Interview with Newton Minow, Howard Trienens, February 28, 1975

Project: Fred M. Vinson Oral History Project

Interview Summary

Howard Trienens starts the interview off by recalling how he received his appointment as Fred Vinson's law clerk through Northwestern Law School and Willard Pedrick and relates an anecdote about his interview for the job. Newton Minow then relates the conditions leading to his appointment. Both talk about the law clerks' roles at the Supreme Court, including driving Chief Justice Vinson home. They relate how Vinson assigned cases to the various justices and go over the composition of the Vinson Court. Early problems between Vinson and Felix Frankfurter are mentioned and their ongoing relationship is discussed further on in the interview. They discuss Vinson's relationship with his law clerks and touch on his relationship with Harry Truman. Vinson's interest in baseball is talked about as well as an incident where Vinson was offered the job of baseball commissioner. They relate how Vinson played cards with Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, which leads into discussion of Vinson's possible candidacy for president in 1952. Minow goes into some detail discussing Adlai Stevenson as the Democratic presidential candidate. A question is raised whether or not Vinson's friendship with Truman influenced his decisions on the Court, in particular the "steel seizure" case (Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer). While discussing this, they relate Vinson's views of Robert Jackson's participation in the Nuremberg trials and whether Vinson contributed his share in the decisions of the Court. They see the case of Sweatt v. Painter as setting up the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case, leading into a discussion of Vinson's opinion on civil rights. Minow relates an incident where he found out the Court was holding a school desegregation case for the upcoming presidential election. They talk about Vinson's stand on civil liberties cases. This leads into Trienens relating Vinson's view of the role of the Court in society, during which he talks about a "Gideon-type" case he was involved in. Vinson's interest in tax laws during Trienens' term is discussed. Trienens relates Vinson's relationship with Justice Hugo Black, Justice Stanley Reed, and the other justices of the Court. Vinson's relationship with Sam Rayburn is discussed in regards to legislation. Trienens finishes by reminiscing about which aspects of the Court and Washington Vinson enjoyed most.

Interview Accession

1975oh010_vin011

Interviewee Name

Newton Minow

Howard Trienens

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1975-02-28

Interview LC Subject

Law and legislation

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Minow, Newton Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 28 Feb. 1975. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Minow, N. (1975, February 28). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. Fred M. Vinson Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Minow, Newton, interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. February 28, 1975, Fred M. Vinson Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt79gh9b880j