Thursday, March 28, 2013

R.I.P. Anthony Lewis

As some may have noted from earlier in the week, pioneering legal journalist and author of Gideon’s Trumpet, Anthony Lewis, died earlier this week. Mr. Lewis is widely credited for reporting many of the Warren Court’s seminal decisions in concise, accessible language. From the Washington Post:

Anthony Lewis, an indefatigable champion of civil liberties who became known during his half-century with the New York Times as one of the most trenchant legal journalists of his generation and was twice a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, died March 25 at his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was two days shy of his 86th birthday.

By the time he retired in 2001, Mr. Lewis was widely recognized as the dean of liberal American columnists and had written a book that is regarded as the seminal account of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright.

As a Times columnist for 32 years, he wrote his most noted work on First Amendment rights and the American justice system. In a crowded field of columnists, many of whom were at times enticed to bloviate, Mr. Lewis distinguished himself with the consistent lucidity of his writing and his reportorial approach to the job.

Taken together, [Mr. Lewis’s two] Pulitzers reflect the two most salient themes of Mr. Lewis’s career: a self-professed affinity for the underdog and seemingly infallible command of the law, despite his limited formal training in the field. “I was probably made to be a lawyer,” he once said. “It just didn’t turn out that way.”


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