Then to the Rock Let Me Fly: Luther Bohanon and Judicial Activism

Overview

U.S. District Judge Luther Bohanon of Oklahoma has had perhaps more effect on the state, and on the nation, than any other member of a state's judiciary. Biographies of Supreme Court justices are numerous, but this book is among the few that focus on federal district court judges-magistrates who, being closest to the people, are most likely to affect their daily lives. During his long career as an attorney, Bohanon exposed corruption in the Oklahoma State Supreme Court and, in a landmark case, helped establish ...
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Overview

U.S. District Judge Luther Bohanon of Oklahoma has had perhaps more effect on the state, and on the nation, than any other member of a state's judiciary. Biographies of Supreme Court justices are numerous, but this book is among the few that focus on federal district court judges-magistrates who, being closest to the people, are most likely to affect their daily lives. During his long career as an attorney, Bohanon exposed corruption in the Oklahoma State Supreme Court and, in a landmark case, helped establish the right of American Indians to sue for compensation for lands taken from them. In 1961, Oklahoma's powerful Senator Robert S. Kerr recommended Bohanon for appointment to the federal bench, and although the appointment was clouded by conflict with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, it was approved by President John Kennedy. Since then Bohanon has presided over some of the state's most controversial and important cases - cases touching on many civil liberties and other fundamental rights. Almost immediately upon taking the bench, Judge Bohanon mandated integration of the Oklahoma City public schools, a plan of unprecedented magnitude that earned him much enmity. His enforced reform of Oklahoma's prison system also was unpopular. Nor did his decisions affect the state alone: he took on the federal government itself when he enjoined the Food and Drug Administration from prohibiting terminally ill cancer patients from importing the unproven drug laetrile. This biography reveals Judge Bohanon as one of the most creative, energetic, and faithful federal judges ever to occupy the bench. His story will appeal to students of the law, the Constitution, and the federal judiciary and to anyone interested in Oklahoma history and civil rights.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is a stirring biography of a courageous federal judge whose decisions on civil liberties and civil rights have had a national impact. Luther Bohanon, appointed to the Oklahoma District Court bench in 1961 by President John Kennedy, mandated the integration of Oklahoma City's public schools and ended segregation in housing. His rulings helped to eliminate beatings of inmates, overcrowding and other abuses in Oklahoma's prisons. Born in 1902, the farmboy-turned-lawyer and then jurist enjoined the Food and Drug Administration from banning the importation, by terminally ill cancer patients, of the unproven drug laetrile (a decision subsequently reversed). He also helped establish the right of Native Americans to sue for compensation for lands taken from them. Weaver, a lawyer who is now a student at Union Theological Seminary in New York, limns a fiercely stubborn individualist whose unswerving adherence to the Constitution and to his conscience make him a beacon of enlightened jurisprudence. (Nov.)
Booknews
A biography of US District Judge Luther Bohanon (b.1902) of Oklahoma, who since 1962 has presided over some of the state's most controversial and important cases--cases touching on many civil liberties and other fundamental rights. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806125541
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1993
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.83 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
I Invisible Tapestry 3
II Life at Law 15
III The Judge 55
IV The School Board Case 71
V The Prison Case 117
VI The American Indian Land Case 138
VII The Laetrile Case 146
Epilogue 157
Appendix. Published Opinions of Luther L. Bohanon 160
Notes 173
Bibliography 197
Index 207
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