, 184–85
Pollak, Louise (sister), 3, 8, 12–13, 29
marriage and adult religious practice, 13
Pollak, Maurice August (father), 1, 3, 4, 7, 13, 14, 71
and Christmas, 53
and college basketball, 11
and family skiing, 8–9, 31
and golf, 8, 12
influence of, 21
and Jewish identity, 11–12, 34, 53
marriage, 5, 25
naval service, 16, 32, 59
parents of, 2
and public affairs, 15, 308
real estate business, 1–2, 6, 21, 71, 72, 336
and son’s professional achievements, 134–35, 185
and University of Chicago, 1, 11, 13
and volunteer work, 8
work ethic, 21
and World War II, 14–16, 20
Pollak, Roger (son), 184, 252
Dartmouth College, 39–40
and father’s civil rights litigation, 185–86, 220
as labor lawyer, 208
Pollak, Ruth Scheinfeld (wife), 4, 17–18, 23, 32, 67, 154, 160, 260
births of children, 60–62
courtship of, 28–30, 41, 47
honeymoon in France and Italy, 60
and husband’s civil rights work, 183–84, 185
Illinois family ties, 71, 72
marriage, 22, 24, 30
and naval housing, 48–50
religious Jewish background, 13, 53–54
Sarah Lawrence College, 22, 28, 30
and traditional wife/mother role, 14, 16, 22, 24–25, 63, 184, 185
vacation in Aspen and Mexico, 191, 196
Pollak, Stephen J. — Personal
athletic interests, 8, 14, 19–20, 29
and bar exam, 73–74
boyhood, 1–16
books enjoyed, 16
civics interest, 8, 15
lasting friendships, 3–5, 9, 24–26, 68
“prof” nickname, 16
career goals, 16–17
children, 4, 60–62, 63, 71, 73, 208, 220
exposure to civil rights work, 184–86
sons at Dartmouth, 39–40
and Christmas, 13, 53, 54
competitive swimming, 14, 19–20, 26, 29, 37, 38
courtship and marriage, 28–30
Dartmouth College, 5, 17, 25–41
academic courses, 27–28, 61
alumni activity, 39, 40
assessment of experience, 30–31
economics major, 27
fiftieth reunion (2000), 25–26
influences, 35
Navy program, 17, 27, 32, 41, 44
Phi Beta Kappa, 31
political and social issues, 32, 34–37
reasons for choosing, 13–14, 31–32
social life, 37–38
thesis topic, 28
tuition coverage, 31, 32
and diversity, 10, 11, 12, 63–65
expectations, 24
father (see Pollak, Maurice August)
and fraternities, 13–14
boyhood, 3–5, 11, 14, 16
college, 26, 31–32, 34, 38, 40, 68
legal profession, 67, 242
Yale Law School, 26, 40–41, 60, 63, 64–65, 74
girlfriends, 9, 17, 28–29, 37–38, 41
government service interest, 16–17
grandparents, 2, 3, 6, 21, 22
Highland Park hometown, 2, 3–4, 9–12, 26
high school, 9–10, 11, 22
fiftieth reunion, 25
Illinois family ties, 71
Jewish identity, 3, 8, 10–13, 53, 54, 72, 75
Korean War service, 17, 22, 30, 45–53, 59
legal career choice, 17, 335–36
marriage, 22, 23, 30, 41, 48 (see also Pollak, Ruth Scheinfeld)
on military intervention, 56–57
mother (see Pollak, Laura Kramer)
National Student Association experience, 17, 32–34, 36, 37
and Navy, 31, 42, 44–60
active duty (1950–1953), 44–53, 58–60
assessment of, 54–56, 58–60
college program (Holloway plan), 17, 27, 32, 41, 44
commission, 45
minesweeper assignment, 50, 51–52
summer sea duty, 43–44
political liberalism, 37
public administration school plans, 16–17, 18
public schools, 5, 7, 9–10, 11, 15–16
public service interest, 16–17, 18, 22, 40, 262, 272
Rappahannock County (Va.) retreat, 185
sister (see Pollak Louise)
and skiing, 8–9, 31, 37, 160, 191, 196, 252–53
and social issues, 33–35
and traditional gender roles, 5–6, 22, 23–25, 61–63
vacation in Aspen and Mexico, 191, 196
and Washington, D.C., move, 72–73
and World War II, 18–20
Yale Law School, 17, 60–68, 69–71
alumni interests and activity, 40
classmates, 40–41, 63–65, 66–68, 74, 192, 323
comment topic, 66–67, 69–70, 311
and determinant professional relationships, 26, 41, 271, 336–37
exams, 60–61
and “grind syndrome,” 40, 61, 62
impetus for applying to, 18, 32
law clerk application, 67–68
and Law Journal, 40, 41, 62, 65, 69–71
LSAT score, 60
note topic, 67, 69
professors, 65–66, 107, 217, 328, 335
and top ten percent of class, 336–37
Washington, D.C., law firm interviews, 71–72, 74–75, 250, 290
Pollak, Stephen J. — Professional
advice to new law school graduate, 336–37
and appellate argument, 334–35
D.C. Bar Foundation, 319–22
D.C. Bar presidency, 114, 293–94, 297, 299, 300–301, 302
D.C. Circuit Oral History Project, 114, 322
D.C. Circuit Special Committee on Gender Bias, 304–6
and deposition taking, 84–85, 217–18, 219, 221, 332–33
and fact development in case preparation, 217–18, 221, 332, 335
and family life sacrifices, 185
Historical Society of the D.C. Circuit, 114, 242, 289, 317, 322
and judges, 109–17, 274–80
Judicial Conference committees, 313–15
Judicial Nomination Commission, 297–98
law clerk application, 67–68
on legal career, 335–38
major mentors, 76–80, 84, 85, 89, 114, 117, 271, 335
personal library of civil rights material, 307
and priority setting, 167–68
professional associations, 114, 289, 290, 291–322
public service interest, 262, 283, 289–302
Supreme Court appearances, 88, 97–99, 135, 288, 335
and trial preparation, 333–35
Pollak, Stephen J. — Professional — Federal Government
Archives oral history, 193, 195
Civil Rights Division (1965–1969), 39, 109, 120, 121, 125–58, 242, 335
as Assistant Attorney General (1968–1969), 109, 116, 131, 138–39, 154, 158,
159, 161, 164–90, 250
and crises of first half of 1968, 112, 168–72, 182–84
Johnson’s announcement of appointment, 194
legislation development and implementation, 172, 186–88
and Memphis march after King assassination, 182–84
and personal handling of cases, 171
swearing in ceremony, 169, 185
Washington Planning and Housing Association, 86, 155–56, 290
colleagues, 178–81
and family life, 183–86
first stint (1965–1967), 145–47, 208–9
and Johnson’s human relations legislative program, 146–47
and Nixon Administration resignation request, 190–91, 195
and poll tax cases, 128–34
and Voting Rights Act, 109, 125–34
work demands of, 166–67, 169–70, 184–85
contacts for later private practice, 331–32
departure from (1969), 190–91, 195, 336
and Office of Economic Opportunity, 120, 121–23
and priority setting, 167
and public service, 289
and significant legal relationships, 227
Solicitor General’s Office (1961–1964), 86, 89, 92, 97–123
activities, 92–93
appellate work, 97–102, 334
colleagues, 188–90
mud lumps ownership issue, 95, 99–100
University of Mississippi integration violence, 102–6
Task Force on National Service Program, 101–8, 118–19, 147
unwelcome transition out of, 193, 195, 302
White House Advisor for National Capital Affairs (1967), 112, 145, 147–59, 160–
64, 174, 242
and Califano, 231, 232
personal contacts with President Johnson, 160–64, 194
Pollak, Stephen J. — Professional — Private Practice
belief in clients’ positions, 198
chair position, 325
civil rights cases, 199–200, 231–39
Covington & Burling (1956–1961), 73–91, 197, 250, 290, 308, 311
antitrust price-fixing cases, 77–84, 208, 239
communications case, 75–76
pro bono work, 84, 86–87, 280–81, 289, 290
salary, 87
source of business, 329–30
Goodwin Procter (2004–), 322, 325–28
Shea & Gardner (1969–2004), 91, 192, 197–287, 322–32
antitrust cases, 239–41, 244–47, 273–80
Billy Carter representation, 216, 256, 257–62
choice of firm, 290–91
disability rights, 231–37
Executive Committee, 324
Ferraro defense, 249, 262–71, 272
ILGWU homework case, 114, 227–31
Jordan representation, 216, 249–57, 262
Lewinsky case, 282, 283
McKay independent counsel assistant, 281–83, 288
NEA cases, 201–8, 218–23, 227, 332
outside activities, 291–92, 301–2
pro bono work, 235, 284–86, 291, 294–303
reduced fees, 266, 271
sources of clients, 331–32
UMWA Funds, 100, 112, 114–16, 208–16, 223–26, 227, 239, 242, 288
as Vitamins Antitrust Litigation special master, 273–80
Pollak, David (son), 74
poll tax cases, 127–34, 135
and poverty line, 130–31
Poor People’s Campaign, 168
poverty program, 118–23
grants to religious groups, 121, 122
six titles, 121–22
Powell, Jody, 249, 250–52, 253, 254
Presidency, U.S.
Special Assistant position, 163–64
See also White House Advisor on National Capital Affairs
presidential election of 1952, 50
presidential election of 1960, 89
presidential election of 1968, 190, 194
presidential election of 1984, 263, 265–68, 272
President’s Assistant for Consumer Affairs, 157
President’s Commission on Crime in the District of Columbia, 313
price-fixing cases, 77–81, 273–79
private vs. public conduct, 285
Pro Bono Institute, 295
pro bono work, 85, 86–87, 235, 284–86, 292–303
D.C. Bar, 294–97, 318
Judicial Conference Standing Committee, 313, 317–18
law firms, 280–81, 289, 290, 296, 303
in Washington, D.C., 86, 218–19
public accommodations law, 291, 292
public housing, 86, 155–56, 308
Public Service Activities Committee, 294–95
Public Service Review Committee (D.C. Bar), 295
Quaintance, Chad, 179
racial slurs, 51–52
employment discrimination, 199
rate-setting collusion, 244–46
Rankin, Battle, 179
Rappahannock County, Virginia, 185
Raskin, Marcus, 58
Rauh, Joe, 86, 135
Ravinia, Illinois, 8, 11
Ravinia School, 7, 10, 11
Ray, James Earl, 169, 176
Rayborn, George, 178
Reagan, Ronald, 163, 263
Administration criminal allegations, 281–82, 288
and deregulation, 113–14, 228
Reed, Stanley, 67
Reeves, Carolyn, 218–19
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, 231–36, 288
Reischer, Otto, 17, 18
Reitz Coal, 213
Reno, Janet, 96
Reports of the Opinion of the Attorney General, 100
Republican Party, 7, 107, 151, 169
and Voting Rights Act, 127
Rich, John, 199, 240, 270, 333
Ritchie, Samuel, 303
Roberts, John, 239
Robinson, Aubrey, 297, 298
Rogers, Judith, 215
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 289, 308
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 7, 19, 20, 28, 223
Rosen, Al, 178
Rosenberg, Beatrice, 96
Rosenberg, Joan, 191
Rosenberg, John, 179, 191
Ross, Alexander, 129
Ross, Susan, 303
Rostow, Eugene, 65
Rowe, Elizabeth (Libby), 309
Rubell, Steve, 251
Rubin, David, 179, 200, 201–2, 227, 332
Russell, Richard, 205
Russia, 36, 42
Ruth, Henry, 216, 250–51, 252, 258, 259, 327
St. Louis Terminal Railroad, 199–200
St. Paul, U.S.S., 46
Salzman, Chuck, 13
Salzman, Susan, 13
Sanders, Barefoot, 147–48, 150, 160, 161
Sanders, Jan, 160
San Francisco Bar, 295
San Jacinto State College, 287–88
Sarah Lawrence College, 22, 28
educational philosophy, 30
Scheinfeld, Ruth. See Pollak, Ruth Scheinfeld
Schiller, Jonathan, 274
Schlei, Norbert, 41, 60, 64–65, 68
as Harlan law clerk, 67
Office of Legal Counsel, 103, 118
Yale Law Journal editorship, 70
school desegregation, 181, 332
“freedom of choice” plans, 171
Mississippi court challenges, 220
racial makeup of schools, 202
standardized testing of teachers, 201–8, 218–23
University of Mississippi violence, 101, 102–6, 144, 186, 220
Schultz, Bill, 252
Schwartz, Murray, 118
Schwelb, Frank, 179
SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), 168
Segal, Bernard, 292
segregation, 48, 49–51, 130
black teachers’ qualifications, 219
and court-ordered integration, 203
de facto, 202
Seidman, Harold, 149
Sellers, Joe, 274, 295
Selma-Montgomery march (1965), 110, 124, 125, 144
Senate, U.S., 136
and Voting Rights bill, 109, 124–25, 126–28
Senate District Committee, 154
Senate Judiciary Committee, 126–27, 164–65
Billy Carter testimony, 259, 260
Shanker, Albert, 206, 207
Shapiro, David, 98
Shapiro, Len, 78, 79
Sharp, Richard, 201, 221–22, 284–85, 317
Shea, Frank (Francis M.), 90, 91, 192, 197, 198, 302, 323
as chair of firm, 324
death of, 325
legal background, 198, 271–72
Shea & Gardner, 85, 197–287, 322–29, 330
changes in direction, 325–26, 327
compensation system, 192, 301–2
changes, 325–26, 327
seniority-based pay scale, 324–25, 326
fees, 271–72, 277
former law clerks, 323–24
founding, 323
Goodwin Procter merger, 322, 325–28
management committee, 323
minority lawyers, 328
number of lawyers, 198, 271, 323, 327
office location, 327
outside legal activities, 301–2
partner policy, 301–2, 324, 325–26
partners, 117, 192, 197, 198, 216, 225, 240, 250, 270, 323, 326, 327
philosophy, 323–24
pro bono policy, 302–3
public service, 272
stable of clients, 324
women lawyers, 90–91, 329
Shea & Gardner 1947–1994 As Seen by Warner W. Gardner, 323
Sherman & Sterling, 274
Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, 100
Shiekman, Laurence, 245
Shorey, C. Everett, 309
Shriver, Sargent, 118–23
Shuba, Tim, 240
Shulman, Harry, 66
Shulman, Rabbi (Glencoe), 12
Shute, Neville, 16
Sidley & Austin, 298
Siena, Jim, 120
sign language interpreter, 235–36, 287–88
Sinkler, Lorraine, 15
Sisk, Robert, 40–41
Skidmore College, 38
skiing, 8–9, 31, 37, 160, 252–53
Smith, Gerald L. K., 15
Smith, Howard (judge), 111
Smith, Howard K. (news commentator), 160, 161
Smith, Jacob, 52–53
Smith, Orma, 203, 204, 219, 220
Smith Act of 1940, 66, 69–70, 311
Smith College, 1, 5, 25
Soboloff, Simon, 280–81
Social Security Administration, 215
Solicitor General’s Office, 86, 89, 117–19, 189, 316
and AG Criminal Division appeals, 101–2
assistants/areas of expertise, 94–96
atmosphere, 96, 189–90
attorneys, 188–90
brief production, 94
and Cox, 92–99, 189
independence of, 102
location of offices, 93–94
Sonnenschein law firm (Chicago), 336
South Carolina
segregation, 48, 49–51
standardized test validation of teachers, 204–6, 223
Spears, Adrian, 133
Special Committee on Gender Bias (D.C. Circuit), 303–6
litigation process committee, 305
report, 305–6
special prosecutor, 251–52, 253, 255
See also independent counsel
Specter, Arlen, 41, 65, 68
Spitzer, Emily, 320
Spivack, Gordon, 80, 82
Spritzer, Ralph, 94, 189
Stagg, Amos Alonzo, 11
Starkville Municipal Separate School District (Miss.), 203, 204, 218–21
teacher litigation, 218–22
Starr, Kenneth, 282
statelessness, as cruel and unusual punishment, 66–67, 69–70, 311
States Marine steamship company, 84, 85
steamship companies, 84–85
steel ore, 244–45
Steinem, Gloria, 138
Steptoe & Johnson, 284, 291, 305
Stern, Ginny, 234
Stern, Sam, 74, 250
Stevenson, Adlai, 52
Stewart, Potter, 236, 287
Strauss, Anna Lord, 6
Strauss, Bob, 254–55
Studio 54 (N.Y.C. club), 251–52, 255, 262
Sullivan, William, 178
Sullivan & Cromwell, 78, 274, 303
Superior Court of the District of Columbia, 117, 242, 297
Supreme Court, U.S.
antitrust case, 213
civil rights cases, 187–88, 232, 284, 285–86, 287
Coal Act litigation, 214
criminal defendants rights, 281
disability case, 235–36, 288
Expatriation Act ruling, 66, 70, 311–12
and law clerks, 66, 67, 68, 74, 108, 179, 198, 201, 250, 323
Pollak argument before, 88, 97–99, 135, 288, 335
poll tax ruling, 129
school desegregation cases, 201, 206
Solicitor General cases, 97–99
UMWA Funds case, 115, 213, 288
Voting Rights Act cases, 171, 238, 239
Swiss Air, 241
Tarr, Alan, 26
Task Force on a National Service Program, 106–8, 118, 147
Task Force on Gender, Race, and Ethnic Bias, 303–6
Task Force on the War on Poverty, 118
Tatel, David S., 238–39
AFT-NYSUT merger case, 206–7
standardized tests validation cases, 202–6, 218–23
Tennessee, 284
Tennessee Guard, 182, 183
Terris, Bruce, 86, 95, 145, 156, 189, 309
poll tax challenge, 128, 129–31, 132–34
Thompson, Frank, 119
Thornberry, Homer, 128
three-judge panels, 128, 131, 134, 205
Tidelands Act, 95
tobacco litigation, 274
Tokyo, 66
trial preparation, 333–34, 336
Truman, Harry, 17, 27, 44, 51
Trustees of the United Mine Workers of America Health & Retirement Funds. See
UMWA Health and Retirement Funds
Tubb, Thomas, 218, 219–20
Turner, Jim, 179
TV stations license renewal, 76
Tweed, Harrison, 292
Tyler, Harold, 89, 146
UHF licenses, 76
UMWA Combined Benefit Fund, 214, 215, 225
UMWA Health and Retirement Funds, 100, 112, 114–16, 208–16, 223–26, 227, 242,
and Blankenship ruling, 225
challenges to practices of 223=24
coal moisture cases, 225–26
as independent from United Mine Workers Union, 223
Multi-District Litigation Panel, 211
people involved, 223–26
purchase-of-coal clause, 209–10, 211–13, 214
Supreme Court case, 115, 213, 288
Trustees, 224, 225, 239, 250
UMWA Welfare and Retirement Fund of 1950, 223
United Mine Workers of America, 223, 224
United States Departments. See key word
University of California, Berkeley, 40, 68
University of Chicago, 1, 2, 5, 11, 13, 25
University of Chicago Law School, 336
University of Mississippi
Meredith registration, 101, 102–6, 144, 186, 220
University of Pennsylvania, 92, 336
University of Texas, Austin, 235, 236, 284, 286, 287
University of Texas Law School, 130
University of the District of Columbia, 155, 156, 313
University of Wisconsin, 17
Urban Coalition, 191, 195, 196, 336
Urban Institute, 191, 196–97, 336
urban problems, 196
urban renewal, 86, 289, 309, 310
Urban Renewal Committee, 309
urban riots, 112, 138, 144–45, 168
U.S. Attorney’s Office, 336
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 67, 100–102, 115, 209, 213,
book on history of, 322
Division for Appointment of Independent Counsels, 181–82
Garment Workers homework case, 114, 230
Historical Society, 114, 242, 289, 317, 322
Judicial Conference, 313–19, 320
Administration of Justice Under Emergency Conditions report (1973), 314–16
Standing Pro Bono Committee, 313, 317–18
judicial dynamics, 315–16
landlord/tenant case, 244
Panel of Mediator, 238
Special Committee on Gender Bias, 303–6
Task Force on Gender, Race, and Ethnic Bias, 303, 304, 306
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 225, 226, 248
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 94
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 204, 220
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 91, 205, 280–81
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 41, 65, 67, 312
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 199
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 115, 211, 212
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Western District of Pennsylvania, 115
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 84, 108, 117, 209, 211, 238, 303
amicus for airline antitrust case, 239, 240, 241
antitrust cases, 112–13, 239–42
book on history of, 322
ILGWU homework case, 114, 230, 231
and Judge Gessel, 114–17, 208
and Judge Greene, 110, 112–13, 114, 115, 116, 170, 239, 242–44
and judges’ gender bias, 303, 306
Judicial Nomination Commission, 297–98
landlord/tenant case, 243–44
Panel of Mediators, 238
UMWA Health and Pension Funds cases, 226, 242
vitamins antitrust pre-trial discovery, 273–79
Voting Rights Act implementation, 140, 239
women judges, 306
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, 77
U.S. District Court for the District of Texas, 133–34
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 81
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 283
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, 181
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, 225–26
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, 186, 203–4, 219, 220
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, 207
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, 245
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Alton Division, 199
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, 214, 226
U.S. District Court for the Southern Florida District, 248
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, 211, 212, 213
U.S. District Court of Maryland, 237
U.S. Steel, 211
Vance, Cyrus, 145
VHF channels, 76
Vietnam War, 56–58, 150, 157, 161
lawyers involved, 274
See also antiwar protests
Vinson, Fred, 169
Virginia, 48, 49, 50
Coal Fund litigation, 215
poll tax challenge, 128, 129, 134, 135
VISTA (domestic peace corps), 106, 107, 118, 119–20, 121
Vitamins Antitrust Litigation, 273–80
complexity of, 275, 726–77
criminal fines, 278
foreign defendants, 273, 276
special master for discovery disputes, 273, 275–80
trials, 278–79
voluntary bar associations, 293, 299
Volunteers in Service to America. See VISTA
volunteer work, women and, 6, 8, 15, 21–22, 23–24
Voting Rights Act of 1965, 109, 110–11, 124–34, 135, 150, 172, 242
bailout cases, 238–39
committee changes in bill, 126–28
and election monitoring, 170
and federal examiners, 141–42, 170
implementation of, 140–43, 170, 217
major Supreme Court cases, 171, 238, 239
Mansfield-Dirksen compromise, 124, 124–28
and poll tax cases, 127–34
and voter registration, 170
Wald, Patricia, 303, 314, 317, 322
Wallace, George, 131, 132
War Housing Administration, 21
Warin, Roger, 305
Warnke, Paul, 145
War on Poverty. See poverty program
Warren, Earl, 66, 67, 68, 74, 201, 250
Washington, Benetta, 159
Washington, D.C., 17–18, 71–72
ACLU pro bono work, 86
Adams Morgan neighborhood redevelopment, 309
Bar Association. See D.C. Bar
City Council, 152–53, 154, 158, 314
civil rights representation, 284, 287–88
Clifton Terrace renovation, 309, 310
criminal justice system reforms, 313
D.C. Bar Foundation, 319–20
demonstrations and protest marches, 168, 314, 315
first mayor, 152, 153, 154, 158
home rule bill, 148–52
law firms, 71–72, 192, 290
legal services for poor and disadvantaged, 318–19, 321–22
local court system, 112
local government reorganization, 149–54, 156, 158–59, 162, 164
majority minority population, 152
pro bono services, 86, 318–19
public housing, 86, 155–56, 289, 308
racial unrest and riots (1967, 1968), 112, 138, 145, 156, 168
redevelopment planning, 155, 309–10
three Commissioners, 153–54
University of the District of Columbia, 155, 156, 313
urban renewal, 86, 289, 309, 310
White House Advisor on National Capital Affairs, 112, 145, 147–54, 312–13
Washington, George, (D.C. Circuit judge), 67
Washington, Walter, 152, 154, 158–59
Washington Housing Association. See Washington Planning and Housing Association
Washington Lawyer (Horsky), 311
Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, 321
Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, 284, 289, 291–93
Washington Legal Foundation, 268, 269, 270
Washington Planning and Housing Association, 86, 155–56, 289, 290, 308–11
board members, 310
Washington Post, 158, 159
TV and radio stations, 75, 76
Washington Technical Institute, 155
Watergate, 216, 251
Waters, Bernie, 126
Watson, Kackie, 20
Watts riots (Los Angeles), 145
WEAVE (Women Empowered Against Violence), 321
Weaver, Robert, 148
Webster, William, 268
Webster Hospital (Ky.), 209, 239
Weeks, Chris, 119
Weiner, Rob, 295, 320
Welbilt Electronic Die Corporation, 281–82
Welch, Bill, 126
Westinghouse, 81
West Point, Mississippi, 218
White, Wendy S., 91, 117, 225–26, 234, 270, 281, 282, 288
White, Byron, 100, 109, 213, 288
White, Harry Dexter, 36
White House Advisor on National Capital Affairs, 112, 145, 147–59, 160–64, 174, 231,
232, 242, 312–13
office and long working hours, 156–57
Wiesel, Edwin, 161
Wilkey, Malcolm, 115, 213
Willens, Howard, 101
Willey, Kathleen, 283
Williams, Stephen F., 215
Williamsburg, Virginia, 50, 52
Williams College, 31
Willis, Everett, 78, 79
Willkie, Wendell, 7
Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, 71, 205, 213, 303, 309
Wilson, Henry Hall, 150
Wisconsin, 9, 13, 29, 53–54
witness examination, 217–18, 219, 332–33
grand jury, 282
Wittinghill, Craig, 80, 82
Wodach, John, 236
Wofford, Harris, 88–89
and discrimination (see gender discrimination)
and Title VII equal employment provision, 111, 172
traditional wife/mother role, 5–6, 14, 16, 22, 23–25, 61–63, 184, 185
U.S. Vice-President candidate, 263, 265–68, 272
women and the legal profession
appointments as judges, 306
assets, 329
Justice Department, 96
Civil Rights Division, 165–66, 179, 209
law school enrollment, 63, 64, 90, 166
National Women’s Law Center, 298
paralegals, 157, 165, 179, 207, 228
prominent law firms, 89–90, 329
Women Empowered Against Violence, 321
women’s movement, 138–39, 181
Wood, Harlington, 199
Woodwell, George, 25
World War I, 16, 32
World War II, 14–15, 18–19, 20, 26, 36, 43, 74, 223
devastation of, 55–56
Japanese-American internment, 19
Yale Law School, 17, 18, 26, 32, 40, 41, 60–71, 74, 107, 123, 217, 323, 335, 336–37
black students, 63–64
and grades, 64
law firm interviews, 74–75
Law Journal, 40, 41, 60, 62, 64, 65, 69–71
and public service, 290
returned Korean War veterans, 36, 63, 64
significant graduates, 109
and Washington, D.C., law firms, 71, 192
women students, 63, 64
Yale University, 31
Yarmolinsky, Adam, 119
Yorktown, Virginia, 50
Youghiogheny & Ohio Coal Company, 116
Young,Andrew, 168
Zaccaro, John, 264, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272
Zimmerman, Ed, 192
Zimny, Max, 228, 230
Table of Cases
A.J. Taft Coal Co. v. Connors, 906 F.2d 539 (1990), 225–26
Allen v. State Board of Elections, 393 U.S. 544, 554–57 (1969), 171
Armstead v. Starkville Municipal Separate School District, 461 F. 2d 276 (5th Cir. 1972)
affirming 325 F.Supp. 560 (N.D. Miss. 1971), 203
Baker v. Columbus Municipal Separate School District, 462 F.21172 (5th Cir. 1972),
affirming 329 F.Supp. 706 (N.D. Miss. 1971), 204
Blankenship v. Cincinnati Milacron Chemicals, Inc., 433 N.E. 2d 572 (Ohio 1982), 223–
Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954), 310
Breedlove v. Settles, 302 U.S. 277 (1937), 129
Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), 220, 310
Edwards v. Habib, 366 F.2d 628 (1965), 244
Green v. School Board of New Kent County, 391 U.S. 430 (1968), 171
Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88 (1971), 284, 287, 288, 292
Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), 129
ILGWU v. Donovan, 722 F.2d 795 (1983), 114, 230
In re Bituminous Coal Wage Agreements Litigation, 756 F.2d 284 (3d Cir. 1985), 211,
Kaiser Steel Corp. v. Mullins, 455 U.S. 72 (1982), 100, 213, 216, 288
Kelly v. Kosuga, 358 U.S. 516 (1959), 213, 215–16
Lee v. Macon County Board of Education, 448 F.2d 746 (1971), 181
Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974), 202
Mullins v. Kaiser Steel Corporation, 466 F.Supp. 911 (D.D.C. 1979), affirmed 642 F.2d
1302 (D.C. Cir. 1980), reversed 455 U.S. 72 (1982), 115, 212
Mullins v. Reitz Coal Co., 105 L.R.R.M 2776 (D.D.C. 1979), 213
Northwest Austin Municipal Utilities District No 1 v. Holder, 557 U.S. 193 (2009), 238
Perez v. Brownell, 356 U.S. 44 (1958), 311
Pinney Dock cases, 231, 239, 244–47
Screws v. United States, 325 U.S. 91 (1945), 187–88, 285
Shelby County v. Holder, 573 F. Supp. 2d 221 (2008), 238
Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86 (1958), 66, 70, 311–12
Trustees of UMWA 1950 Welfare and Retirement Fund v. Webster Hospital, 536 F.2d
419 (1976), 209–10
United States v. State of Texas, 252 F. Supp. 234 (1966), 128–29
University of Texas v. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390 (1981), 236, 284, 286, 287, 288
Stephen J. Pollak is senior counsel to Goodwin Procter (October 2004 to present) and
was a partner (1969 to October 2004) and fom1er Chair of the Executive Committee of Shea &
Gardner ( 1993-1996) prior to its merger with Goodwin Procter in October 2004. Mr. Pollak
joined the Firm in 1 969 after serving in the United States Department of Justice and the White
House from 1961 through 1969. Among his governmental positions were Advisor to the
President for National Capital Affairs (1967) and First Assistant and Assistant Attorney General
in charge of the Civil Rights Division (1965-67, 1967-69) and Assistant to the Solicitor General
(1961-64), U.S. Department of Justice.
Since 1989, Mr. Pollak has been a member of the Panel of Mediators appointed by
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the Panel of Mediators
appointed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He has served as mediator
in approximately 80 cases and arbitrator in five cases that went through evidentiary hearing
to decision. Mr. Pollak has served as a training consultant in mediation for the Office of Dispute
Resolution of the U.S. Depaiiment of Justice.
In addition to service as mediator and arbitrator, Mr. Pollak’s legal practice has consisted
primarily of representing clients in trial and appellate litigation in the Federal Courts, the
Supreme Court (13 cases argued), Courts of Appeals, and various District Courts and before
federal departments and agencies. His fields of concentration in litigation have included
constitutional law, labor and antitrust law, civil rights, ERISA, and legal ethics. He has also
represented individuals under investigation for possible violation of federal laws, including
lawyers and law finns against whom complaints have been lodged with the Bar Counsel.
From 1999 through 2003, Mr. Po11ak served as Special Master in the Vitamins Antitrust
Litigation, MDL No. 1285, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia before
Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan. He was responsible, among other things, for resolving all discovery
Mr. Pollak has served as lead counsel for the United Mine Workers of America Health
and Retirement Funds, a collectively bargained multiemployer benefit fund, in litigation over
the validity under the labor and antitrust laws of provisions of the bargaining agreement
requiring contributions to the Funds on coal purchased by companies signatory to the agreement.
Mr. Pollak has handled more than 50 cases of this nature for the Funds, recovering more than
$100 million in cont:Iibutions. Other litigation for the Funds includes lawsuits testing the
mean-ing of the 1992 Coal Act which created the UMWA Combined Benefit Fund and provided
for its funding primarily by companies signatory to prior collective bargaining agreements.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, Mr. Pollak was lead outside counsel for the National
Education Association in many cases at trial, on appeal and in the Supreme Court presenting
frontier constitutional, civil rights and labor issues.
Mr. Pollak served as counsel to the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education and
Welfare, Joseph Califano, in drafting regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act of 1973, and was counsel for respondent Camenisch in the University of Texas v.
Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390 (1981 ), in which the rights under federal law of a student with a
hearing impairment to have the assistance of a sign language interpreter were at issue.
Mr. Pollak was President of the District of Columbia Bar ( 1980-81) and was also a member
of the Board of Governors of the Bar (1972-73, 1974-75, 1979-80, and 1981-82). He served
as Chair of the Bar’s Public Service Activities Committee (1989-95) and was the leader in reorganization
of the Bar’s pro bono activities. Mr. Pollak was President (7 /2008-6/2009) and a
member of the Board of Directors (2003-2009) of the District of Columbia Bar Foundation. He
is a member of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission (March 2005-present).
Mr. Po11ak has served as a member and Chair of the District of Columbia Judicial
Nomination Commission (1984-90, 1994-96), responsible for selection of the Chief Judges of the
District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Superior Comi of the District of Columbia as well
as presentation to the President of candidates for nomination as judges of those Cowis.
Mr. Pollak is President and member of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society of
the District of Columbia Circuit (2003-present, 1993-present) and Director of its Oral History
Program (1994-present).
Mr. Pollak is a member of the American Bar Association, serving in the House of
Delegates (1978-81 ), artd the Ame1ican Law Institute.
Mr. Pollak attended Dartmouth College (B.A. 1950) and Yale Law School (LL.B. 1956),
and served in the U.S. Navy (1950-53).
Mr. Pollak has received the following awards:
The Justice Potter Stewart Award from the Council for Court
Excellence of Washingtoh, D.C. (2006)
Daniel Webster Distinguished Service Award, awarded by the
Dartmouth Club of Washington (2005)
Thurgood Marshall Award for Service in the Public Interest,
awarded by the- District of Columbia Bar (2001)
Whitney North Seymour Award for 1994, awarded by the
Lawyers 1 Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Frederick B. Abramson President’s Award for 1994, awarded
to the “Public Services Activities Corporation, Pro Bono
Clinics, Stephen J. Pollak,” by the District of Columbia Bar
Servant of Justice Award for 1994, awarded by the Legal Aid
Society of the District of Columbia
– 3 –
Wiley A. Branton Award for 1992, awarded by the Washington
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Frederick B. Abramson President’s Award for 1992, awarded
to the Public Services Activities Review Committee, Stephen J.
Pollak, Chair, by the District of Columbia Bar
* * * * *
Senior Counsel
Goodwin Procter LLP
901 New York Avenue, N.W., #823E
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 346-4178
Senior Counsel (October 2004 to present)
Shea & Gardner, Attorneys at Law
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washingtoh, DC 20036
(202) 828-2090
Partner (March 1969 to October 2004)
Chair, Executive Committee (April 1993 to April 1996)
Mediation and Arbitration
Member, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Panel
of Mediators (1989 to present)
Member, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Panel of
Mediators (1989 to present)
Member, CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals, Washington, D.C.
(1998 to present)
Member, AAA Panel of Mediators for Complex Cases
Special Master, Vitamins Antitrust Litigation (U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia, 1999 to 2003)
Cow1sel and Associate Independent Counsel to Independent Counsel James C.
McKay re Franklyn C. Nofziger Matters
(February 1987 to July 1988, August 1989 to 1990)
Assistant A ttomey General
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Depa1tment of Justice
(December 1967 to January 1969)
Special Assistant to the Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
(October 1967 to December 1967)
Advisor to the President for National Capital Affairs
(February 1967 to September 1967)
and Board
First Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
(April 1965 to February 1967)
Deputy General Counsel
Office of Economic Opportunity
(October 1964 to April 1965)
Legal Counsel to the President’s Task Force on the War Against Poverty
(June 1964 to October 1964)
Assistant to Solicitor General
U.S. Depaitment of Justice
(November 1961 to October 1964)
Covington & Bmling
Washington, D.C,
(1956 to November 1961)
District of Columbia Bar
President (June 1980 to June 1981)
President-Elect (June 1979 to June 1980)
Secretary (1974 – 1975)
Member, Board of Governors ( 1972 to 1973,
June 1981 to June 1982)
Chair, Public Service Activities Committee
(1989 to October 1995); and Public Service
Activities Review Committee (1990 to June 1992)
Chair, 1998-99 Nominations Committee
Member, Bar Foundation Study Committee (1998 to 2000)
Member, Pro Bono Initiative Committee (2000 to 2001)
Member ( 1972 to present)
District of Columbia Bar Foundation
President (2008 to 2009)
Vice President (2007 to 2008)
Member, Board of Directors (October 2003 to 2009)
Past President (2009 to present)
District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission
Member (March 2005 to present)
District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission
Chair (July 1989 to January 1990)
Acting Chair (December 1988 to July 1989)
Secretary (1986 to 1988)
Member (July 1994 to January 1996; January 1984
to January 1990)
– 5 –
The Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit
President (September 2003 to present)
Member, Board of Directors (October 1993 to present)
Special Committee on Gender Bias of the Task Force of the D.C.
Circuit on Gender and Race Bias
Member (September 1992 to 1995)
Member and Chair, Subcommittee on Litigation Process
(January 1993 to 1995)
American Law Institute
Member (1978 to present)
American Bar Association
Fellow (July 1996 to present)
Member, House of Delegates (1978-81)
Member (1958 to present)
Judicial Conference of the District of Columbia Circuit
Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services
Chair (I 997 to July 2001)
Member (1996 to 2001)
Committee on the Administration of Justice Under Emergency Conditions
Chair (1971 to 1973)
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Co-Chair (1975-1977)
Member, Board ofDirectors (1969 to present)
Member, Executive Committee (June 1987 to 2009)
Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
Chair (January 1970 to March 1972)
Member, Board of Directors (1969 to 1995)
DK.H, Incorporated; Draper and Kramer, Incorporated; and D&K Insurance
Agency, Inc., Chicago, Illinois
Chair (May 2011 to present)
Vice Chair of Boards of Directors (May 2009 to April 2010)
Member, Board of Directors (July 1970 to present)
Housing Development Corporation (Non-Profit, Low-Income Housing)
President (January 197 6 to 1980)
Member, Executive Committee and Board of Directors ( 1969 to 1980)
NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.
Member, Board of Directors (June 1987 to May 1995)
So Others Might Eat, Washington, D.C.
Member, Board of Directors (June 1987 to December 1992)
– 6 –
Dartmouth College, 1946-50, B.A., Phi Beta Kappa
Yale Law School, 1953-1956, LL.B., cum laude
Order of Coif
Managing Editor of Yale Law Journal
Jewell Prize – Highest grades, second yeat
Second prize for best student contribution to Yale
Law Journal (1955-56) “Expatriation Act of 1954”
Allen v. State Board of Elections, 393 U.S. 544 (1969)
Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88 (1971)
Hanover Bank v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue,
369 U.S. 672 (1962)
Kaiser Steel Corp. v. Mullins, 455 U.S. 72 (1982)
Namet v. United States, 373 U.S. 179 (1963)
Presser v. United States, 371 U.S. 71 (1962)
Rabinowitz v. Kennedy, 376 U.S. 605 (1964)
United States v. Bilder, 369 U.S. 499 (1962)
United States v. Healy, 376 U.S. 75 (1964)
University of Texas v. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390 (I 981)
Williams v. Zucken, 371 U.S. 531,372 U.S. 765 (1963)
Willis Shaw Frozen ExQress, Inc. v. United States,
377 U.S. 159 (1964)
March 15, 2012
Katherine L. Garrett
Biographical Sketch
Katia Garrett is a public interest lawyer and social justice advocate who has worked in
the District of Columbia since her 1985 graduation from George Washington University
Law School. Following a clerkship with U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan (DDC),
she worked as a courtroom lawyer with the plaintiffs’ civil rights and employment law
firm of Kator, Scott & Heller.
Ms. Garrett served as the Executive Director of the DC Circuit’s Task Force on Gender,
Race & Ethnic Bias, and subsequently held positions within the US Department of
Justice, including as Chief of Staff to Eleanor D. Acheson, Assistant Attorney General,
Office of Policy Development.
She served for over eight years as the Executive Director of the DC Bar Foundation, the
largest funder of civil legal services in the District, launching the successful DC Poverty
Lawyer Loan Repayment Assistance Program and the DC Access to Justice Grants
Katia has taught as an adjunct at both the Washington College of Law at American
University and at George Washington University Law School, and has worked as a
consultant on class actions, dispute resolution, and non-profit management.
Her community service includes terms as the President and Board member of the
Washington Council of Lawyers, the Chair of the DC Circuit Judicial Conference
Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, the Board of the National Association
of IOLTA Programs, and as a Complaint Examiner for the DC Office of Police
Complaints. Katia was named Woman Lawyer of the Year in 2012 by the Women’s Bar
Association of DC.
She lives in the District with her husband and two children, both of whom attend DC
Public Schools.
Biographical Sketch
Bill Schultz is the General Counsel of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Before joining HHS, Bill was a Partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP.
Bill has also served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of
Justice. He was responsible for overseeing all Civil Division appellate litigation and the
Department’s Tobacco Litigation Team. Prior to Department of Justice, Bill was the
Deputy Commissioner for Policy for Food and Drug Administration, where he was the
principal advisor to the Commissioner on all significant policy issues and responsible
for development and management of all regulations.
Before joining FDA, Bill was the Counsel to the Subcommittee on Health and the
Environment (Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman), Committee on Energy & Commerce,
U.S. House of Representatives, where he worked on health care, FDA, tobacco and
trade legislation.
Bill also served as an attorney with the Public Citizen Litigation Group, where he
litigated law reform cases on administrative procedure, state and federal constitutional
law, antitrust, voting rights, product liability, nuclear power, and food and drug law,
and where he argued dozens of appellate cases, including several in the U.S. Supreme
Court. Bill started his career as a law clerk to Judge William B. Bryant, U.S. District
Court, District of Columbia.
For almost 10 years, Bill taught civil litigation and food and drug law at Georgetown
University Law Center. He received his BA from Yale University and his JD degree
from the University of Virginia Law School. He is a member of the District of Columbia
and Virginia bars.
November 7, 1996
Mr. Chief Judge — may it please the Court:
Judges, family, colleagues and friends of Harold
This is the 31st year of my professional relationship
with Harold Greene. He’s also my friend. And this is an
occasion to share with you some observations about him and his
public service.
Judge Greene is personable, self-mocking and easy to
like. He enjoys human contact and has a gifted mind and a quick
wit. He writes well and quickly. Harold is committed to public
service; and cares about the law and fairness. And he has the
courage to seek out and master challenges.
Is he perfect? Almost. He has only one limitation
that I know of: lack of complete modesty.
Recently, one of Harold’s law clerks was complaining
about judges thinking they are almost deities. Quick as a wink,
Harold shot back, “What do you mean, almost.”
Service in the Civil Rights Division
When I entered the Department of Justice in 1961 as
an Assistant to the Solicitor General, Harold had been there
for four years. He joined the Civil Right s Division upon its
creation by Congress in 1957, and became the first Chief of the
Appellate Section. Harold held that post until the Voting Rights
Act was assured of passage in 1965.
With notable exceptions led by Frank M. Johnson and
Skelly wright, most of the district judges before whom the Civil
Rights Division was litigating uniformly ruled in favor of the
defendants. So Harold and his small band of five or six lawyers
took an unending stream of appeals to the Fifth Circuit where
Chief Judge Tuttle and Judges Rives, Wisdom and John R. Brown
drew on Harold’s briefs to reverse and begin the correction of
long-standing wrongs.
Of course, signal civil rights cases went to the
Supreme Court where Harold’s name and hand were on every brief.
The case names are a “hall of civil rights fame,” to mention
just a few: Baker v. Carr, presenting the question whether the
Fourteenth Amendment protects against gross malapportionment;
Gray v. Sanders, whether county unit plans that diluted the
votes of residents of populous counties are constitutional;
Louisiana v. United States, whether the State’s “constitutional
interpretation test” for qualification as a ·voter violated the
Fifteenth Amendment; Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, whether
state convictions of blacks for sitting in at lunch counters
constituted a denial of equal protection of the laws; and
Griffin v. School Board of Prince Edward Country, Virginia,
whether the closing of public scho ols facing desegregation
worked a constitutionally impermissible discrimination against
And when case-by-case litigation proved the inadequacy
of existing federal laws, Harold put his experience, intelligence
and creativity into drafting of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Victory, it is said, has
100 fathers·, defeat is an orphan. Well, Harold is a true father
of these great laws of the Second Reconstruction.
Appointment to the Bench
In 1965, President Johnson nominated Harold for the
Court of General Sessions, the District of Columbia’s trial
bench. Even The Evening Star praised the selection and Senator
Philip A. Hart noted the qualities that would make Harold an
outstanding judge:
“All of us who had daily discussions in
developing [the Voting Rights Act] were
impressed with the quickness of mind of
Harold Greene, his magnificent temperament,
his ability to adjust to and understand
compet1ng points of view, and to contribute
materially toward the resolution of conflicts
* * *
Harold served on that bench for 13 years, 12 of them
as Chief Judge.
He was a ?triple threat tt player, strong as a judge, as
an administrator, and as a leader. He worked unstintingly to
elevate the caliber of the court and guided it through growth
from 16 to 44 judges and a total reorganization under the 1970
D.C. Court Reform Act which expanded its jurisdiction in the
image of a full state court system and renamed it as the Superior
Court. And in his spare time, Harold worked to conceive and
secure $40 million for construction of the new courthouse.
I recall in 1967-68 seeing Chief Judge Greene in
action, affirming his commitment to fairness and respect for
individual rights. Harold, Mayor Walter Washington and I, as
the Attorney General’s representative, were making plans for
handling mass arrest situations. Harold was adamant that there
would be no mass arraignments or truncated procedures. He held
fast to this position during the disturbances following the
assassination 9£ Dr. Martin Luther King, keeping the court open
around the clock for five days, drawing on the bar for volunteer
lawyers for those accused, and arraigning in the regular way each
person charged with a violation of law.
Service as a Judge of the U.S. District Court
In March 1978, President Carter nominated Judge Greene
for this District Court. Again the Senate, the bar and the press
applauded the choice. Representative was the Washington Post
which called it “an excellent selection,” and added:
“[It is] sad only in that it will mean a loss
to the local court that he guided so ably to
an unprecedented level of respectability.
* * * During his tenure, Judge Greene has
earned a reputation both as a legal scholar
and a skillful director of the transformation
of the old disorganized Court of General
Sessions into a large powerful Superior Court
of state-court rank — today one of the best
urban court systems in the nation.”
You have heard the observations of Harold by Judge Wald
of the Court which sits in judgment on the correctness of his
rulings, and by Judge Oberdorfer who has been his colleague on
this Court for virtually Judge Greene’s entire tenure. As I
prepared for this afternoon, I puzzled as to what I might add.
First, as a practicing lawyer and former president
of the D.C. Bar, I can attest that the members of the bar hold
Harold in the highest regard as an outstanding judge among the
members of this excellent Bench. He is a “repeater” in the
American Lawyer’s “Best of the D.C. Circuit” evaluations.
Second, I can comment on Harold’s service 1978 to
1 86 on the Judicial Nomination Commission of the District of
Columbia. The seven-person Commission is responsible for naming
the Chief Judges of the D.C. Court of Appeals and Superior
Court and for selecting and presenting to the President three
candidates for each judicial vacancy. Harold was steadfast in
seeking quality along with diversity. His evaluations carried
special weight and were instrumental in maintaining a strong and
representative bench.
Finally, I can say a few words about Judge Greene’s
biggest case, United States v. AT&T, which brought him national
fame and, for a significant period af ter the settlement, intense
personal pain. While resolution of the case led Time Magazine
to name him a runner-up “Man of the Year,” citizens from far
and near sent letters “To Judge Greene who destroyed our phone
Judge Greene got the massive case when he joined this
Bench in 1978. The Complaint, charging AT&T, the nation’s
largest corporation, with monopolization of the telecommunications
market had been filed in 1974, but lay dormant over the
ensuing 3-1/2 years.
Harold determined to prove that the federal courts
could handle big antitrust cases and, with what he viewed as
excellent lawyering on both sides, brought the suit to trial
just after New Year’s in 1981.
After 11 months of trial, 350 witnesses, thousands of
exhibits, thousands of stipulations of fact, and the Court’s
denial of an AT&T motion to dismiss filed at tbe end of the
Government1s case, the parties in January 1982 presented a
proposed consent decree embodying the terms of an agreed
settlement. The terms required AT&T to divest itself of the
22 operating companies providing local phone service,
representing approximately 75% of the Bell System’s assets valued
at $150 billion, while allowing AT&T to retain its long-distance
operations, research labs and equipment manufacturing facilities.
The operating companies were required to provide AT&T’s longdistance
competitors with equal access to their local lines and
were restricted from entering certain business where they might
use their control of local service to gain improper advantage
over competitors.
After seven months of Tunney Act proceedings to assess
whether the terms of the proposed decree would serve the public
interest, the Judge approved the settlement and divestiture went
into effect on January 2, 1984. Harold confessed he arose that
morning with trepidation and experienced intense relief when he
lifted his telephone and heard the familiar dial tone.
But the public was unrelenting. Citizens everywhere
reacted as if a national calamity had occurred. A stream of
adverse comment and hate mail erupted. The common complaint was,
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Emblematic was a cartoon in
the Washington Post depicting a harried Harold Greene tangled in
an octopus of telephone cords and dangling receivers.
Harold couldn’t go anywhere without being challenged for wrecking
the world’s best phone system. I saw this myself one night when
Harold and Evelyn came to my house for dinner and faced a barrage
of hostile questions from other guests.
In December of 1984, a Washington Post commentator
fantasized as follows: “The President decides to name Judge
Greene to the Supreme Court. The call, however, cannot be
completed because of circuit overload. ”
As we know now, the dire predictions proved false.
Five years later, Fortune Magazine reported:
“Today the great majority of the country’s
telephone customers, large and small, declare
themselves satisfied with the service they
receive. * * * The industry has evolved into
an entrepreneurial, freewheeling marketplace
where customers and many shareholders are
reaping rewards.”
Computerworld’reaffirmed that assessment in 1992, noting that
AT&T stock had almost doubled, long-distance rates were down 35%,
the pace of innovation had accelerated, and, while the cost of
local service was modestly up, the cost of equipment to consumers
was down.
Harold has summed it up: “Competition is the life
blood of the American system. It brings down prices and speeds
up innovation. That’s been the effect here.”
Harold Greene would have made a great Justice. In
my view, one I know is widely shared, Harold Greene has been
for 18 years and is now a great force for justice on this
United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
Thank you.
Stephen J. Pollak
1. Ask if the witness has ever had his deposition taken before. (The
masculine herein includes the feminine.) Ask if he has ever testified
in court before.
2. Describe what the physical setting will be like: position of opposing
counsel, your position, reporter’s position.
3. Explain the purpose of a deposition: to permit the opposite side to
discover information that may aid it in the law suit; to lay a
foundation for impeaching the witness on the stand. Explain what
impeachment is–use of an inconsistent statement to cast doubt on
credibility. Emphasize the breadth of questioning permitted.
Questions may be asked that seem to him irrelevant, but they must
be answered. Explain that you can instruct him not to answer
certain questions, but that this is unlikely to occur.
Explain that the witness’s duty is to tell the truth to the best of
his ability. Explain that as counsel_ for the company or organization,
you are instructing him that you want him to do no less.
5. Explain to him that he should not be· thinking about shaping his
answers to avoid damaging disclosures. He should leave litigation
strategy .to you, and simply answer the questions honestly. Every
witness I have seen prepared has regarded this as an interesting and
important pt>d.nt–and contrary to their••?xpectatii’.’Qns. He. sho1,1ld not 1 i • , I and need not volunteer infotmat\on if he is f!.ot CJtties tioned about it.
He. should I simply listen carefully_ to t:he questions, answer _truthfully,
and go no :fu?er. Add o\}at he ,shouldn’t worry if all the_’,inforrnation
that is being drawn out oJ: him appears to be damaging, This is the
other side’s deposition. If you see fit, you will ask him to clarify
certain matters at the end of the deposition, but you will not be
trying to prove your entire case at this time.
6. Ae should try to answer truthfully, but briefly. He must listen
carefully to the question, reflect, then ans?ier if he has understood
it. If not, he should simply state that he does not understand the
question. He should not anticipate additional questions in making
a response.
7. He must remember that he is speaking for the record. Re wants to
give answers that he can live with in the future.
8. Talk to him about knowledge. A question generally asks him only what
he knows. He does not know what someone else has told him, though
if he is asked what someone else has told him, he can answer that.
Ma.ny quest ions have only three possible answers: “yes, 11 “‘no,” and
·”I don’t know,” (or “I don’t remember”).
– 2 –
9. If he is asked a numerical question, he may well not know the answer.
If he is asked to estimate, or give his ·best estimate, he may do
that if he has some basis for it, though he should make clear that he
is only estimating.
10. The deposition may cover large -periods of time. ‘The questions should
specify what period of time an answer is sought. 1£ the question
does not, the witness should ask for clarification or supply a time
frame in the answer.
11. A question may contain an assumption about a matter of fact. If so,
the witness should consider whether he accepts the assumption as a
fact. If not, he should state that he does not, or make clear that
he considers the question hypothetical. Caution him about answering
hypothetical questions.
12. If he is asked about a document, he should not answer until he has
received it and read it over carefully–all of it, not just the part
about which he is questioned.
13. Warn him about answering very broad questions with incomplete answers.
To pick a glaring example, a company’s EEO affirmative action officer
may be asked 11 what he did” in furtherance of the company’s affirmative
action plan. Assuming that he did a large number of things that
could not reasonably be listed or remembered, he must understand how
to keep his answer open-ended. ?. “These are some of the things
I did. I cannot remember the others.” Etc. (Practice questions are
useful to drive home points 8-13.)
14. He may find himself answering a long string of questions “I don’t know”
and begin to feel, or be made to feel by opposing counsel, stupid or
incompetent. Warn him against this feeling, since it may affect his
answers. It is perfectly natural not to know a lot of details. It is
merely a lawyer’s trick for opposing counsel to try to throw a witness
off stride by asking a lot of these questions.
15. Warn him that he may find the opposing counsel irritating. In that
event, his impulse may be to try to retaliate in his answers. Warn
him strenuously against giving in to this impulse, since it will make
his answers careless and less accurate. Tell him that the opposing
counsel may be deliberately trying to anger him for just this reason.
16. Warn him conversely about the danger of finding the opposing counsel
too friendly, which may give rise to a natural impulse to please or
satisfy the opposing counsel. He must maintain his own objectivity
and remember that he is speaking for the record. It is a formal
17. Similarly, warn him that he should not be concerned about pleasing
you in his answers.
– 3 –
18. Describe what your own_ role will be at the: depo$itioo. lfani him
that you may be saying very little. Tell him why this is so: it is
the opposing counsel’s deposition; your role is to o bject to
questions that you believe are in improper form, but opposing counsel
is not obliged to rephrase them. Furthermore, you are not usually
trying to prove up your case at. the deposit-ion.
19. Work out a signal with him for the occasions on which you wish to
object to the fo,rm of a question. ?’ placing your hand on his
arm. When this happens, be should not answer the question, but
remain silent until you have spoken and finished your colloquy with
opposing counsel. It is possible, but unlikely, that you will
instruct him not to answer a question.
20. Tell bim that the depositions, if long, will be interrupted by short
breaks. Re should keep you informed if he i s uncomfortable, tired,
etc. You are there to look a.fter such matters, to keep opposing
counsel from harrassin g him, etc.
21. Tell him that there may be a number of colloquies between opposing
counsel–about documentary p·roduction, forms 0£ questions, etc.
These may appear to him to be angry or heated. He is not to concern
hi,nself with them or worry about them.
22. Finally, opposing counsel. may ask if he has discussed his testimony
with you. He should not be embar rassed about answering affirmatively,
since such discussions are perfectly proper. You told hiin what to
expect at the deposition, that be should answer questions truthfully,
Dictated Saturday, September 30, 1967
At about 9:15 on Friday night, September 29, I received a call from the Attorney General.
He said that I should be at Andrews Air Force Base at 8:50 in the morning to go to the Ranch.
He said there would be Barefoot Sanders, Eddie Weisl, and himself and perhaps another and that
he was not sure what the purpose of the trip was. I am now back from the trip to the Ranch on
Saturday. The purpose was for the President to announce the appointment of Dean Griswold as
Solicitor General, Ed Weisl as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division and
myself as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division.
We flew down in a Jet Star taking three hours and fifteen minutes. The President and
Mrs. Johnson met us when we landed, and we drove back to the Ranch house. The President
went in to change from his western clothes for a family picture, and Mrs. Johnson chatted with
us on the lawn. Then she left for the picture, and we continued chatting. Bloody Marys were
One by one the President called those who had come down in to speak with him. The
Attorney General came out and asked me if it would be satisfactory for me to come over initially
as a Special Assistant and then to be appointed Assistant Attorney General as soon as John Doar
had completed the trial of the criminal case against those charged with the Neshoba County murders.
I said it sounded good provided the President would make clear that I would assist during
the transition to the new D.C. government.
The President then called me in and said that he would be announcing my appointment as
a Special Assistant to the Attorney General for urban problems, civil rights and crime. The
President asked Ramsey what my pay would be, and Ramsey said he could give me no higher
than an 18, which was $25,600. The President asked me what I was earning, and I said $26,000.
He said that I could stay on the White House payroll until I moved to the Assistant Attorney
Generalship. Shortly thereafter we gathered together with the President, Mrs. Johnson, his two
daughters, Pat Nugent, and Chuck Robb, and went over to the outbuilding where the press conference
was to be held. The President was joined by Dean Griswold and Ed Weisl on his right,
Mrs. Johnson and I on his left. He made the announcements, and I will attach to this a copy of
the transcript.
I recall a feeling as the announcements were made that it was a thrill to be a part of this
activity and present.
After the press conference, we drove with the President to greet some visiting legislators
who had been touring his birthplace home.
After that, we returned to the ranch house where I called Walter Washington to tell him
of the President’s action. Walter was out on a walking tour and I advised Banetta. She asked if I
was pleased and if this was what I wanted. Those were questions I expected, and I said that it
was the right decision and the right action and it would be right. I also called Ruth and told her.
I cut that conversation short as the President was about to talk to Chief Justice Warren to tell him
of the actions on a call placed by Ramsey Clark. We were in the President’s office there which
is a pleasant, ranch-style room with the President’s desk and two secretary desks at the other side
of the room.
After the telephone calls, we were invited to stay on for lunch, or indeed had been invited
earlier. We went into the dining room which was very colorfully set in Mexican china with
Mexican food to be served. Mrs. Johnson sat at one end of the table and the President at the
other. I was on the President’s left, Dean Griswold on his right. Ramsey Clark was on
Mrs. Johnson’s right, and Ed Weisl on her left. Also at the table were Lynda Bird and
Chuck Robb, Barefoot Sanders, and a friend of Lynda Bird’s boyfriend. The luncheon discussion
was informal and pleasant.
The President was quite friendly to me and seemed interested in me. At one point in the
lunch, the President turned to me and addressed the entire table saying how proud he was of me
for having successfully steered the Reorganization Plan for the District of Columbia through
the Congress. The President said that it was a magnificent job and that the people of the
United States and the nation itself owed me a real debt of gratitude. The President said that I had
exceeded his expectations and had done more than he had expected. He said that it was very
rare that this ever occurred as he generally found that people did not do as much as expected.
Mrs. Johnson then asked why when this Congress was so difficult the Reorganization Plan had
gone through. I advised her that there had been a number of crucial decisions including the
President’s own decision to delay sending up the plan until we had talked to each of the
Congressmen about it. The President commented that he felt that the Reorganization Plan had
bypassed the District Committees and felt somewhat sheepish about this. He said in a humorous
vein that he had campaigned for Congress on the court-packing plan and then when he got to
Congress, it had already been defeated. He drew from this the parallel that it was not wrong to
proceed by the Reorganization Plan if this was the only way to get the job done.
After lunch, we went in the ranch house living room and chatted with the President for
perhaps one-half hour. He wanted to know what the reactions of the District Committee members
were and urged that I make certain that each of the nominees to the City Council understood
the conflict of interest laws and were in compliance with them. There was discussion, of course,
of other matters at lunch and after lunch.
After about thirty minutes, the President got up, we said thank you. He said to me I will
be seeing you, and then Mrs. Johnson drove us to the plane.
On the way back, both Barefoot Sanders and Ramsey Clark commented on the nice
words the President had said about the work that I had done. Ramsey particularly said that it was
very very rare for the President to make the kind of statements he made to me. He said that
rarely did the President think someone had done more than he had expected, and rarely did he
make such a comment.
(WX21)WA.SIII?IGTOR, A.ll’G. 21-:m:BIND ‘l!HE BAOK’ CO?<lE-BiU’f Garter’s two
l.l!l?ra st?toh to oo?el! tor a moment, b?hilla the:Lr oliont s baok; as
the president•? brotlier oontinlles hiia testimon;:r Thursda;;: o.n Capitol Bill
beton the Senate J”uMciar.,; sube.omm!ttee, tlhieh tire stu,diing liis dealings
with .Li?. At l.e!t is H,enr,y a. Rllth J?., and Stephen ;r, il’o:Llak is at
rl:ght, W LASERPROTOJ (r151626at:t’)1?
7’/u,r,,,tht/, N?11.JO, 1967
· n .a T.ffE \Vi\SJ·(u?G’?’O.N PO$’.(‘
(HmltA:RD A. GESJILL JOllN po? S1’1i11?”1rnN /. 1>01,,LAK
. , , n i\CII’ Jud,:? anil. \\J\a11,1es In Uu, Jus(icc Dop«i,t.m?nl’s Ci-vii JUthls Olvis\yJ1,
Doar Leaves Rights :Divisio11,
Pollali Na111ed as Successo1·
By ,John P, M,1?K?nzlo llllflr, a llel>UQJ1c,1. 11 W o will ,
follak, ?9, 1$” ? /,’l”?dl.lJlle or
w .. 11,a,1011 no,1 l!t•fl Wdtor IJP 46 IHI Sunrlay; madr. ii 1\13rlo D?flmqu\h Golleg• nnd Y ale
‘l’h<> While !Jo\ .. e nnnouncec· w1U1h1 t.rltJus?i?c Depal’tlllent f1
111v5sc111i ,??1, IJ? has s?•1·N! in
, , , .
for lus_ pa1nsta)ong n:ie?lQ/i-s Qt,
te O ui,qr <.,eneral’,? orlfoo
i ie. te1 da,v that J”ohn Doa.r ha gatnenni: ?ucl 1lPiQNit)g ?vl• nnd, at1er he!plnl( cl1•aft ,uoli,
reii1U1c(I ;i? ?hie! or (Jte ,Ju cJvnct> ror 1?,•!lull:s and 1eg?13. 11.’;,;’;l’IW leg,sla{lott, ;is>uly
1Icn I l?partmenL’R Oil”il J?Jght l.11111 to open tl1• -public .reeom, ?£ Jl::rnl Ot u◊scl or the Qfflce
Dlvlsl(nt, :-lomlnatccl to l’C •no?t,Uoo? and vothlg l)on1hs ‘ on9,n c P)JOt'(Un1ty.
j I lo !'<el,(J·M,;;
place hun was SLel) 1?11 ,T, 1•01 , 11\l WM’ t)J<ajso ro,· the sue- Flo took un -11stlg11mon; as
luk, rorhwt 1Jresld1’ntl?I 4dvls cassflll 11roseruUoq qt the kill-. Ml’ Jobll$On’s ‘Olsldul ?ffalrs
er on nnllonal eilPlLal al’faa:.. rah; of Yloln L?ll2ZO in. lhe Mt. 1t(IYljm• wlLh the 8v01vcd ,,u1″
_ Pt·csJdent Juh11St1n ?lijo nom rrmaU\ oJ’ ?h•· J9llS Se1m?•tP• pos.e ol’ wo,•?ing l\lmsetc out of
111al1•1l Olyde (i. Mnrw 11f E11al Mrmtgome•y IMl’Cl’ll and the ,.
der, C,:olo., ii& Assistant )\tL()t’ killers of \hre? civil right5 In .’0″· n PUl’Pos,, l\e nccomJH
?Y Goner,) in ?harge of _the ‘lvorl.r?r? in Mi?si?lppi. 1>lish
Qcl ?•y Jit?e?Jng lh? i’«·si
U?pnrtmrni’s !,?nets Ulvl?lqn, O•·C;J6lll1rnl w•il<ci?m 1111111
Jlents P1str1cL Gove1·nmen( re
an.d nam?d Llll’ae new l’t!lloral ?i vll rlf!ll Ls grou()ij ?nd rre or?1111)zatlo11 Jl1M 1,h1•9ugh
judges, including Wa?hinl(ton I 9u on( orll,\ll!•m rrqm DoeJ> CongJ!c-ss. Tbe l’1•qsiqcul l’orat101•
11e/l . Ol>?l),μ’rl A, Or?ell, :;iou\11 poli flc1a11s _had llteie ef- mal ly ?bo!M,?d fhe post Jn
01· t)le DuiLrltt Cow·t here, rent Oil Doat. Aides s”id his S1311lembor and nAmed Poll?
D◊ar, a ‘frQquent on,th o-
Posl\lon to p?lo>/Mlil)111 Ml us A ?pcclal assl?t?nt lo Attorsc
?ne 11’9
ter UJ J”ACfa) 111u• lo, 111•$ijl/ cle111an
1l? for Oij:,<,_?eneral l’!a.mscy .Oln1’lt.
cennlct,i ?u?lng more tb:m Orn ?olJ?/J ,•cgisto•ars .in al’eas o.,ell, the nQmlne_o for t he
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·igltts wqrk, is l(.’nvins al tlw !11mch?!l vi_g01·1lu.s” gei-0111-t?’e- partncl’ 1 11 Lire Covb1gU.n &
,•1111 ol’ I?!’ YQ?I’ f(ll’ n Pl’lVltte olc drivel!. B ‘IJll I _ law pra,•1il!e ”
1″ ? aw tJrm nud hM
· · Suhunl 11?s•,?rQl(ttli•m s1>e11rl\eade·<1 rc,ecnL clril’c5 101•
‘No ChiJuge ?>,’Jlecwli A1)pca.1111l( In c01Wt to ?c0ue cdm·t re1form. A r,mwrul L'<>urt.
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ed lo a whift Jn Oov?r)\• I ?li’.”1>111g__nril .tqr ?1,dtfll\l en- M ,, $mnl1 111•6up of 1awy?1-5 (o
m?nt clvU rlgbl-s policy, Pol• iJ:rotcmol’ll Cl.I -?dnron,strntto·n l1e serlou?I}’ catisi(l c,red Cor $olak,
who servjjd as .Do?r·s· first ?d1Qol . iles?gcegat.lon .gutdc• ll ,1ltQt• Cle11?1·a1 ?fl pr ‘J’h111•good
MSlstll!lt ln 1961) Rlld. 1066, is Unes. Jle _oolr1 lhe 5th u.s;, e1r – Ma1•shali w,,? 1,1?val?d to fh
l;.tiown t() sh11re Do a1,’A prerer• dull court of Ap11e9ls, ‘1’llij Supreme Qbulll ..
ence !or quJet bul vll!Ol’!>\I$ en- lll?,l?rD) Govev,imcnl waJ1ts 01h00 nominatlo 11s in(!J11dc,r
occerotnl o( Fcderiil law, not while i.eho61$’, nbL ®hoola Harrr Prel(er,o11 ot Woo?laod
eo,· Ne?i·o chjlclren, /us1 plaJu HlU?, Callt., to ? t)?w judge•
sehodl& h111 Ill !he C( Dish’lol of
(;?lifoml:? llnd Winston E.
l·now /l)r a 1w11’ly cti.>at?d 11?’
ltlon on lbe Di&lribl CoutL
‘nr Nor1hern Florid? ,
l·i1e U1str!c,t’ s. New l1ai-1son iV\an
in D. n”l· . iIIICU I t Ro!e at White HoLis
Sta, Siar! Writer
Stephen who?
Stephen Pollak, that’s who.
A Jot of people were asking
this question and getting, just
about, this answer last January
when President Johnson announced
the name of the brilliant
young lawyer he appointed
to ,succeed Charles Horsky as
the While House adviser on
National Capital Affairs.
Pollak was unknown to many
1n the confusing array of agencies,
departments and congressional
committees which make
up the government of the District
of Columbia. He was
unkhown also to many outside
this governmental circle who·
make it a point to know what’s
going on in the District.
Nevertheless, those who knew
Pollak before his appointment
as the District’s man in the
White HQttse contend he is the
ideal man for the job.
The 38-yeal’-old attorney
possesses the kind of vit-tues
which produce encomiums from
former bosses who want toindeed,
have to-get things_
done.. Pollak’s jumps from job to
job ·on the establishment ladder
have been both rapid and surefooted.
– East to School
Born to _ a large !amity in the
_ Chicago suburbs, Pollak went
east to school and was Phi Beta
Kappa as· a junior at Dartmouth.
.After three years in the Navy,
during which he served as a
deck officer of a destl’oyer
patrolling waters off Korea,
— Pollak enrolled in law school at
Yale. There, he won the Jewett
Prize for highest grades in his
second year and was managing
editor or the Law Journal.
Good family, good school,
good service, beautiful grades:
When Pollak received his law
degree from Yale in 1956, the
world, in a manner or speaking,
was his.
What he did with it was this:
He joined Covington & Burling,
the Washington law firm or
which Dean Acheson is a partner,
in which there is a surfeit of
bright young lawyers, from
which numerous attorneys have
gradu;ited into important government
Why Washington? Well,
“Steve always had ·a great
interest and desil’e to be in
public. service,” according to
Gerhard Gesell, a C&B partner
with whom Pollak worked
closely for some time. “He told
us that from the beginning . . .
and were w? sorry_to Jose him.”
Plum Job
Pollak left the firm in Novernbc,
·, 1961, to take a plum job in
tne Solicitor Genet.·al’ s office in
the Justice Department. When a
slot becomes available in this
exclusive prese1·ve, the chier
always has a long list of high
caliber, l;iw-review-type ciindi-
‘ dates to choose from. Former
Solicitor Genoral Archibald Cox
picked Pollak from the list, or,
as Cox put it, “I stole him from
Dean Acheson’s law firm.”
Then Pollak served .as legal
counsel to the presidential task
force which shaped legislation
for the war on poverty early in
1964, and, after Congress adopted
the measure, he became first
deputy general counsel at the
Office of Economic Oppor.tLmity.
Not long thereafter, however,
.John Doar,· soft-spoken chief of
the Civil Rights Division in the
Justice Department, Jet it be
known he was in the market for
a firs• assistant. Cox admits that
be had “no Ultle to do with
selli’ng the idea” that Pollak be
brought back to the Justice
Department to fill ,the post.
Pollak served in this important
capacity from March, 1965, until
he was appointed to the President’s
staf? last January.
Combined Qualities
What are the qualities which
tend to extract such rave reviews
from so varied and prestigious
a collection of bosses?
First, there is a well-trained,
precise legal mind. “Pollak,”
. Doar says, “gets a problem and
· analyzes it, and :;011 can d.epcnd
on his analysis.” Second, there
is a capacity to get along with
people and to manipulate bureaucracies.
The two do not
necessarily go together, but
Pollak, Cox remarks, “has the
kind of energy in getting things
done ,you don’t always find in a
good appellate lawyer.”
This, of course, speaks highly
of Pollak’s ability and ambition,
but does not necessarily spell
success in what in many ways is
the most difficult government
assignment he has landed so
far: Tile hours are Jong; the
problems, large; the authority,
small; the penalties for mistakes,
stiff; the criticism, loud;
the aggravations, many. Some
have raised questions about how
welt and how deeply Pollak
knows the problems of the
District and environs.
Does he know enough about
the Dislrict and its needs?
“Yes,” Horsky says. “Steve
took a lot of interest in cornmu.
nity affairs. He knew a lot of
people around the city, just tbe
kind of people he’d have to know
to- do a good job.” Pollak first
met bis predecessor at Covington
& Burling, where Horsky w-as
a partner before accepting the
White House post. Horsky
obviously, was one of Pollak’?
principal boosters for the job:
“Oh, I was all for him.”
“Yes,” says James Banks,
executive director of the United
Planning Organization, Washington’s
anti-poverty agency. “I
knew and worked with him when
he · was with W.P.H.A. (the
Washington Planning and Rous•
ing Association, ,a private,
liberal housing group which a.lso
was a ,training ground for Horsky.)
He’ knows and understands
the great probliims of the District.”
(Pollak, incidentally, at
one point served as president of
W.P.H.A., as had Horsky before
”Yes,” said the Rev. Walter
Fauntroy, chairman or the Coali•
tion of Conscience, “I first met
him when he was with the
W.P.H.A., and he impressed me
at that tlnie with bis sensitivity
to the housing problems of poor
people in general and Negroes
in particular. And he was part,icularly
helpful to me ;vhen he
was with the Justice Department,
during the voting rights
crisis• in Selma.”
“I don’t know him,” says
Julius Hobson, the -di.rector of
ACT who almost is institutionalized
as a militant civil rights
leader in the District. Horsky
was “too cautious” for Hobson,
who says, “Maybe it’s just that
kind or job.”
Started in 1962
The job is ”just that kind.”
When he created the post in the
summer of 1962, President
Kennedy made a point of saying
the job was not to supplant the
District Commissioners, but to
assist them. Nevertheless,
Horsky (he was the first appointee)
drew qt1ite a bit of criticism
in his tenure, much of it emanating
from the District Buildint,;,
to the effect that he was grabbing
the limelight (“He went
around town t<1lking like a
mayor,” on: critic remarked)
and cutting off direct communication
between the District
Commissioners and the White
There are many who feel that
Horsky was unjustly accused in
this respect, that ; in effect
President Kennedy wanted lo use
the post as a platform for ideas
to stir up a ·little activity. And
there are many who feel that
President Johnso11 views differently
both the job and the holder,
emphasizing the· mediating,
and the expediting that’s there
to be done and the information
that’s there to be co)lcc?ed and
passed along. More than one
person suggested that ‘Johnson
explicitly told Pollak to slay
bebinq the scenes. _
Some persons-mostly those
who asked, “Stephen who?” –
viewed Pollak’s appointment,
then, as a conscious effort 011 the
part or the President to change
the nature ?f .the job or simply
to destroy 1t In all but name.
The. President made it clear,
however; he’ll use Pollak’s staff
talents for more than just· the
tangled problems of the District.
Pollak also· was told to “handle
a wide-range of national ur•
ban affairs, working with Sec- –
retary of Housing and Urban
Development Robert Weaver.”
Secretary Weaver said last
– week that though “it hasn’t
quite jelled as yet, it’s evolv•
ing,” -and that Pollak most
likely will be the White House
in this field.
Out of His Way
In any event, Pollak is going
out of his way not to open himself
to the kind of carping
criticism which seems to be
endemic in the District’s compli·
cated governmental arrangement
where big job titles are
easy to find and real authority,
much more diffic11lt. Last week,
for example, Pollak was scien
slipping unobtrusively into a
House District subcommittee
hearing. He sat quietly with
other spectators, almost unnoticed,
and observed as .Walter
Tobriner, president of the
District Board of Commissioners,
· testified – on the District
Crime Commission report.
In refusing to grant an interview
to this reporter, Pollak
said: “It’s just how I conceive of
my responsibilities. I’m to
advise the President and I don’t
think that part of my responsibilities
are to be a public figure.”
End of interview.
“It’s a difficult thing to walk
into all of a sudden,” Horsky
remarks. “It’s one of those sixdays-
a-weck, lo-to-12-hours-aday
type job$.” Rorsky “sort of
tapered off” on the joh, he says,
helping Pollak to le.Jrn his way
around while he, Horsky, got
The Sunday S.tar
\va·shlngton, D.C., March 2(i, 1967
.. :
:, .
. ,,
back inlo the swing o! private
law pl·actlce..
First Big Test
One of the things Pollak
walked inlo all or a sudden Is !he
President’s plan for reorganrz.
ing the, District government,
prob?bly the roost complicalt:d,
dclicat? and poli,tlcnllr hol
prohlorn to come vp m the:
DisLrict. since the struggle over
home rule in 1065.
1’he plnn c?lling for replacing
the three Di?lrict Conunissio”•
ers wi? n,slng·1e.nrnyo1,cummissioner
snd nine-member council,
first was outlined in 11 special
me,;sagc lo the ‘.l:Jill on Feb. 27,
and it can be assumed Horsky
did a lot of the spadework on the
message. Th? pr·oposal cannot
be changed by Congress bec?use
it comes under the President’s
power to reorganize the executive
branch. Tbus an objection
on even tbe most p(c;yune of
points by a key man in Congress
could mean defeat for lhe entire
measure-and there have been
objections on point? more lban
Fo,·mal submission ot lhe plan
to Cong1·e_s? was expected
sevc,·al weeks ago, but the bUI
• has yet to arrive on tl\c Hill. Tile
White House, obviously, is
having its sham of tt·oublc
getting the measure inlo shape.
Tho ?ming struggle over
!Mrg?niiation will be a genuine
time o! trial fot· Stephen Pollak.
For the rest, the Issues one
gel? involv? in are as numc,r.
ous aild as J!Crpfoxlng llS the
problems which con[ront any
major ci?y t11day, “m11Hlplied by
six,” l{orsky remarks. The
multiplier factor, it has been
noted, ls that fr.eque.nlly in the
District it’s less a questi9n of
getting the man who can do Jt lo
do It, but ot.PersundiM the man
wbo can ?top it nol to stop It.
Obviously, the job calls £or a
tactician who is taclM in 1iigh
degree, a person with iron
nerves, -a reSQlute constitution
and thick skin, someona who is
relaxed,· generous, brilliant,
persuasive, , com”.1itted, and,
perhaps, lovmg, kind and good.
Stephen J, Pollak is ntlt TEA’l’
man, but.then, nobPdy is.
Family Man
Lawyers in C&S, the Sollcl·
tor General’s omce and tbe
Civil Rights Division, civil rights
lenders, and community volunteers
who worked with Pollak
before he accepted the present
job are convinced Pollai< has, In
reasonable mixtura, tho things
the job requires. They say he is
a skiJl(uJ politician-some said
“care(ul” and some said “cautious”
-a good diplomat, a cool
head, pl(lasaot, serious capable,
diligent, and, -as one female
wbo worked with b]p1 on a eommunity
organization pul, “a real
·sweet guy.”
A skier a.ncl a bmily man,
Pollak often pack? up his whole
brood . (Liuda, lZ, Davi(!, 11,
Roger, 7, E· 1e, s. ond wife, the
fotmer .Ruth B1\rlJnro Scheia[
old) and heads north dur[ng Ute
snow season . .Horsky’s incredible
assortment o! pipes are gone
from the /irsl-£1oor corner oftice
in the Exec.ulivo Of/ice Building
(“nicest office in l\’ashin!(lOn,
ex,cepl !or .the President’s,”
Horsky says), Pollak has re-
placed them wilh dJ’awings his 1 kids made in school.
The family lives on the treelined
streets of Cleveland !”ark,
in a twerstory slt1C’co bon>e ‘ ·
at 331 •1 Newark St. NW, and has
lived there for 10 years, since
Pollak joined C&l3,
Pollak has been on tae job for
two months, t.oo lilt!? lime lo
evaluate his effectiveness. The ·
point is Uiat to the Democratic
,;stabiisbment and IR>tr(al community
in Wa111tlngto11, Pollnk
belieV<ls in the risht things, nncl
Iurthermore, he has that impressiv
? iegRI 30d ad rninislralivc
background. Those who
don’t know him, and those
cxpcrlcnc”d In the WRYS of the
District, are walling nnd watch-
I ing with interest.
Honorable Sargent Shriver
March 8, 1965
Office of Economic Opportunity
Dear Sarge:
After considerable thought, I have decided to
accept the Attorney General I s invitation to take on the
reaponaibilitie1 of First Aseiatant in the Civil Righta
The decision was most difficul; for the past 11
months here have provided the beat job and the moat challenging
experience of my career. I have enjoyed an excellent working
relatiooaMp with Don Baker and feel we have built a
strong and capable law office.
The Civil Right• job 11 but another part of the
war to open opportunity. It presents a special challenge
to me per1onally and ae an attorney because it offers the
chance to participate directly in the development of the
law in this field which i1 10 senaitive and 10 central to
the United States, In addition, it offers unlilllited scope
for creative trial and appellate advocacy and a chance to
administer a large and complex legal staff.
The participation in the creation of OEO under
your leadership baa been a thrilling experience, Thank you
for asking me to join the ataff. 1 have enjoyed the work
. Although this means the end of my formal tie to
OEO, I hope that informally we will meet frequently and that
you will call upon – profesaionally often, either for poverty
or civil rights problems. My personal c011111itment to the OF.O
programs will continue. I would like to think that another
formal aaeociation with you is in the cards.
Whan con1idering thi• job, you ,aid, “Come along,
there will be lots of tough problems but it will be fun.”
It’s been all of that.