Interview with Judge John Minor Wisdom


Judge John Minor Wisdom:

I'll be glad to do that. Shall I start now? Some of the people who were key figures in the Meredith case were very interesting. I think Mrs. Motley for example was especially interesting. I have not followed her career very closely as a judge, but she was a very able trial advocate and very able advocate, appellate advocate. And she was exposed to severe pressures, my recollection is that, is that Judge Meyers called, would only call her by her first name. And she handled herself with great dignity and ability in the argument of the case before us. I think it was outstanding. She was a striking looking woman, she was bronze. She was more bronze than black or brown. I guess its because she's either Jamaican or from one of the Islands. Anyway, she was a striking figure and she handled herself well under difficult questioning. And she certainly handled Meyers, I though with deference, or in adverse circumstances. Now this most important, one of the most significant figures and the guy for whom I have the greatest respect is John Door. John Door was an assistant to Burt Marshall and later succeeded him as head of the civil rights division. John Door worked indefatigably. And he was always well prepared. And just to, a delight to have in one's court. But the thing I'll never forget is a TV shot of John Door in his shirtsleeves when there were two mobs approaching. One from this side and one from the other side, and John Door coming out like, coming out like this in his shirtsleeves, confronting both mobs. And they didn't have any violence. I think of that quite often. But I think of also John's diligence, and his ability to pick good associates; Bob Owen, a blind guy who is a judge now in Washington, I've forgotten his name and many others.