The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst, Free Speech Renegade

Title

The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst, Free Speech Renegade

Files

Description

In the 1930s and ’40s, Morris Ernst was one of the best-known liberal lawyers in the United States. An eminent attorney and general counsel of the ACLU for decades, Ernst was renowned for his audacious fights against literary and artistic censorship. He successfully defended Ulysses against obscenity charges, litigated groundbreaking reproductive rights cases, and supported the widespread broadening of protections for sexual expression, union organizing, and public speech. Yet this “human dynamo,” as friends called him, was also a man of stark contradictions, who also waged a personal battle against Communism, defended a foreign autocrat, and aligned himself with J. Edgar Hoover’s inflammatory crusades. ​

Arriving at a moment when issues of privacy, artistic freedom, and personal expression are freshly relevant, The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst, Free Speech Renegade brings this singularly complex figure into a timely new light. As Samantha Barbas’s eloquent and compelling biography makes ironically clear, Ernst both transformed free speech in America and inflicted damage to the cause of civil liberties. Drawing on Ernst’s voluminous cache of publications and papers, Barbas follows the life of this singular idealist from his pugnacious early career to his legal triumphs of the 1930s and ’40s and later-life turn toward zealous anticommunism. As she shows, today’s challenges to free speech and the exercise of political power make Morris Ernst’s battles as pertinent as ever.

Publication Date

6-1-2021

Publisher

University of Chicago Press

City

Chicago

ISBN

9780226658049

Disciplines

American Politics | Law | Legal History | United States History

Comments

This record does not contain full text. If available, click on the "DOI" link to see where the full text of the item is located. If you are a UB student, or faculty or staff member and unable to access the full text at the link, try searching for the item in Everything Search (https://search.lib.buffalo.edu/discovery/search?vid=01SUNY_BUF:everything). If not available, request via Delivery+ (https://library.buffalo.edu/delivery/).

The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst, Free Speech Renegade

Share

COinS