Elbert Parr Tuttle: Chief Jurist of the Civil Rights Revolution

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The first full biography of Elbert Tuttle, the judge who led the historic Fifth Circuit – the federal court with jurisdiction over most of the deep south – through the most tumultuous years of the Civil Rights Revolution. Tuttle had co-founded a prestigious law firm; litigated two major constitutional cases, Herndon v. Lowry (1937) and Johnson v. Zerbst (1938); earned a Purple Heart in the battle for Okinawa; and led the effort to build a viable Republican Party in Georgia – all before he joined the Fifth Circuit in 1954. When he became Chief Judge in 1960, six years had passed since Brown v. Board of Education had been decided and almost nothing had changed. Jim Crow segregation, our American apartheid, remained firmly in place. His swift, decisive rulings and his unprecedented use of the All Writs Act effectively neutralized the delaying tactics of diehard segregationalists, from school board members and voter registrars to obstructionist judges and governors, across the south.


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Recommended Citation

Anne Emanuel, Elbert Parr Tuttle: Chief Jurist of the Civil Rights Revolution (2011).



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