- NAME: Arthur J. Goldberg
- OCCUPATION: Supreme Court Justice, Diplomat
- BIRTH DATE: August 08, 1908
- DEATH DATE: January 19, 1990
- EDUCATION: DePaul University, Northwestern University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Chicago, Illinois
- PLACE OF DEATH: Washington, D.C.
- Full Name: Arthur Joseph Goldberg
- AKA: Arthur J. Goldberg
- AKA: Arthur Goldberg
Best Known For
In the 1960s, Arthur J. Goldberg held many important government posts, serving as secretary of labor, Supreme Court justice and ambassador to the United Nations.
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Born in Chicago on August 8, 1908, Arthur J. Goldberg passed the bar at age 20 and worked as council for labor unions, eventually serving as secretary of labor (1961). In 1962, he was appointed to the Supreme Court, but left in 1965 to become ambassador to the United Nations. He resigned that post in 1968, in protest of the Vietnam War. Goldberg served as ambassador-at-large under President Jimmy Carter.
"If Columbus had an advisory committee he would probably still be at the dock."
Born on August 8, 1908, in Chicago, Illinois, Arthur Joseph Goldberg excelled in both the political and legal arenas, serving as secretary of labor during the Kennedy administration and sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1962 to '65. Goldberg came from humble beginnings. His parents were both Jewish immigrants from Russia. He was the youngest of their 11 children.
Arthur J. Goldberg took a number of jobs during his youth to help the family, including being a shoe delivery boy. A bright student, he graduated high school when he was only 15 years old. Goldberg attended several colleges before graduating from Northwestern University in 1930 with a law degree.
As an attorney, Arthur J. Goldberg specialized in labor law. He represented the workers in the 1938 Newspaper Guild strike. During World War II, Goldberg served in the Office of Strategic Affairs. He returned to his law practice after the war ended.
Goldberg became a legal advisor for the United Steelworkers of America and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. In 1955, he helped orchestrate the merger of two major labor organizations—the CIO and the American Federation of Labor. Goldberg also assisted in gathering union support for 1960 presidential candidate John F. Kennedy.
After Kennedy took office in 1961, he appointed Goldberg as his secretary of labor. Goldberg proved instrumental in resolving a conflict between U.S. Steel and its workforce. The following year, Kennedy nominated Goldberg for the U.S. Supreme Court. He replaced the retiring Felix Frankfurter.
On the Supreme Court for only a few years, Goldberg managed to make a significant impact in that short time span. Arriving at a time the court was known for its judicial activism, he helped make up its liberal majority. One of his most famous decisions was in the case of Escobedo v. Illinois. In this decision, the court revised the way the police could handle their suspects. A prisoner was granted the right to an attorney during any interrogation by the authorities. Before this ruling, the accused was only entitled to a lawyer during trial.
In 1965, Goldberg resigned from the court under pressure from President Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson wanted Goldberg to use his great powers of persuasion as the ambassador to United Nations. Some reports also state that Johnson asked Goldberg to leave the court to make room for his friend Abe Fortas. In any case, Goldberg had very difficult time stepping down. "I shall not, Mr. President, conceal the pain with which I leave the court after three years of service," he stated, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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The Supreme Court has presided over landmark cases that have changed the history of the United States. At times, the judges themselves have been the history makers, as in the case of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Justice; Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court; and Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. Here’s a look at the famous judges who have served on the United States' highest court.
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