Failing Justice

Charles Evans Whittaker on the Supreme Court


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About the Book

In the history of the U.S. Supreme Court, Associate Justice Charles Evans Whittaker (1957–1962) merited several distinctions. He was the only Missourian and the first native Kansan appointed to the Court. He was one of only two justices to have served at both the federal district and appeals court levels before ascending to the Supreme Court. And Court historians have routinely rated him a failure as a justice.
This book is a reconsideration of Justice Whittaker, with the twin goals of giving him his due and correcting past misrepresentations of the man and his career. Based on primary sources and information from the Whittaker family, it demonstrates that Whittaker’s life record is definitely not one of inadequacy or failure, but rather one of illness and difficulty overcome with great determination.
Nine appendices document all aspects of Whittaker’s career. Copious notes, a selected bibliography, and two indexes complete a work that challenges the historical assessment of this public servant from Missouri.

About the Author(s)

Craig Alan Smith earned his Ph.D. in history and political science from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He teaches American History and Social Studies Education at Missouri State University.

Bibliographic Details

Craig Alan Smith
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 359
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2197-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8430-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Preface      1

1. Leaving the Farm      5

2. Thirty Years at the Bar      20

3. The Lower Courts      46

4. Arriving at the Supreme Court      82

5. Finding a Higher Law      127

6. Failing Justice .      177

7. Speaking Out      226

Afterword      263

Appendix A: Whittaker’s Scheduled Classes for Law School      265

Appendix B: Growth of Large Law Firms in Kansas City      267

Appendix C: Changing Names of the Watson Law Firm      269

Appendix D: Clients of the Watson Law Firm      270

Appendix E: Opinions Rendered by Charles E. Whittaker While Serving on the Lower Federal Courts      272

Appendix F: Justices Who Served with Justice Whittaker      275

Appendix G: Clerks Who Served with Justice Whittaker      276

Appendix H: Opinions Rendered by Justice Whittaker While Serving on the Supreme Court of the United States      278

Appendix I: Whittaker Award Recipients Through 2004      283

Chapter Notes      285

Select Bibliography      329

Case Index      339

Subject Index      344