EDMUND D. CAMPBELL, ESQUIRE
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
Edmund D. Campbell, Esquire
Interviews conducted by:
William F. Causey, Esquire
October 7 and November 11, 1994
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface ……………………………………………………… i
Oral History Agreements
Edmund D. Campbell, Esq. …………………………………… ii
William F. Causey, Esq. …………………………………….. iv
Edmund D. Campbell, Esq. ………………………………….. vi
William F. Causey, Esq. ……………………………………… x
Oral History Transcript of Interviews on October 7 and November 11, 1994 ……… 1
Index ……………………………………………………… A1
The following pages record interviews conducted on the dates indicated. The interviews
were electronically recorded, and the transcription was subsequently reviewed and edited
by the interviewee.
The contents hereof and all literary rights pertaining hereto are governed by, and are
subject to, the Oral History Agreements included herewith.
© 1998 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 who sat on the U.S. Courts of the
District of Columbia Circuit, and judges’ spouses, lawyers and court staff who played
important roles in the history of the Circuit. The Project began in 1991. Most interviews
were conducted by volunteers who are members of the Bar of the District of Columbia.
Copies of the transcripts of these interviews, a copy of the transcript on 3.5″ diskette (in
WordPerfect format), and additional documents as available – some of which may have
been prepared in conjunction with the oral history – are housed in the Judges’ Library in
the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. Inquiries may be made of the Circuit Librarian as to whether the
transcript and diskette are available at other locations.
Such original audio tapes of the interviews as exist as well as the original 3.5″ diskettes of
the transcripts are in the custody of the Circuit Executive of the U. S. Courts for the
District of Columbia Circuit.
ED CAMPBELL ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
At The Offices of Jackson & Campbell, P.C.
Friday, October 7, 1994
Mr. Causey: Good morning, Ed. We are glad to have you
with us this morning. This is Friday, October
7, 1994. My name is Bill Causey. I’m here
with Jim Schaller and Maria Perugini at the
Offices of Jackson & Campbell, P.C. in
Washington, D.C., and we are going to be
taking the oral history of Edmund D. Campbell
for the Historical Society for the District of
Columbia Circuit. Ed, good morning.
Mr. Campbell: Good morning to you, sir.
Mr. Causey: What we are going to do for your oral history
is have three sessions. Today, we will spend
some time talking about your background,
personal history, and some of the cases that
you have handled and been involved in over the
years. During our second session, we will
talk about some personalities over the years
that you have known — judges, lawyers, and
other people. And in our final session, we
will focus on the history of this law firm,
which proudly carries your name Ed. Let me
begin by asking you if you could just give us
a brief biographical sketch of your early
life, when and where you were born, and where
you went to school.
Mr. Campbell: I was born in the last century, March 12, 1899
in Lexington, Virginia, the home of Washington
& Lee University. My father was a professor
there and my grandfather was also a professor
there, and the next door neighbor after the
Civil War of Gen. Robert E. Lee with whom his
family were closely associated. He
[grandfather] was also a friend of Stonewall
Jackson and was a pallbearer at Jackson’s
funeral. So I have quite a Confederate
background. I went to college at Washington &
Lee and graduated when I was 19. Then I went
into World War I for just a few months at the
end of 1918.
Mr. Causey: Where did you serve during the First World
Mr. Campbell: I was at Field Artillery Officers Training
Camp outside of Louisville, Kentucky. After
the war, I got a Masters Degree in Economics
at Harvard and then studied law at Washington
& Lee. I graduated there and took the
District of Columbia Bar in 1922.
Mr. Causey: What was the District of Columbia Bar exam
like in 1922? What did you have to do to pass
the Bar exam?
Mr. Campbell: Well, I know I had a typewriter and that gave
me an advantage over some of the others who
had to write it out in long-hand. It was a
pretty difficult exam. I don’t remember
anything about the details of it except that
only approximately 50% of those who took it
passed that year.
Mr. Causey: Was it a one-day exam?
Mr. Campbell: Yes.
Mr. Causey: Where did you take the exam, do you remember?
Mr. Campbell: No. It was inside a building but I don’t
remember where it was.
Mr. Causey: What was your first legal job?
Mr. Campbell: I really didn’t start practicing law until
1925. I was not at all sure I wanted to be a
lawyer and got a job with a professional
economist, who was working for John Lewis, the
head of the miners union.
Mr. Causey: Was that here in Washington?
Mr. Campbell: In Washington. He went broke and I had to
look for a lawyer’s job and in 1925 I found
Mr. Causey: What was your first legal job?
Mr. Campbell: Well, I was a young associate for the firm of
Douglas, Obear & Douglas, which had offices in
the Southern Building and was headed by Mr.
Charles A. Douglas of South Carolina. He was
a very distinguished trial lawyer in
Washington at the time.
Mr. Causey: Was the firm basically a litigation firm?
Mr. Campbell: I would say 50 percent litigation, yes. We
had only five employees including three
partners and two associates which actually was
about the same for law firms at that time.
There were very few firms with more than six
or seven members in size.
Mr. Causey: Do you remember your very first legal
Mr. Campbell: Well, I think the first legal assignment I had
was to carry Mr. Douglas’ bag on a trip he
made to Mexico and later to Cuba. He
represented a number of the oil companies; one
such company was Standard Oil of New Jersey.
He went to Tampico, Mexico and I went along
with him literally to carry his legal bag and
also to keep him company — he did not like to
travel alone. We went on the train. What I
remember about that trip is that he lost his
case with the court and the counsel on the
other side blatantly told him that he paid the
judge $10,000. It gave me a strange feeling
as to the workings of the judicial system.
Mr. Causey: That was your introduction to law practice?
Mr. Campbell: We also made a trip to Havana, Cuba. I don’t
remember much about it except I enjoyed Havana
and Mr. Douglas was very gracious in showing
Mr. Causey: When was your trip to Mexico and Cuba?
Mr. Campbell: In late 1925 or early 1926, I don’t remember.
I think the first actual case I had — I
remember — because it was one that I won and
was very proud of — some lady in Georgetown
(my mother had lived in the Georgetown section
of Washington and this was someone who knew my
mother) employed me to defend her in a suit by
somebody who had did some work on her house
and was claiming $300. In talking to her, I
reached a conclusion that she was very
dissatisfied with him and that’s the reason
she had not paid him. She said actually it had
cost her a good deal of money. He filed suit
against her in the Municipal Court and I said
well why don’t we file a counterclaim. We
filed a counterclaim for about $800. I tried
the case and not only did the contractor not
win on his $300, but we got a finding by the
Court, it was not a jury trial, of $500 on her
counterclaim. I was very proud of that. That
was, I’m sure, it was the earliest case I had
tried, and that was I think in about 1926 or
Mr. Causey: Is the house still there in Georgetown?
Mr. Campbell: I think so, but I don’t know.
Mr. Causey: Do you remember who the judge was?
Mr. Campbell: No I don’t. The Municipal Court heard cases
of $1,000 or less and I think there were about
eight or nine judges.
Mr. Causey: Where did the Municipal Court sit in 1926?
Mr. Campbell: I know the building and can visualize the
building and I think it was on the lower part
of 7th Street, not far from Pennsylvania
Avenue. I may be in error because it may have
been 5th Street, but not far from Pennsylvania
Mr. Causey: So you were an industrious associate at
Douglas, Obear & Douglas. Did you start
trying a lot of cases?
Mr. Campbell: I gradually got to trying a lot of cases.
Actually, they were good enough to make me a
member of the firm, I think around 1930. One
of the earliest developments I remember
getting involved in, and it was very
educational from my point of view, was
litigation and detailed work in connection
with receiverships for the Mayflower Hotel and
for some 8 or 10 buildings. The cheap ones on
a bond issue that had been put out by a New
York firm for Harry Wardman’s properties. He
was a great builder in Washington at the time
and he had built the Wardman Park, now known
as the Sheraton Park Hotel and the Carlton
Hotel at 16th & K Streets, which were supposed
to be the finest hotels in Washington at the
time and a number of apartments and office
buildings. They were all combined in the late
1920s in a big mortgage bond issue by a New
York firm called Halsey Stewart. After 1929
when the whole world seemed to collapse
economically, both the Wardman Park Hotel and
this other group of hotels went into
receivership. We represented the receivers of
the Wardman group and did some special work
for the receivers in the Mayflower group. It
was a real experience because you were working
in detail in what turned out to be important
Mr. Causey: So you liked that kind of work?
Mr. Campbell: I did like that kind of work. We also
represented the F. H. Smith Company, who had
financed a great many office buildings in
Washington. A number of them got into real
trouble in the early 1930s in the depression.
I got to trying a good many cases.
Mr. Causey: Let me ask you this, Ed. Back in the late
1920s and early 1930s, what was the District
of Columbia court system like? How was it
structured? Where was court held?
Mr. Campbell: I’m glad you asked that question because it
was so different from what it is now. The
United States District Court, I think had, as
I remember, about four judges. Those four
judges not only held the — it may have been
five — not only had the jurisdiction of
federal courts, but were nisi prius state
courts, if you want to call the District of
Columbia a state, for that purpose. They were
unique in their jurisdiction except that I do
believe that Puerto Rico and maybe Alaska, at
the time, may have had similar jurisdictions.
They tried divorce cases, they tried chancery
cases, they tried all damage suits, they tried
null contract cases, they tried everything.
Mr. Schaller: The Register of Wills Office was under the
Mr. Campbell: The Register of Wills Office, the Probate
Office was under the jurisdiction of that
court. Another thing in connection with it,
this was before the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure had been adopted, and you filed a
declaration or a bill in chancery, bill in
equity, whichever was appropriate, you filed
demurrers, plea in abatement, you filed pleas,
not answers, except in chancery, of course.
Mr. Causey: And this was all under the old code pleading
Mr. Campbell: It was really under the old common law
pleading system. It was really unique and we
still get some benefit from the Court of
Appeals’ decisions in matters of substance
that you would not ordinarily find a federal
judge to decide. It was also a U.S. Court of
Appeals of three judges. The courthouse was
located in this fine, old building and
occupying the entire square between 4th & 5th
Streets, John Marshall Place and E Street. The
building is still there and being used.
Mr. Causey: Now I believe you mentioned the Federal Rules
of Procedure — I think the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure were adopted initially in
1937. What was the reaction of members of the
Bar and the Bench when the new Rules were
being promoted and came into effect?
Mr. Campbell: I think it depended upon the lawyers. Some
lawyers did not like having to learn all over
again the Rules that we followed. Mr. Obear
didn’t think very much of them, but I liked
them. I didn’t realize the maze that we would
get into as a result of them.
Mr. Causey: Can you tell us something about your early
participation in the Bar Association?
Mr. Campbell: I became a member of the Association soon
after I went with the firm of Douglas, Obear &
Douglas. I have also been interested in and
active in it. I was appointed a Committee
Member at a fairly early date. Actually I
served on the Bar Association Committee that
proposed the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
I served on a Committee which studied those
Rules and made some suggestions at the time
before they were adopted. I have served on
many Committees since. I don’t know whether
you want to go into that now or not.
Mr. Causey: When you became a member of the Bar in 1925,
1926, how large was the D.C. Bar then? Do you
Mr. Campbell: No, I’m hesitant to make a guess on it. I
don’t know — it was comparably small —
certainly not more than a few thousand.
Mr. Causey: Was it an active Bar Association?
Mr. Campbell: Oh yes. It gave a special service to lawyers
that was really badly needed. It furnished the
lawyers libraries, so to speak, in the old
courthouse. The judges permitted it because
they got a benefit from the library being put
in the courthouse. I don’t recall our dues
but I think they were $10.00 or $15.00 a year.
Mr. Causey: I suspect as lawyers today, back then they
thought that was high.
Mr. Campbell: The Bar Association had always been active in
certain fields, primarily the library and then
social, then recommending upon judges, they
were always doing that, and following
prospective legislation in the Congress which
affected the District of Columbia.
Mr. Causey: Did you hold any position or office in the Bar
Association at any time?
Mr. Campbell: At any time? Yes, I served on a Special
Committee which was a Committee of Nine which
really was the agent of the Bar Association in
dealing with prospective legislation and also
in appointments to the federal bench. Then in
1962, I think I served as a Director before I
was elected President. I believe it was in
1962 that I was elected President of the
District of Columbia Bar Association and after
I had served as President, I was elected
several times by the Bar Association as one of
its delegates to the House of Delegates to the
American Bar Association.
Mr. Causey: Let me stay with the issue of your activities
with Bar Association Committees and Court
Committees for a moment. We’ll go back a
little bit to the ’30s and ’40s again. You
said a moment ago that the Bar took a role in
the appointment of judges. Was that an
active, meaningful role back then, or was it
just basically window dressing?
Mr. Campbell: No. The Bar always was interested in judicial
appointments, naturally. The Committee of
Nine would generally have a slate of two or
three and would seek an appointment with the
Office of the Attorney General for the purpose
of proposing the names. Sometimes the names
were accepted. I knew a number of persons
recommended by the Bar became judges on the
federal bench or in the Municipal Court.
Mr. Causey: So members of the Bar would meet with the
Attorney General of the United States to talk
Mr. Campbell: We would ask for an appointment with the
Attorney General. We generally were relegated
to one of his deputies. But not always. We
were well received. I remember distinctly
when I was on the Committee going to see the
Attorney General and it turned out to be a
Deputy Attorney General, who was none other
than Lawrence Walsh, who later served as
Special Prosecutor in the Iran Contra Hearings
Mr. Causey: Let me move forward a little bit, but stay on
the issue of Bar Committees and Court
Committees. I believe in the 1950s you were
asked to serve on the Civil Rights Committee.
Can you tell us something about that.
Mr. Campbell: Well, I was a member of the Civil Rights
Committee. This was in the period, I believe
it was after World War II, when, as it was
called, the “Negro Question,” was very much in
the public eye and the District of Columbia
Bar Association was all white. The Negroes
could not even use the library in the
courthouse. Agitation was coming and growing
as a result of the wartime service of Negroes.
Negroes had gone on baseball teams and it
became a matter of real concern. Agitation
for opening the Bar Association membership to
Negroes increased. On the other hand,
Washington was really a southern city as far
as its background of its inhabitants were
concerned. There was substantial opposition
to it. We on the Civil Rights Committee
recommended that the Bar Association
membership be opened to Negroes and I forget
what year it was opened. I’m sorry that I
can’t tell you the exact year, but it was the
mid-or late ’50s.
Mr. Causey: Do you remember who was on that Committee with
Mr. Campbell: Charlie Rhyne was President of the
Mr. Causey: Was that the Committee that Edward Bennett
Mr. Campbell: Yes, he was during part of the time.
Mr. Causey: I believe Abe Fortas was on that Committee.
Mr. Campbell: Mr. Fortas was on that Committee before he
went on the Supreme Court.
Mr. Causey: So the Committee met and considered the
question of opening the Bar Association to
Blacks and minorities and recommended that
that take place?
Mr. Campbell: Correct.
Mr. Causey: And is that when the Bar Association became
Mr. Campbell: Yes, sir.
Mr. Causey: So when you were President of the Bar in 1962,
was the Bar Association integrated in that
Mr. Campbell: Yes it was.
Mr. Causey: Do you remember any other committees you
served on in connection with the Bar
Association or any of the other Court
Mr. Campbell: Well, I served on a Committee but I cannot
tell you the name of the Bar Association
Committee which purported to supervise the
Mr. Causey: How did you supervise judges back then?
Mr. Campbell: We would meet and if we found a judge that we
did not think was acting appropriately, we
would make a certain recommendation. I
remember particularly Judge Alexander, of the
Municipal Court, who had many, many detractors
and many, many complaints filed against him.
He finally had to get off the Court.
Mr. Causey: How many members were on that Committee?
Mr. Campbell: I think there were five. I’m trying to think
of the other members, but my memory fails me.
I do remember Robert Bennett, who has
represented President Clinton in certain
litigation right now. I have served on a
number of other association committees and I
believe you have a list of some of them.
Mr. Causey: I believe you were on the Virginia Bar
Relations Committee with Oliver Gasch in the
mid-1960s. You were on the U.S. Court of
Appeals Committee on Admissions and
Mr. Campbell: That is correct.
Mr. Causey: Let me ask you some questions about the
development of the Unified Bar. You were
involved in the movement to establish a
unified bar, I believe, in the late 1960s. Is
Mr. Campbell: Yes.
Mr. Causey: What are your recollections of what that
debate was all about?
Mr. Campbell: From the District of Columbia Bar
Association’s point of view, it was viewed
with, shall I say — antagonism — because it
did not want any interference with the work
that it was doing. We realized that it had to
be done and really needed to be done. The
question of what the Unified Bar should do was
a highly controversial one. The Unified Bar
is, of course, another bar association. You
automatically had to become a member and the
committee recognized that and accepted it as
needed. The question was really the role of
the unified bar and there was substantial
controversy over that.
Mr. Causey: What was it that got people thinking about
having a mandatory unified bar? What led to
Mr. Campbell: My recollection was that it was the court that
was concerned and that the court wanted lawyer
discipline and bar responsibility.
Mr. Causey: This would be the D.C. Court of Appeals?
Mr. Campbell: Yes.
Mr. Causey: There was a lot of opposition to that?
Mr. Campbell: Let’s say dragging their feet. I don’t think
it was formal opposition to it.
Mr. Causey: I think that the first year of the formal
Unified Bar was 1971, I believe, is that your
Mr. Campbell: I can’t give you the date.
Mr. Causey: Ed, let me ask you some questions about some
of your cases over the years and I’ve been
fortunate enough to be able to review some of
the cases that you were involved in, in fact
many of the cases you were involved in, and
there are quite a few over your distinguished
career. Let me first name some cases and if
you could give me your recollections of some
of those cases, if you have some. I’ll do
this in chronological order so we’ll come
forward in time, but let me take you back to
1944. I think you were involved in a case
called Parmelee v. U.S.?
Mr. Campbell: Yes.
Mr. Causey: What was that case about?
Mr. Campbell: I had been asked by the American Civil
Liberties Union to represent them in this
case. I think this was the only case I
actually served with for the American Civil
Liberties Union in, but they really wanted to
test the obscenity law in its application to
nudism and there are federal statutes which
forbade the importation of obscene books and
provided for their confiscation. It permitted
the testing of the action of confiscation in
the U.S. Court of Appeals. There was a book
on nudism which was confiscated and I believe
Parmelee ordered the book. I didn’t know Mr.
Parmelee. I was really acting for the
American Civil Liberties Union. This book on
nudism — I looked at it and read it — and
really it was anything but sexy. Kind of
boring from that point of view! But it did
have some pictures. It had a frontal picture
of a nude man and it had a frontal picture of
a nude man and woman standing in front of each
other. Anything but sexy, but there they
were. The book was confiscated on the grounds
that it was obscene. I represented the
American Civil Liberties Union in attacking
the ruling and the Parmelee case was the
result. As I recall in the Parmelee case, it
was a 2 to 1 decision by the U.S. Court of
Appeals, the majority holding that under the
current mores the book was not obscene.
Mr. Causey: Do you remember who was the dissenting judge?
Mr. Campbell: The dissenting judge was Fred Vinson who later
became Chief Justice of the United States. He
became my warm, personal friend and actually
he became a friend of so many members of the
Bar. He had been a distinguished member of
Congress and I believe he had been Chairman of
the Committee called the Naval Affairs
Committee, but he was an expert on the Navy in
the U.S. Congress. I wondered whether he
would make a good judge. Actually, he turned
out to be a good judge.
Mr. Causey: Except for this one case?
Mr. Campbell: Yes!
Mr. Causey: Well, that was in 1944. You had another
interesting case in 1944 and that was the
Giese case. Do you remember that case?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, this was during World War II and Giese
was a conscientious objector. He had raised
his conscientious objection. He was not a
church man, but I reached the conclusion that
he honestly felt that war was morally a sin
and under any circumstances that he had no
right to participate.
Mr. Causey: So he did not want to serve in World War II?
Mr. Campbell: He did not want to serve in it. The Selective
Service Committee, I’m not sure if I’ve got
the exact name right, in the District of
Columbia, had called him up for service. He
raised the objection as a conscientious
objector. They ordered him to serve pending
the ruling. I raised the question of the
constitutionality of such action. I am not
sure I am stating the case legally or
completely accurately because my recollection
of 50 years ago is not as accurate as it
should be but in any event he was indicted and
tried before Judge David Pine in the District
Court and found guilty of criminally violating
the Selective Service Act laws. We appealed
the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the
District of Columbia, which was still then a
three-judge court as I recall, and the Court,
by a 2 to l decision, affirmed the conviction
of the District Court. I asked for certiorari
to the Supreme Court and certiorari was
granted. I remember arguing the case, in fact
this was one of my especially interesting
experiences as a lawyer. I was arguing the
case before the nine members of the Supreme
Court and after I had been talking for about
10 minutes, Justice William O. Douglas, who
had been sitting there, just suddenly and
without saying a word, got up, turned around,
turned his back on me, and walked out of the
Court, leaving only eight judges. I finished
arguing and the Court took it under
advisement. Several months later, I got a
one-sentence memorandum saying the Court was
divided 4 to 4, so the lower court was
therefore affirmed. That’s all the Supreme
Mr. Causey: Did you ever learn why Justice Douglas left
Mr. Campbell: Yes, I was determined to learn. Finally, I got
word from his Clerk that Justice Douglas had
helped President Roosevelt’s Administration in
the preparation of regulations for the
Selective Service and had decided that he
should not sit. So that’s how that case ended.
Poor Mr. Giese went to jail as I recall.
Mr. Causey: Do you remember the Howard v. Capital Transit
Mr. Campbell: Yes.
Mr. Causey: What was that case about?
Mr. Campbell: Virtually the only thing I remember in that
case is I lost it and the special reason that
I lost it, which came to be perfectly clear.
I had represented a lady who claimed she was
hit by a streetcar. The streetcars then came
to a stop adjacent to a platform. There was a
platform there and you got on the platform and
then got onto the car. Well, this lady, what
was her name?
Mr. Causey: Howard. Ms. Howard.
Mr. Campbell: Howard? Against Capital Transit?
Mr. Causey: Against Capital Transit.
Mr. Campbell: Ms. Howard, this lady, about 40-ish, turned
out to be 45 years old, claimed that the
streetcar came over the edge of the platform;
that the platform improperly came too close to
the streetcar and that she was on the platform
and hit by the streetcar. The defense was she
just got right in the way of the streetcar.
This was a jury trial and I remember Ms.
Howard going on the stand and answered the
questions very well and she was being
cross-examined by the Capital Transit Co.’s
counsel. In the course of his examination he
said, “By the way, Ms. Howard, how old are
you?” She said, “I’m 39.” He said, “Are you
sure you are 39?” She said, “Oh yes, I’m 39.
On my birthday, I’ll be 40 next January.”
Well, Capital Transit counsel then pulled out
a slip of paper and said, “Will you look at
this, Ms. Howard.” Then she turned completely
white! She said, “That’s my birth
certificate.” He said, “According to your
birth certificate, you are 45! Are you 45?”
She said, “Yes, I’m 45.” He said, “No further
questions.” It was a very dramatic and
shocking experience for all of us.
Mr. Causey: I take it you lost the case. Did you know she
Mr. Campbell: No, I knew she had told me she was 39. I did
not know she was 45, I thought she was 39.
Mr. Causey: So it was a surprise to you too?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, I was shocked.
Mr. Causey: Those things happen.
Mr. Campbell: Not only did it happen and she never forgave
me incidentally and I was a bit unhappy about
that because she seemed perfectly responsible
financially, we had advanced for her account,
the costs of the case and the costs of her
deposition. She never paid a dime of those
Mr. Causey: I was asking you about some cases that you
handled in the 1940s. Let me ask you about
one other matter that may have taken place at
that time. Do you remember being involved in
any of the hearings that investigated the
incident at Pearl Harbor in 1941?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, I do remember. My partner, Hugh Obear,
was directly involved there. After the war,
there was a Congressional investigation of the
situation in the American Navy, Air Force and
the Army, which indicated that they were
negligent in not knowing that the Japanese
were going to bomb Pearl Harbor, and in not
saying anything about it or doing anything
about it. I think it was Admiral Kimmel who
really lost his status in the Navy in
connection with the matter. Among those
investigated, however, was Admiral Stark.
Obear represented Admiral Stark in certain
Congressional hearings on the subject. I
forget exactly what position Admiral Stark
had, but I believe it was more or less staff
positions, rather than directly in the active
Mr. Causey: What role did you play in those hearings?
Mr. Campbell: I really played no direct role other than to
consult with my partner from time-to-time, or
rather he consulted with me, as lawyers do, to
bat the thing around to see what position you
Mr. Causey: Did you attend the hearings?
Mr. Campbell: No. I think I attended one of them. I played
no active role in them.
Mr. Causey: What was the result of the investigation?
Mr. Campbell: I do not think any censorship resulted against
Admiral Stark. That is my recollection.
Mr. Causey: Let me ask you about a few more cases.
Mr. Campbell: I used the word censorship. That is not the
word — I don’t think they found anything
Mr. Causey: Let me ask you, Ed, about a few more cases and
then we will come back and talk about the
court system in more detail. I know you were
involved in a number of cases that were
concerned with the racial situation that
existed in the country in the 1950s and
1960s. Can you tell us what you recall about
the case of James v. Duckworth?
Mr. Campbell: James v. Duckworth was the second case; the
first one was James v. Almond, they came one
right after the other.
Mr. Causey: These were in 1959 I believe, right?
Mr. Campbell: It was in 1958 they came. I remember vividly
being in my office in the Southern Building in
Washington when a group of businessmen came to
see me from Norfolk and said that they had to
do something about the Norfolk schools. The
Norfolk schools had been closed as a result of
the “massive resistance” laws of Virginia.
The “massive resistance” laws of Virginia,
which had been promulgated and furthered by
Senator Byrd, provided that if a court decree
became effective which directed the
desegregation of any Virginia school system,
that those schools affected would be
immediately, absolutely closed. The title of
the schools would be transferred from the
School Board to the Governor of the State and
the school could not be reopened unless and
until every parent of every child in the
school accepted the fact that it should be
reopened on a desegregated, integrated basis.
As a result of the application of that law,
Judge Hoffman in Virginia had ordered that all
of the schools in Norfolk admit 15 Negro
applicants who had applied. The schools were
thereupon closed and had been closed for a
couple of months and there were some 15,000
children in Norfolk out on the streets, so to
speak. These men, including a couple of
bankers, came to see me and said we can’t have
this in Norfolk, but the situation in Norfolk
is such that we cannot get what we consider a
high-class, reputable lawyer to represent us.
We’re much more interested in having the
schools opened than we are in whether they are
segregated or desegregated. “Would you be
good enough to represent us?” and they offered
me a substantial retainer. I talked with my
wife about it and decided that I could not
live with myself if I did not say I would do
it. So, I did accept it and we argued the
case before a three-judge court in Norfolk on
a motion for preliminary injunction. There
was a huge crowd in the courtroom; it was
overflowing. It was a very emotional period.
The court took the case and decided that
Virginia didn’t have to have any public school
system if they didn’t want to, but that it
could not close certain schools on the grounds
of race or direct integration and keep other
schools open at the same time and so entered a
mandatory injunction requiring the Governor to
reopen the schools. They appealed it to the
Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court did not
hear oral argument but reaffirmed the lower
court’s decision and schools were reopened on
January 19, 1959. I remember the date so
vividly because it was the birthday of my
Confederate hero, General Robert E. Lee, and I
wondered how he would feel if the schools had
been directed to be reopened on an integrated
basis on that date. The Virginia Legislature
was in session in the early part of 1959.
Senator Harry Byrd, Jr. (I think he was the
one) offered a resolution providing stopping
all appropriations for the public schools in
Virginia. In other words, the resolution was
to abolish the public school system in
Virginia rather than to integrate the schools.
That motion lost by a single vote. That’s how
close Virginia came to abolishing the public
school system in the State of Virginia, rather
than to integrate the schools.
Mr. Causey: Was that after this case or before the case?
Mr. Campbell: It was after the decision in the case. When
the court had ordered that the schools reopen
on January 19 and the resolution in effect
would have abolished any appropriations for
the purpose of reopening all of the schools in
the State. That failed by a single vote and
the schools were reopened and reopened without
incident, it was almost as though there was a
neurosis which was suddenly dispelled when the
world didn’t come to an end and all the little
children didn’t inter-marry when the schools
Mr. Causey: Now you were involved in a number of other
important cases concerning race relations in
Mr. Campbell: I had been involved in cases involving the
segregated seating city laws and one or two
others but they were not District of Columbia
Mr. Causey: One famous case you were involved in that I
would like to have you tell us about a little
bit is the Mann v. Davis case. That was one
of the first one-man, one-vote cases, I
Mr. Campbell: That’s right.
Mr. Causey: Its companion cases, I believe, were Sims v.
Reynolds and Hughes v. WMCA. I think there
may be one or two more companion cases. Is
Mr. Campbell: I think there were three or four of them that
we argued before the Supreme Court. The cases
involved the question of allotment of
delegates or state senators in the state
legislatures. Most states had provisions
that, at least the lower house, that the
delegates would be apportioned in accordance
with the population. But that provision in
the Constitution had been honored in the
breach rather than in the letter because the
legislators simply did not want to vote
themselves out of office and the provision was
being substantially ignored in legislatures
throughout the country. I had been asked by
the members of the House of Delegates and in
the State Senate in Northern Virginia to
represent them in the matter because we had
only one-third of the representation that we
were entitled to receive under the State
Constitution. The situation in New York,
Connecticut, Alabama, and Georgia was even
worse. We filed a lawsuit before a three-judge
court in Alexandria raising the issue, and the
court held that the Virginia legislature had
not complied with the Constitution in the
matter. The case was appealed, rather cert
was asked for and granted by the Governor of
Virginia and came before the Supreme Court for
joint argument with three similar cases which
I have referred to. I had the privilege or the
responsibility, you might say, of coordinating
the argument for all of the jurisdictions and
the representatives came here to Washington
and we talked about it and decided to make
argument. The Supreme Court spent more time,
I think, in hearing the argument on that case
than it had spent in any other cases before or
since, three and one-half days, I think it
Mr. Causey: That was in 1964 or 1965?
Mr. Campbell: It was one of those years.
Mr. Causey: Did you argue the case in the Supreme Court?
Mr. Campbell: Oh yes, yes.
Mr. Causey: What do you remember about the argument?
Mr. Campbell: Well, the primary thing I remember was the
position that the United States Department of
Justice took. They were represented by
Archibald Cox, who got involved in other
Mr. Causey: He was the Solicitor General?
Mr. Campbell: He was the Solicitor General. The United
States took the position that it was desirable
and that we were constitutionally entitled to
have proportionate representation in the lower
houses of the state legislatures. But because
of the practice in the United States Senate,
in having representation by states, the
Governor was not going to argue or take the
position that there should be equal
representation in the upper houses of the
state legislatures. I remember suddenly
pulling out of a hat the argument that
Virginia would step in — where I would be
possibly a fool, but fools step in where
angels fear to tread — and that I thought
that states voters were going to have equal
representation. There was no reason why
proportionate representation should not be
granted in the upper house, as well as the
lower house. It was a dramatic argument but
actually I think, if I want to brag for a
minute, I think it may have been one of the
most important cases in the century here in
the United States because if the state
legislatures had been permitted to go
indefinitely in the course that they were
pursuing, the rural areas would completely
control the veto on any modern legislation. I
do not think the Republic could have continued
to indefinitely exist under the circumstances.
I do recall getting some word, a little bird
told me, that he understood that the Court was
going to hand down its decision on a certain
day and if I wanted to, I better be in the
courtroom. I recall going to the Supreme
Court, and I wondered whether that was right
in that guess or not, but I saw sitting on the
side of the court the wives of most of the
Justices. I said, well that must be it, and
the Justices came in and did render the
opinion and it was as I recall, a 6 to 3 vote.
Mr. Causey: How did you know they were going to give their
opinion that day?
Mr. Campbell: Some lawyer told me. I forget who it was. I
don’t recall where or how he got the
information and I didn’t inquire.
Mr. Causey: If I remember correctly, Chief Justice Warren
wrote the opinion, is that right?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, the opinion came from Chief Justice
Warren. I have been told, and again, I do not
know the source, but I was told that the
primary writer of the opinion was Justice
White, but it came back under Chief Justice
Mr. Causey: Let me ask you about some other cases equally
as interesting, perhaps not with the far
ranging political magnitude that Mann v. Davis
and some of your other cases had, but again,
still focusing on the early ’60s, I believe
you were involved in the case involving the
moving of the Washington Senators to
Minneapolis. Is that correct?
Mr. Campbell: Yes.
Mr. Causey: Was that the Murphy v. Washington American
Mr. Campbell: Mr. Murphy held a minority interest in the
Washington Senators. He was vigorously
opposed to having the ball club moved to
Minneapolis and thought he had some right to
be heard to stop it. Clark Griffith, however,
controlled the majority of the stock. Murphy
wanted me to file a suit to make them rescind
their movement to Minneapolis. Frankly, I
knew we didn’t have much of a case because the
majority generally had a right to determine
what would be done with the ball club. We
took the position that it was an abuse of
discretion and that it was against the
interest of the ball club. I don’t know what
other grounds we took, we argued it. But, I
remember going out to Minneapolis and enjoying
very much taking the depositions of Griffith
and some of the ball players, which was an
interesting experience. But, the lower court
decided against this and the appellate court
affirmed it. Roger Robb, my close friend,
represented Clark Griffith and the majority
interest in the Washington Ball Club. He
later became a member of the United States
Court of Appeals.
Mr. Causey: I imagine you had a lot of supporters behind
Mr. Campbell: That’s right! That’s right! We had more
supporters than we had law!
Mr. Causey: Were you a baseball fan?
Mr. Campbell: Oh yes.
Mr. Causey: You went to Griffith Stadium a lot and watched
Mr. Campbell: Yes, I went to Griffith Stadium over and over.
Mr. Causey: Now another case that you were involved in, I
believe in the mid-’60s, which was a case of
some notoriety, was the case involving the
United Mine Workers. Do you remember that
case? I think the case was Howard v. Brown.
Mr. Campbell: Oh, no, that did not involve the United Mine
Workers, it involved Judge Goldsborough, whose
chief claim to fame was that he had been a
judge in World War II in the 1940s and he
showed real courage in fining John L. Lewis,
who ran the United Mine Workers, of which
Lewis was president of, fining them $2 million
for contempt of court because they had not
obeyed an order to resume mining during the
war. It was Judge Goldsborough who was
presiding in this case, it had some interest,
I think personal interest, it certainly did to
me. Before a jury I was representing a man
named Howard from Wilmington who was a lawyer
there and who had represented this firm,
headed by Brown, in connection with one of his
corporations in Wilmington. The State of
Delaware had jurisdiction over some matters
related to their corporate structure and had
sent him a bill for $10,000 which had not been
paid and he asked me if I would represent him
in the case. The case came on before Judge
Goldsborough and a jury. I remember the case
very well because of what happened during the
case. We argued the case, both sides put on
witnesses, but I remember one of our
witnesses, in fact it was Mr. Howard himself,
when giving his testimony before the jury, was
telling his story, and right in the middle of
his testimony, the judge made a snorting
sound, we looked at the judge and the judge
was sound asleep. I mean sound asleep! What
would we do? When I went to law school I was
not taught what to do if a judge goes to sleep
in the middle of the trial. Obviously, we
stopped and waited for about two minutes. The
jury was just as interested in the drama as we
were. What would we finally do? I remember
asking the marshal who sits by the judge
closely. I said, “Would you tap the judge and
get him awake so we can proceed. He looked at
me and said, “Mr. Campbell, if you want the
judge awake, I think you better do the
Mr. Causey: Well, how did you wake up the judge?
Mr. Campbell: What are going to do? What actually happened
and what we finally did was, Mr. Howard, the
witness, as you know in the courts of the
District of Columbia, sits up there on the
pedestal by the court. Howard finally touched
the judge and the judge jumped and said, “Ask
your next question, Mr. Campbell.” Actually,
we won the case.
Mr. Causey: Was it a jury trial?
Mr. Campbell: Yes it was.
Mr. Causey: Now. Moving forward a little bit into the
later part of the 1960s, you were involved in
an important case involving the desegregation
of the D.C. school system, I believe. That
was the Hobson v. Hansen case?
Mr. Campbell: Yes. In that case, Mr. Thomas Jackson, whose
name is in this firm and one of the founders
of this firm, 10 years before we became
partners, asked me if I would join him in
attacking the detailed directions given by the
District Court with respect to the
administration of the District schools under
the desegregation laws. In a case in the
District Court, Judge Skelly Wright of the
United States Court of Appeals, had come and
accepted an assignment in the district court
to try the case. Judge Skelly Wright had come
out with a detailed direction for management
of the District of Columbia schools that I
thought was outrageous in the sense that he
was trying to be superintendent of schools and
going to elaborate details as to just what was
to be done under every detailed circumstance
that might arise. We appealed it to the Court
of Appeals from his decision. Judge Bazelon,
who was also a highly-liberal and I call an
extremist on the Court of Appeals, was
sitting, I believe Judge Burger was sitting,
too, on the Court of Appeals. We argued that
case, but we didn’t get very far. I think we
got a divided court, as I recall in that case,
but we lost it when the case was affirmed.
Mr. Causey: Did you handle any other cases with Tom
Jackson before the two of you became partners,
is that the only case?
Mr. Campbell: No, I don’t recall any other case. I don’t
think I handled any other actual trials with
Jackson before then. We had been associating
on opposite sides in many matters which had
not come to trial.
Mr. Causey: I believe you also had a case in which you
were representing — was it a Russian spy?
What was that case all about?
Mr. Campbell: That’s in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Judge Oren Lewis of the United States District
Court of the Eastern District wanted to
appoint somebody to represent a man being
accused of being a Russian spy who had been
employed in the Defense Department, an
American citizen. He appointed Ed Pritchard
of Fairfax and me to represent him. We found
out after conversations with him that it was
no doubt that he was a Russian spy. He used
to take detailed material concerning the
weapons that the United States had and details
and information concerning them were taken and
delivered to a Russian representative in the
parking lot at Seven Corners, a shopping
center in Fairfax County, Virginia. He
finally admitted it. The case was interesting
because of the subject matter, but we finally
persuaded him to plead guilty and he was
sentenced and served a term.
Mr. Causey: Do you remember what year that was?
Mr. Campbell: I think it was in the late ’60s, but I’m not
Mr. Causey: I believe you also had a case involving the
Hatch Act, did you not?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, that involved the Hatch Act. That was
also a Northern Virginia case in which we
attacked the constitutionality of the Hatch
Act, but did not get very far, it was
sustained in the Court of Appeals.
Mr. Causey: What do you think over your long career, what
do you consider your most important case that
you worked on? Important as having the most
far-reaching effect on the law and on our
Mr. Campbell: Well in no uncertain question, it was the one
man, one vote cases. That, together with the
massive resistance case in Virginia was, I
think, the most exciting cases I had. The
Supreme Court had already in Brown v. Board of
Education decided the fundamental principle in
the desegregation cases in 1954. So, in a
real sense, the massive resistance decision
case that we had in 1959 was simply carrying
out the decision which had already been made.
The one man, one vote cases really established
very important new law I think for the United
Mr. Causey: What was the most interesting case that you
think you worked on in your career? Do you
have one or two that stand out as being the
most interesting, most challenging to you as a
Mr. Campbell: I’m going to ask my partner, Ben Dulany, to
comment briefly here on a case that he and I
had with James Benn.
Mr. Dulany: Garfield v. Sankin. Joe Garfield arrived at
the office and told Ed a story that was a real
cock and bull story and it strained credulity.
So Ed got a court reporter, put him under oath
and took his deposition sitting in Ed’s
office. In a sense he had let him ramble, it
wasn’t strictly a question and answer, but he
would give him a broad question and let him go
through his whole story. We kept that in the
office safe in case somebody raised a question
later that we were taking a case that we
shouldn’t have taken. Ed for once did not
make the best fee arrangement. We tried that
case for three weeks one year, had a mistrial.
Took it up again the following September,
adopted the three weeks testimony and we tried
the case before Judge Bill Jones and we lasted
until about Christmastime and he finally
decided on liability and we went back for
another two or three weeks in January on
damages before a Special Master. Bill Jones
wrote a 99-page opinion. He said he always
said he would never write a 100-page opinion
so he stopped on the 99th page and we were
able to renegotiate and came out pretty well
on it. The subject was over the ownership of
the Garfield Apartments out on Connecticut
Avenue. There was the world’s great con man
by the name of James T. Benn and he had
hornswoggled Garfield and he had gone to bed
with Garfield’s wife. There was money buried
out in a tin can in the back yard. He had in
the office of Hammill, Park & Sanders, hidden
in their air conditioning, he had a briefcase
full of money. We had diamond brokers who
were both bona fide purchasers — It looked
like Damon Runyon really, the cast of
characters and it went on and on and on.
Mr. Campbell: I remember at the end of that case James
Benn’s lawyer came in the office and suggested
some compromise of some action which was
obviously tainted and no one honorable could
get involved in it. And I remember, this was
the only time that I had actually did this,
ordering him out of the office.
Mr. Dulany: He then went ahead and dropped his lawyer and
tried the case pro se. He just made a
monkey’s circus out of his game.
Mr. Campbell: You remember you said that Judge Jones enjoyed
Mr. Dulany: Well, he got Holtzoff was in it at one point
on some motions and he used the first time we
had comparable negligence. He was arguing
that back and forth. Really he didn’t put it
in those words but that is what it came down
to. Benn had been in Tax Court before Judge
Kern and the Tax Court opinion had some of the
most scathing language referring to James T.
Benn and what kind of a crook he was and how
he sold bearer stock and all the myriad of
things that were crazy and I kept trying to
get it into evidence. I knew it was
inadmissible but I wanted to get it in anyway
and every night I would come back from trial
and Ed would say “You didn’t get that damn
fool opinion in evidence did you?” I said,
“No, but I tried” and he would moan and groan.
Finally, one day Judge Jones’ law clerk came
up to me, it was on a Friday, and said “Could
I borrow that opinion, I would like to read
it.” I said, “Certainly.” So, I lent him the
opinion and I never tried to get it admitted
again — I knew it had been admitted de facto. Bill Jones would never admit that he had read
it but I am sure he had.
Mr. Campbell: There were a lot of other dramatic cases that
I have been involved in but I believe that
they were more dramatic to me than I think
that they might to other people and I don’t
believe there would be any advantage in
talking about them here.
Mr. Dulany: How about your criminal case, Ed?
Mr. Campbell: Which one?
Mr. Dulany: Alan Kay.
Mr. Campbell: Well, we represented Alan Kay and it was an
Eastern District of Virginia case but it was
tried in Norfolk because they were afraid they
could not get a fair jury in Alexandria. Alan
Kay was charged with having bribed the members
of the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County
in order to get the zoning that he wanted. I
recall we tried that case and I think Ben
Dulany did most of the trial work there but I
recall arguing the case and I understand that
I transgressed the duties of my office there
by saying that I was getting to be an old man
and that Alan Kay was young enough to be my
son and he could not have committed this
offense. Ben Dulany has reported to me that
the court leaned forward as though he were of
the opinion that that was not a good legal
argument but it seemed to work in this case.
We got Kay off.
Mr. Causey: There is another case that someone mentioned
to me that really was not a judicial case, but
it was a case in the Ecclesiastical Courts.
Do you remember handling that case?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, that involved the right of a woman priest
who had not been recognized formally by the
Episcopal Church to administer communion. In
the early days before women were recognized as
legitimate priests in the Episcopal Church, a
group of retired bishops had purported to
ordain certain women as priests. Their action
was not recognized by the presiding Bishop of
the Episcopal Church because the general
convention of the church had not authorized
women priests. Of course, whether or not
women should be priests was a highly
controversial issue at the moment. Father
Wendt, who was a rector of a church in the
District of Columbia, got one of these
purported women priests to administer
communion in his church whereupon the bishop
of the diocese of the District of Columbia
brought charges against Father Wendt and
assigned the matter to a three-judge panel to
hear on the question of whether Father Wendt
should be censured, demoted, de-frocked, or
what should be done with him. Well, this
panel asked if I would serve as an “assessor,”
which means legal advisor to the panel, in
which I did. I remember the panel and we were
trying to get formal in the matter and when we
heard the case we all wore academic costumes
to try to increase the formality of the
hearing. The chief thing I remember in the
hearing, incidentally, the panel decided 2 to
1 that they would censure Father Wendt, but
not de-frock him. I was opposed to anything
being done, but I did not have a vote. The
lay member of the panel also dissented. But,
during the hearing, we decided that it would
be a good plan and might help us or help the
court a little if we got the presiding Bishop
of the Episcopal Church, you know there is a
presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, to
be a witness. We didn’t think he would want
to come, but we concocted an idea that we
would act as though we were a formal legal
body acting under the law and so we proceeded
to subpoena the presiding Bishop and we mailed
him a copy of the subpoena, directing him to
come on such-and-such a date. I said mailed
him a copy, I believe we telegraphed it. The
presiding Bishop sort of thumbed his nose at
us and said he was going up to Canada that
day. Whereupon again presumptuously, but very
interestingly, I got the Ecclesiastical
Tribunal to issue a formal decree holding that
the presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
was in contempt for ignoring the subpoena that
had been issued against him. Well, the chief
draw in that case is that it made the front
page of the New York Times.
Mr. Causey: Did the court hold the Bishop in contempt?
Mr. Campbell: The Ecclesiastical Court held him in contempt,
but we couldn’t put the presiding Bishop in
jail, so he was just out in contempt and that
Mr. Causey: How did that case end up?
Mr. Campbell: By 2 to 1 vote, the Ecclesiastical members of
the court voted over the objection of the lay
member of the court to reprimand Father Wendt.
Mr. Causey: In these cases that we have been talking
about, who do you remember as being your most
Mr. Campbell: I can’t answer that though I had a great many
Mr. Causey: Which ones stand out in your mind thinking
about these cases?
Mr. Campbell: Let me think about that and report back. I
can’t answer that right now. I wouldn’t know
how to answer it right now.
Mr. Causey: Ed, to conclude this segment of your oral
history, we have been talking about all of
these cases that you handled over the years,
can you tell us a little bit about how the
court itself functioned, how it scheduled
matters, what the day-to-day practice of law
was like before these courts, particularly the
Mr. Campbell: Let me say first, that in all of my years of
experience in the District of Columbia, I have
never appeared before a judge that I thought
was corrupt. Some of the judges are much
better than the others, but all of them, from
my point of view, tried to do a good job and
that’s quite a tribute, I think, to the
judicial system in the District of Columbia.
In the early days, the district courts did not
have cases assigned directly to them. They
took potluck and a judge might hear part of a
case and another judge hear another part of
it. On Friday mornings, running from 10:00
a.m. to whatever time a judge would sit, say
from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the judge would
hear all motions, every Friday. When we
finally came to the trial of a case as I say,
the assignment of a case, that part of the
case was by lot so to speak or just to the
judge that happened to be open at the time.
You want to know what his practice was?
Mr. Causey: You say motions were heard on Fridays?
Mr. Campbell: Well the motions were heard on Fridays. The
trials were held on the other days.
Mr. Causey: How long would judges sit during an average
day of a jury trial?
Mr. Campbell: Until 3:30 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. If you got
Oliver Gasch or some of the other judges they
would sit until 5:00 p.m.
Mr. Causey: We will have another segment where we will
talk about your recollections of judges, in
particular, but are there any judges that
stand out in your mind as being outstanding
jurists that you appeared before?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, but I would like to answer that the next
Mr. Causey: We will save that for the next session. Well,
Ed, we’ve been spending the last almost two
hours, a little over two hours, talking about
some of your cases that you’ve handled in your
career and it’s evident from our discussion
that you have had a remarkable career at the
Bar, involving a number of fascinating cases
and interesting personalities and very
Mr. Campbell: It’s a long time!
Mr. Causey: It’s a rich history of involvement at the Bar
and I want to thank you for spending some time
with us this morning to talk about these
cases. During our next session we will talk
about some of the judges and lawyers and some
of the personalities that you remember over
the years when you were at the Bar. Anything
you want to add as we finish this segment on
your cases and your personal background?
Mr. Campbell: No, I’m glad to give whatever information I
have on my experiences.
Mr. Causey: Well this is very helpful and very
Mr. Dulany: May I add one thing — During the entire time
that I have practiced law with Ed I have never
known him when he was not enthusiastic and
happy with what he was doing. I have never
known him to be fed up with the law or even a
particular case in the law. Maybe he has been
but he never showed it.
Mr. Causey: Well, that is quite a compliment. Ed, thank
you again for joining us this morning. This
ends this segment of the oral history with
Edmund Campbell and this is October 7, 1994.
ED CAMPBELL ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
At The offices of Jackson & Campbell, P.C.
Friday, November 11, 1994
Mr. Causey: My name is Bill Causey and with me is Ed
Campbell and Maria Perugini and this is the
second session of our oral history interview
with Ed Campbell for the Historical Society
for the District of Columbia Circuit. Today
is Friday, November 11, 1994. Ed, good
Mr. Campbell: Good morning.
Mr. Causey: Ed, what I would like to do today is to ask
you to share with us some recollections about
different judges and lawyers and individuals
that you have worked with over your long and
illustrious career. You’ve been a practicing
lawyer in this city since 1925, so you have
had a chance to meet and work with and argue
before and get to know a lot of people in the
legal community in Washington, including a lot
Mr. Campbell: That is right, sir.
Mr. Causey: When you were in your first few years of
practice as a young lawyer arguing cases, do
you remember any particular lessons that you
learned from judges in those early cases that
have stayed with you for your entire career?
Mr. Campbell: Well, I think the first lesson is to keep on
the subject. The second lesson is to talk to
and communicate with the judges. In fact, I
think that is the most essential thing in the
trial of a case, to communicate and talk to
people and not at them. Some young lawyers
have briefed their cases and can read extracts
from the cases and unless you are actually on
a one-to-one basis with the jury or the judge,
you are really wasting your time. I think
that is the principal lesson.
Mr. Causey: Do you remember some of the judges that you
appeared before in your first few years of
Mr. Campbell: I am sure I do. One of them was, in fact, the
most startling one from my point of view, was
Judge Bailey. Judge Bailey was a federal
judge in the United States District Court. I
think he was there in the late 1920s or
certainly in the 1930s. Have you got a list?
Mr. Causey: Yes. Thomas Jennings Bailey.
Mr. Campbell: When did he go on the bench?
Mr. Causey: I have him serving in the District Court from
1918 to 1963.
Mr. Campbell: Right. A long session.
Mr. Causey: What do you remember about Judge Bailey?
Mr. Campbell: Well, Judge Bailey scared every young lawyer
that ever appeared before him, he scared us to
death! He came, I think, from Kentucky or
perhaps it was Tennessee. He came on the
bench without ever really having practiced
law. He was an able man in the sense that he
knew the rules of law pretty well. He had
studied it and he had been a clerk in one of
the courts. He had no warmth or relationship
with the lawyers that appeared before him
except to talk at them. He stated his
conclusion of the law in words that left no
tact that that was it. He was absolutely
without mercy, shall I say, or without give in
setting a time for the trials of his cases or
for the hearing the motions and you were
either there or you would regret it for some
Mr. Causey: Do you remember any particular cases that you
tried before Judge Bailey?
Mr. Campbell: I don’t believe I can pick out any one. I
know I lost several of them.
Mr. Causey: What do you think are the qualities that make
for a good judge?
Mr. Campbell: A good judge must have an intuitive knowledge
of right and wrong in the cases that come
before him. He must always be able to see the
forest and not simply get lost among the
trees. He must be able to cut through, shall
I say the crap in a case, and get to the heart
of it. In his dealings with lawyers, he
should be courteous at all times, firm in his
rulings, and hear the case even though he
knows what he is going to decide in advance,
or at least thinks he knows. He should never
pre-judge a case and he should not let the
lawyers think he has pre-judged it. He should
not talk to the lawyers in such a way as to
let them think he is not hearing them out.
Mr. Causey: Do you think that over your career, judges
were better in the earlier days than they have
been in the past 20 years, or do you think
that judges have become better at judging in
the past 10 or 15 years?
Mr. Campbell: I don’t know if I can make any decision of
feeling that way. I think the cases have
become much worse in a sense.
Mr. Causey: More difficult, complex?
Mr. Campbell: Yes. They have become more difficult and
complex, but also they have become overly
burdened and I think cursed really, by a
terrific abuse of the discovery process. I
think the handling of the trial of cases where
every witness is really testifying twice and
the way it becomes a trial, not of so much of
testimony as a trial of paper, that it has
been a great loss of the essence of right and
wrong in a case as the result and I wish we
could seriously consider restricting the
discovery process. Judges are busy. They
don’t want to take the time to get into
arguments with the lawyers over whether or not
they are abusing the deposition process. I
think that is the greatest curse in modern
Mr. Causey: Did you ever want to be a judge?
Mr. Campbell: I thought at one time I would like to be an
appellate judge. I didn’t think I had the
physical stamina to take the day-to-day grind
of trial judges. In fact, the Bar Association
on two occasions recommended me for judge of
the U.S. Court of Appeals, but I was Virginian
and our Virginia leading Senator was Harry
Byrd. I was not a follower of Harry Byrd. He
considered me a wild-eyed radical or liberal
and I didn’t get very far.
Mr. Causey: So there was some political opposition to you
going on the bench?
Mr. Campbell: Well, political or let’s put it as lack of any
affirmative support from the Virginia
Mr. Causey: Well, you were such a vigorous and successful
trial lawyer and I am interested to hear you
say you didn’t want to be a trial judge, but
an appellate judge. Did you enjoy in your
practice appellate work more than trial work?
Mr. Campbell: Oh, yes. I enjoyed appellate work I think
more than trial work.
Mr. Causey: Why is that?
Mr. Campbell: I loved appearing before a bench having three
judges and having really analyzed the case
very well, and being able to engage in a
colloquy with the court. I was quite
successful in that field. I think in one
sense I was better at that than I was at jury
trial. I enjoyed jury trial, but I enjoyed
batting the law around, if I might say, with
the appellate judges more than I did arguing
the facts before a jury.
Mr. Causey: Well, let me ask you about some appellate
judges that you have appeared before in your
career and if you could share with us some of
your recollections about these people. Tell
us what kinds of people they were and what it
was like to be before them as a lawyer.
Charles H. Robb served on the United States
Court of Appeals from 1906 to 1937. Do you
remember Judge Robb?
Mr. Campbell: I remember Judge Robb. I don’t remember too
much about him. I have appeared before him.
He was a rather small man.
Mr. Causey: Small in size?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, small in size. My impression of Judge
Robb was that he was not outstanding, but a
responsible and predictable judge and a good
one. He was very courteous on the bench and
listened to those who argued before him. I
don’t think I was before him more than a
couple of times.
Mr. Causey: Was Roger Robb his son?
Mr. Campbell: I thought about that coming in this morning
and I think he was. Roger was my very good
and very close friend and he, Roger, enjoyed
being on the bench very much.
Mr. Causey: It may in fact be the only criminal case that
I was appointed to represent the defendant
before the Court of Appeals. It was a case in
which Judge Roger Robb was the presiding judge
and I remember going into the argument
thinking that there was no way I was going to
convince him to reverse the conviction given
the record that we had, but my distinct
recollection of that argument was how
courteous he was to me and how attentive he
was during the argument and I really enjoyed
appearing before him. He was a good friend of
yours, Roger Robb?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, Roger and I were good friends for many
years. He was a practicing lawyer for a long
time before he was appointed judge. I
remember we were on opposite sides of a case
involving the Washington Baseball Club. I was
representing a substantial minority
stockholder in that case and he was, I
thought, being abused by Mr. Griffith, the
majority stockholder who had moved the team
from Washington out to Minneapolis. I was
taking a deposition over there in Minneapolis
one day in the winter and Roger had gone out
to Minneapolis the day before to confer with
his own clients out there. I remember that
night before I was going to Minneapolis he
called me up. We were on opposite sides but
not very bitter enemies because he said, “Ed,
if you are coming out here to Minneapolis, you
get your long underclothes and bring them out
because this is the coldest weather I have
ever seen.” Well, I didn’t get very far with
Mr. Griffith in the depositions. Roger was
also involved in the atomic energy claims
against Lindenthal I think his name was, who
was accused as one of the brilliant people in
the development of the atomic bomb and Roger
had been appointed to investigate him because
he was accused of collaboration with the
Russians. The Russians, of course, were our
partners in the War but we did not want to
disclose any atomic materials to them. I know
that Roger reached the conclusion that there
was something to that. Just as Alger Hiss was
alleged to have been involved, Roger Robb
reached the conclusion that Lindenthal was
guilty of loose handling of the relationship
with Russia, but he was a good judge. Very
Mr. Causey: Another judge that served on the U.S. Court of
Appeals in the ’20s and ’30s when you were in
your first few years of practice was a Josiah
Mr. Campbell: I can’t tell you anything about him and I
appeared before him once and was well
received. He had a handlebar moustache. I
Mr. Causey: How about Judge Justin Miller, do you remember
Mr. Campbell: Only in a general way. Judge Miller had no
particular personality. He was, I thought, a
little more conservative in his application of
the law than I would like, but he was a fine
man as far as I know.
Mr. Causey: Now, I believe you knew Judge Fred Vinson
Mr. Campbell: Yes, I did.
Mr. Causey: What are your recollections about Judge Vinson
before he went to the Supreme Court?
Mr. Campbell: Well, I was active in the Bar Association even
at that time and I remember Judge Vinson at
the annual outings of the Bar, playing poker
with me, and he was a very outgoing man.
Mr. Causey: Was he a good poker player?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, he was a poker player, not very
high-stake poker at some of these outings.
Judge Vinson had been in Congress and I think
he was chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee
but he was a naval expert in Congress. We
were good friends and his son, Fred, Jr., went
to college with my son, Ed, Jr. and we saw
each other on Bar occasions. I didn’t have any
other social relationship with him, but I
admired his integrity. I never thought he was
a brilliant jurist but he was alright. I
believe he was Secretary of the Treasury, too,
at one time.
Mr. Causey: I’m not sure about that, he may have been.
Judge Henry Edgerton served on the Court of
Appeals for a long time; from 1938 to 1970. Do
you remember him?
Mr. Campbell: Oh, yes. I remember him well. I think he had
been a professor, I’m not sure. He was a
scholar. He was in the period when the U.S.
Court of Appeals was pretty well divided
ideologically between the ultra liberals in
the civil rights movements and the
conservatives. He was definitely in the
liberal block. Once I recall I had been on
the Committee of the Bar proposing some
suggestions with respect to Rules of Civil
Procedure and the Appellate Rules in the U.S.
Court of Appeals, too. I remember, with
respect to the latter, having appeared before
the Court of Appeals and made suggestions with
respect to them, and they were, I thought,
rather quietly and not too favorably received
by the Court, but Judge Edgerton came to me
afterwards and said we are going to have to
get some resolution passed by the Court of
appreciation for the work of this Committee
and I always thought that was a nice gesture
at least on his part. I got along very well
with him. He was a good judge.
Mr. Causey: Judge Barrett Prettyman was the Chief Judge of
the Court of Appeals.
Mr. Campbell: Judge Prettyman was an outstanding man and an
outstanding judge. He had been Corporation
Counsel in the District of Columbia and I
would call Judge Prettyman, well almost
ideally he met my concept of what a judge
should be in his relationship with the Bar and
his ability to separate the forest from the
Mr. Causey: Do you remember Judge Fahy?
Mr. Campbell: Yes. Judge Fahy had been the United States
District Attorney in the District of Columbia.
He was well thought of as a judge. I don’t
have a feeling that he was a masterful judge,
but he was alright.
Mr. Causey: Wasn’t he the Solicitor General of the United
States before he went on the Court of Appeals?
Mr. Campbell: I don’t know the answer to that question.
Mr. Causey: I believe he was. Thurman Arnold — do you
remember being in front of Judge Arnold?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, he was during my very early days. Big
man. When he spoke, his voice reverberated
through the courtroom. He had a sort of
dominating position in the court, that is,
when he spoke you listened. I have no basis
from personal experience to pass on his legal
ability, only his manner.
Mr. Causey: Let me ask you about another Judge. Judge
James Proctor. Do you remember being before
Mr. Campbell: Judge Proctor I knew well and I think I only
had one case before him. He had been on the
United States District Court in the District
of Columbia and was a thoughtful, not
brilliant, but a thoughtful, thoroughly
adequate judge. He was promoted to the U.S.
Court of Appeals. I don’t think I ever
appeared before him when he was on that bench.
Mr. Causey: Let me ask you, Ed, your recollections of some
more recent judges that are on the U.S. Court
of Appeals and let me begin with Judge Skelly
Wright. What recollections do you have of
Judge Wright who was quite a legal judge?
Mr. Campbell: Judge Skelly Wright had come up to the U.S.
Court of Appeals from the U.S. District Court
in New Orleans where he had been a mainstay in
support of the Department of Justice’s efforts
to enforce the bound against the Board of
Education ruling of the Supreme Court in
desegregating the schools and had won for
himself great unpopularity because of his
rigid determination that the ruling of the
Supreme Court would be enforced despite the
vigorous opposition of the New Orleans
populace. Judge Wright, I appeared before him
a number times, was, along with Chief Judge
Bazelon, of the U.S. Court of Appeals, an
extremely liberal judge. Now I use the word
liberal in relating to criminal cases and the
right of the defendant in criminal cases. I
thought, and I think the Bar generally
thought, that Skelly Wright and Chief Judge
Bazelon, went way overboard in reversing
convictions on almost any grounds. In fact,
lawyers used to think that those two judges
just had a feeling that people ought only be
convicted. You will find over a period of
almost a generation there that they, in many
cases, dominated the court in regard to
extreme application of civil rights on behalf
of the defendant.
Mr. Causey: So their opinions were unpopular with many
members of the Bar?
Mr. Campbell: Oh, yes. Another relationship I had with
Judge Wright was in a case which I had tried
before him where he accepted an assignment to
act as Special District Judge. Tom Jackson,
my partner from Jackson & Campbell, got me to
join him in a case on appeal from a decision
in which Judge Wright had acted as trial judge
involving the desegregation of schools in the
District of Columbia. Schools had been
desegregated, but a claim was made that there
was not adequate allocation of whites and
blacks in each school district and that the
blacks were discriminated against in handling
of individual classes. Judge Wright had heard
that case and had written a 50-page opinion,
in which we thought in effect he had assumed
the position of school superintendent and had
put the court in a position of really managing
the details of almost every aspect of the
operation of schools, far beyond what was
intended in Brown v. Board of Education. We,
Jackson and I, appealed that decision to the
U.S. Court of Appeals. As I recall, we did
not get too far in the Court of Appeals
because Bazelon was on the Court, but we did
get, I think, some modification of the rules.
Mr. Causey: So the Supreme Court did hear that case?
Mr. Campbell: No. This was the Court of Appeals. I remember
Burger dissented in that opinion.
Mr. Causey: Did you know Warren Burger?
Mr. Campbell: Oh, I knew him very well.
Mr. Causey: What are your recollections about Chief
Mr. Campbell: Justice Burger is, of course, still living.
We were good friends. Justice Burger, when he
was on the Court of Appeals, was helpful with
some of the work that we were trying to do in
the Bar Association. He is an able man. He
is possibly a little more conservative than I
would be. He does not have the ability to get
along at all times with fellow judges or the
administration, but he was a good judge.
Mr. Causey: There is a lot of talk and concern now about
the personal relationships among the judges on
the Court of Appeals and a lot of people say
that the Court today is very fractured and
judges view things very personally. Did you
think that was the case back in the ’50s and
’60s when you have Judge Burger and Judge
MacKinnon on the conservative side and Judge
Bazelon and Judge Wright on the liberal side?
Mr. Campbell: There was a definite fracturing there in the
U.S. Court of Appeals and I think rather
unusually so because frankly, Judge Bazelon
and Judge Wright were ideologized and they
were not in the mainstream. I think it is
true that everywhere in modern civilization in
America we find fracturing and intolerance,
much less collegiality than there had been.
Mr. Causey: Why do you think that there is more
disagreement and contention between judges and
people in general in society today than there
were 20, 30, 40 years ago?
Mr. Campbell: I think it is simply typical of the
relationships in all areas of society. I think
the nation as a whole is becoming completely
fractured and the sense of community today is
being destroyed by various factors which have
made people more and more unhappy and
individualistic. I can go into it but it goes
far beyond what I’ve said and I would say that
from what I hear, and only from what I hear,
that the Supreme Court under Judge Rehnquist,
with whom I disagree with on many, many legal
matters, has become much more collegial than
it had been in the past, with the exception of
one or two judges who don’t work very well
with the others.
Mr. Causey: We have talked about a number of judges on the
Court of Appeals who served from the ’20s and
’30s up through the ’70s and you argued before
the Court of Appeals during all of those
years. Was there a difference in arguing in
front of the U.S. Court of Appeals earlier in
your career than later in your career? Were
the judges different? Were the procedures in
which they handled cases different? Did you
notice a change?
Mr. Campbell: Well, I think they got a little more
meticulous in the timing and in the
application of rules with respect to briefs
and that sort of thing. Other than that, I
don’t think there is any real difference.
Mr. Causey: Did you have a particular judge that you
enjoyed being in front of on the appeals court
more than other judges?
Mr. Campbell: Well, if I picked one out, I’d pick Judge
Prettyman. But, I was always well-treated in
Mr. Causey: Let me ask you some questions about some of
the judges who served on the District Court
during your career. We have talked about
Judge Bailey already. How about Judge Adolph
Hoehling, who served on the District Court in
the time during your early career in the ’20s?
Do you remember being before him?
Mr. Campbell: Yes, I remember him quite well. He was
universally considered by the Bar as the best
judge in my early days on the District Court.
He was a thoughtful judge who embodied the
attributes of courtesy, listening, cutting
through trash and getting to the heart of
things. He was good.
Mr. Causey: Some other judges that served in your early
years during your career would be Judge
Frederick Siddons. Do you remember Judge
Mr. Campbell: Judge Siddons was a sissy. I don’t know how
to express it.
Mr. Causey: Well, you did just now.
Mr. Campbell: Alright. He was a sissy. He was a male
effeminate. If there ever was a judge who saw
the trees and lost the forest, it was Judge
Siddons, in my opinion. I think I’ve said
Mr. Causey: We might redact that portion from the tape.
Judge Dickinson Letts served on the District
Court for over 30 years. Do you remember
Mr. Campbell: Oh, I remember him very well.
Mr. Causey: What do you recall about him?
Mr. Campbell: Judge Letts and I were good friends. Judge
Letts was liked by the Bar. I think he had
been a congressman from Iowa, I’m not sure,
but from some state in the middle west. Judge
Letts listened well in trial cases; didn’t
interrupt and didn’t comment too much; cases
principally took a little longer to try before
Judge Letts because he was quite patient in
handling it. As I remember, he chewed, I
thought it was string, but it may have been
gum or something else, but Judge Letts was
well-known for so-called aphorisms. He was
given credit for the statement, though I doubt
if he deserves it, “I may be in error, but I’m
never in doubt.” Anyhow, he was a good judge.
Mr. Causey: How about Judge Goldsborough? What
recollections do you have of Judge Alan
Mr. Campbell: Judge Goldsborough, as I stated in my last
interview, went to sleep in the trial of a
case that I had once, in the middle of
questioning of a witness before a jury. Do
you want me to refer to that again?
Mr. Causey: No, I think we have it.
Mr. Campbell: He also, however, was a courageous judge.
During the Second World War when Lewis, the
head of the Mine Workers Union, refused to
comply with an Order that he had entered to go
back to work, the miners had been on strike
during the war and he ordered them back to
work, he didn’t hesitate to impose a two
million dollar fine against the mine workers.
He had guts.
Mr. Causey: Now, going back to what you said about Judge
Letts’ statement, “I may be in error, but I’m
never in doubt.” I heard a luncheon addressed
by Judge Mikva yesterday and he was recalling
his days when he was a clerk in the Supreme
Court and he said there was a saying that went
around the Court at that time which was,
“We’re not last because we are right, but we
are right because we are last.” I thought
that was a good statement with the Supreme
Court. Well, some of the other district court
judges that sat for a number of years that you
were before would have been Judge Laws. What
do you recall about Judge Laws?
Mr. Campbell: Before his appointment to the bench, he had
been an active practicing lawyer here in
Washington and had been president of the Bar
Mr. Causey: How could he not be with a name like that?
Mr. Campbell: This is a story that is apparently true.
While he was president of the Bar Association,
he went before the Attorney General to
recommend that certain people that the Bar had
recommended be considered for appointment of
the U.S. District bench. The Attorney General
was so taken with him that he recommended to
the President the appointment of Laws to the
bench and he was appointed to the bench when
he was president of the D.C. Bar Association.
He was a good judge, well-thought of and well
liked by the Bar.
Mr. Causey: He served for about 20 years, I think.
Mr. Campbell: Yes, that is true.
Mr. Causey: Another judge that served for about 20 years
was Judge James Morris. Remember Judge
Mr. Campbell: Yes, I think he came up from the Department of
Justice. Judge Morris was a quiet judge, not
imposing in manner, fairly small physically.
I did not think him brilliant, but he was a
Mr. Causey: And Judge David Pine was on the District Court
for 30 years. Do you remember Judge Pine?
Mr. Campbell: Judge Pine had been an active practitioner in
the District of Columbia and a very good
friend. Judge Pine was appointed to the bench
and became most famous when he enjoined the
President of the U.S. from taking possession
of the steel mills in Pittsburgh. He was
well-thought of at the Bar and I maintained a
close relationship with him when I was
president of the Association in the ’60s. In
the ’60s after he had died the Bar arranged to
have a portrait made of him and it hung in the
courthouse. My friend, Francis _______, a
colleague at the Bar, who was also a good
friend of Judge Pine, said I’ve got somebody I
think would do a good portrait. Well, the
portrait was made and I had the responsibility
of unveiling it at a public session in the
U.S. courthouse. I had seen it before and I
won’t comment on it for the moment. But, when
the portrait was unveiled for the people, it
was hardly recognizable. Nobody knew that it
was Judge Pine. This was something the Bar
had arranged to have done and hung in the
courthouse and his family was there and it was
one of the truly embarrassing moments of my
Mr. Causey: Nobody looked at it before the ceremony?
Mr. Campbell: No, I looked at it, I had seen it, but I had
to go through with it, that’s the trouble.
Some of us finally said this won’t do and we
had another one made off the record.
Mr. Causey: What happened to the first portrait?
Mr. Campbell: The first portrait went into the basement and
from my understanding it may have gone out
into the trash. That was quite an experience.
Judge Pine was an able, good judge.
Mr. Causey: Judge Matthew McGuire served on the District
Court for almost 50 years.
Mr. Campbell: Judge McGuire came from the Department of
Justice. He had ability, but he was one of
the chief exponents of the sin that I referred
to earlier. Judge McGuire would interrupt and
tell you his opinion just about three minutes
after you started to argue a case before him
and in that sense I think he was a very poor
Mr. Causey: Now, the judge I am going to ask you about now
I know you have some very definite opinions
about, recollections about this person. So,
I’m going to ask you to share with us as much
as you can about this judge. Judge Holtzhoff
was quite a personality in the District of
Columbia and a very well-known judge. What do
you remember about Judge Holtzhoff?
Mr. Campbell: Judge Holtzhoff was a very able, knowledgeable
judge. He was also a judge with more quirks
and side opinions than any man I ever knew.
Judge Holtzhoff’s possibly most embarrassing
moment for him in his career was when he tried
a damage suit and the jury came back with, I
forget the amount of the verdict, which Judge
Holtzhoff quite promptly proceeded to set
aside as being excessive and ordered a new
trial. Judge Holtzhoff then tried the case
over again and the jury came back with a
verdict twice as high as the original one.
Judge Holtzhoff felt he had to swallow his
pride and upheld the second verdict which was
twice the one that he had previously set
aside. Judge Holtzhoff had favorites, no
doubt about that.
Mr. Causey: Favorites among members of the Bar?
Mr. Campbell: Members of the Bar. I felt that unconsciously,
and I’m sure it was unconsciously on his part,
he favored them. Primarily because they
argued the cases before him in the way he
liked to hear them. That was completely
unconscious on his part, I’m sure. I
personally somehow was one of his favorites
and I got along very well with him. I
remember one day in court when I was waiting
for a case that I had to come on, I was
sitting within the Bar with my legs crossed,
in a very dignified manner and I tried to be
dignified within the Bar and certainly before
Judge Holtzhoff, who was meticulous in
feelings of what the bar should do and how
they should treat the court. I was sitting
there and all at once Judge Holtzhoff turned
over and spoke to his marshal who was sitting
beside him, he didn’t look at me, but the
marshal came up to me and said quietly, “Mr.
Campbell, Judge Holtzhoff does not want anyone
sitting in the Bar with his legs crossed.”
So, I immediately, with some embarrassment,
straightened out my legs and put my knees
together in proper fashion and sat that way
the rest of the day. But, that was typical of
the way Judge Holtzhoff would run his court.
Judge Holtzhoff could be very harsh and
intolerant in his manner in dealing with
people that didn’t know how to stroke him,
shall I say. But, I got along very well with
him and on the whole, he was a very able
Mr. Causey: Judge Curran. Did you have a lot of
opportunity to appear before Judge Curran?
Mr. Campbell: I don’t think I ever appeared before him in a
trial of a case. Judge Curran had been a
District Attorney. I don’t think he was known
to have a reputation of being an outstanding
judge, but I think he was competent.
Mr. Causey: Now, if I’m not mistaken, I think the first
woman to sit on the U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia was Burnita Shelton
Matthews? Do you remember Judge Matthews?
Mr. Campbell: Oh yes, I remember her very well and I tried
and won one of my most difficult cases before
her. I think she was really a very able judge
and had quite a judicial manner and was always
courteous with counsel. I think she was one
of our best judges during the period she
Mr. Causey: Can you describe her judicial manner?
Mr. Campbell: Her manner was always quiet. She always
listened well. When she spoke her ruling she
would say “the court is of the opinion that
this is the fact,” or “the court finds this
fact.” Her manner on the bench was highly
competent. You got an impression of the fact
that she knew what she was about and
incidently, I don’t think that I mentioned
before, but one of the important attributes of
a judge I think is not only courtesy but
firmness. When a judge renders an opinion, it
should be in a form that “this is it.” In
courts, cases are rarely black and white; they
are nearly always gray. Yet when a judge
decides it, the judge has to often call it
either black or white. It is important from
the point of view of the judicial system that
when the judge does make such a ruling, that
it sounds like it is the law and it is the
right ruling. The people who hear it must
feel that the judge finds that as a definite
opinion on his or her part. Judge Matthews
had that ability.
Mr. Causey: What recollections do you have of Judge Howard
Mr. Campbell: I never appeared before Judge Corcoran. He
was, of course, a political appointment
because of his relationship with the
President; President Roosevelt I think it was.
But, I think he had the reputation of doing a
pretty good job.
Mr. Causey: Apart from judges, who were some of the
lawyers that you tried cases with during your
career that stand out as being memorable to
you over the years?
Mr. Campbell: Well, I would certainly name Roger Robb in
that group. I would name my partner, Tom
Jackson, in that group.
Mr. Causey: We will talk about Tom Jackson in the next
session and we’ve talked a little bit about
Mr. Campbell: There are several lawyers in the firm of Hogan
& Hartson that I have found quite able.
Mr. Causey: Let me ask you about a couple of the lawyers
from Hogan & Hartson. Did you know Frank
Mr. Campbell: Yes.
Mr. Causey: What do you remember about Frank Hogan?
Mr. Campbell: I met Frank Hogan when Mr. Douglas and he were
both trying cases in connection with the
Teapot Dome scandal during the Harding
administration. The cases were tried in the
late ’20s. Frank Hogan had pince-nez glasses.
He was a little less than normal height, but
he had a very vivid personality. When he was
trying the case, he spoke with quiet
conviction if I can express it that way,
before both the judge and the jury, and he has
that very superior ability to make you think
when you’re hearing, “Oh, yes, there is no
question that this is the law or these are the
facts.” Those are the attributes which take
the legal genius into another class from that
of the average lawyer. A very able person.
He and Mr. Douglas were rivals in trial work
and both of them had very substantial egos. I
recall one situation I mentioned to Maria
here, with respect to a brief in which Mr.
Hogan and Mr. Douglas represented the same
client, an oil company, in a brief before the
Supreme Court of the U.S. Both offices had
worked on that brief. I had just been in the
office with Mr. Douglas for a couple years at
that time and there were about six names to go
on the brief, the ones that had worked on it
in our firm and the ones that had worked on it
in Mr. Hogan’s firm. You may not realize it,
but it became a very important matter to
determine the order of the signatures on the
outside of that brief. Should Mr. Douglas go
on it first or Mr. Hogan go first? I was
charged with arguing with some of the
underlings in the office on the subject.
Mr. Causey: How was it decided?
Mr. Campbell: Well, it was decided and I thought Mr. Hogan
won the argument hands down. Mr. Douglas’
name went on the brief first, but after all
the others, Frank Hogan was at the bottom. He
said, “That’s where I’ll go.” So, Frank Hogan
was the boss of the whole thing and nobody
could think that Frank Hogan was a young clerk
in the office so Frank Hogan said, “I’ll just
put my name after all the rest of them.”
That’s how it was decided. I thought Mr.
Hogan won that argument and I think Mr.
Douglas felt embarrassed.
Mr. Causey: Did you know the Hartson of Hogan & Hartson?
Mr. Campbell: Oh, yes.
Mr. Causey: What was his first name, do you remember?
Mr. Campbell: Sure I do, but you caught me though. He was a
fairly tall man. He was not a trial lawyer,
but he was the office manager and a very able
man. All of those firms were quite small; I
don’t think you had more than a half a dozen
at the time.
Mr. Causey: In recent years, one of the more well-known
lawyers to come out of Hogan & Hartson was
Edward Bennett Williams. What recollections
do you have of working with him?
Mr. Campbell: Well, Edward Bennett Williams was not supposed
to be anything special when he left Hogan &
Hartson, but he apparently was beginning to
get some business at the time and decided he
would just go out. Of course, I knew him and
watched him try some cases. He is undoubtedly
a very brilliant lawyer. He had a very rare
photographic memory and that was one of his
great attributes. There has been a book
written about him and I don’t think I can add
much to this.
Mr. Causey: Did you try cases with him?
Mr. Campbell: No.
Mr. Causey: Ed, let me go back for a minute and ask you
about one of the other judges that served on
the Court of Appeals. Judge Tamm served from
1948 to 1969 and he had a major impact on the
Court of Appeals during those years. What
recollections do you have of Judge Tamm?
Mr. Campbell: Judge Tamm was appointed to the U.S. District
Court over the strenuous opposition of the Bar
Association of the District of Columbia. My
partner at that time, Hugh Obear, was asked
by the Bar Association to testify in
opposition to his confirmation by the Senate.
Hugh did so testify and the grounds of his
opposition was that Judge Tamm had absolutely
no experience in the practice of law. Judge
Tamm was a law school graduate, he was a
member of the Bar, he had a job in the
Department of Justice, but he had never
practiced law. That was the ground of the
opposition. Judge Tamm was confirmed, went on
the bench, learned at the expense of the Bar.
A change from being what I considered to be
quite an incompetent judge without any real
knowledge of procedures in trial of a case, to
being quite a good judge and before the end of
his term and time in the U.S. District Court,
he had become a thoroughly accepted and
acceptable judge on the District Court. So,
he was also I think on the U.S. Court of
Appeals. He was a little on the conservative
wing of the Court, but well thought of. I
think he learned at the expense of the Bar,
but he became a good judge.
Mr. Causey: Another judge I want to ask you about on the
District Court who served for about 40 years
was Judge Keech. Do you remember Judge Keech?
Mr. Campbell: I would say Judge Keech comes in the category
of being definitely a high-class, upper group
judge. He had been a practicing attorney here
and was one who listened, was alert, and had
the qualities of a good judge and exhibited it
through his career.
Mr. Causey: During the course of your long career, were
there any judges that lawyers just absolutely
did not like to be before?
Mr. Campbell: I would put Judge Bailey that way. I would
put Judge Siddons that way in the early days.
I would say that at least half the members of
the Bar felt that way about Judge Holtzhoff,
though I told you I had a different opinion
with respect to that.
Mr. Causey: Could members of the Bar, 30 and 40 years ago,
do things and pull strings to get away from
judges they didn’t want to be in front of?
Mr. Campbell: Well, I’m sure they did, but not very
effectively. When I was first a member of the
Bar, it was hit and miss who tried your case.
You understand what I mean, there was no
special assignment of a case to a single judge
at the beginning. You might have motions
heard by one judge and the case tried by
Mr. Causey: A general assignment.
Mr. Campbell: Yes. A judge takes his next case on the
calendar which he may afford some opportunity
Mr. Causey: We have covered a lot of judges and some
lawyers that you worked with during your
career. I want to thank you again for giving
us the time. This has been very informative
and I know will be an excellent addition to
the collection that the Historical Society is
putting together. So, thank you very much Ed.
Good seeing you again.
Mr. Campbell: My pleasure.
EDMUND D. CAMPBELL, ESQUIRE