On July 19, 1949, Frank Murphy, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States died in Detroit. The liberal press mourned the passing of a mighty warrior for civil liberty. Other journals observed the protocol of the occasion by politely deploring his death, the University of Michigan Law School prepared a memorial issue of the Michigan Law Review' in honor of its distinguished alumnus, a few encomiums appeared in the law journals, then silence set in. A silence which has been broken only by occasional slighting references to Murphy's talents, and by a word-of-mouth tradition in law school circles that the Justice was a legal illiterate, a New Deal political hack who approached the sacred arcana of the Law with a disrespect that verged on blasphemy, who looked upon hallowed juridical traditions as a drunk views a lamp post: as a means of support rather than a source of light.
John P. Roche,
The Utopian Pilgrimage of Mr. Justice Murphy,
10 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol10/iss2/10