You have found an item located in the Kentuckiana Digital Library.
1981-03-18 Interview with George B. Mickum III, March 18, 1981 Reed001:1981OH040Reed08 00:50:43 Stanley F. Reed Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Reed, Stanley Forman, 1884-1980 George B. Mickum III; interviewee Edward Gilson; interviewer 1981OH040_Reed08_Mickum 1:|5(5)|12(13)|19(8)|27(2)|33(8)|45(9)|54(8)|67(3)|77(6)|87(4)|97(4)|108(5)|122(2)|139(17)|163(11)|176(2)|206(5)|215(8)|227(3)|246(3)|276(12)|286(6)|313(9)|349(16)|360(10)|381(10)|392(8)|403(12)|425(5)|434(5)|445(1)|458(13)|469(6)|484(3)|504(5)|519(2)|528(10)|553(2)|564(12)|574(3)|594(3)|605(6)|622(1)|632(15)|651(3)|680(5)|693(5)|707(4)|730(9)|739(6) audiotrans SFReed reed001:interview GILSON: Well, Mr. Mickum, I guess first of all could you tell me a little bit about yourself: where you're from, your education, and how you became a clerk? MICKUM: Well, I'm a native Washingtonian. I was born here but spent a lot of my younger life down in St. Mary's County, Maryland, which, I guess, as a crow flies is about fifty miles south of here. I'm not sure of how much you want or don't want. I . . . I grew up, until my early teens, as a very uneducated person, hardly able to read or write because my father was a . . . an oyster man on Chesapeake Bay and it was customary for, certainly, the sons in families down there to go out on the oyster boats instead of going to school. I came up to Washington after . . . or back up to Washington after our farm was condemned for the Patuxent Naval Air Station, and managed to get into a Jesuit high school, Gonzaga High School, here, and then I went to Georgetown University and to Georgetown Law School. When I graduated from the law school, I got a job as Judge Charles Fahey's law clerk and spent a year with Judge Fahey, during which we worked on what was called the "Thompson Restaurant Case." That case involved some Civil War ordinances which banned segregation on the grounds of race, among other things, in public facilities in the . . . in the District of Columbia. And those ordinances had never, ever been enforced and were tested, so to speak, in the Thompson Restaurant Case, by a group who . . . of blacks who went into Bish--B-I-S-H--Thompson's Restaurant and were arrested and charged with trespass. And they were convicted, and their conviction was affirmed by the initial panel on the Court of Appeals here before I became Judge Fahey's clerk. A rehearing en banc was . . . was ordered, and it became a 5-4 decision in favor of the affirmance of their convictions. Judge Fahey wrote the dissent on this case from the rehearing en banc affirmance of the conviction. And the case went to the Supreme Court on certiorari. And I don't know that it's been done very often--or maybe not at all--but the Supreme Court took the case and said that they reversed the en banc D.C. Court of Appeals, and instead of writing an opinion, they took Judge Fahey's opinion as that of the Court of . . . of the Supreme Court of the United States. So I kind of got interested in maybe clerking at the Supreme Court. And nobody from Georgetown Law School had ever clerked at the Supreme Court before, so this posed a problem. GILSON: Yeah. MICKUM: But it turned out that Judge Fahey and Justice [Stanley] Reed were very good friends. My facts may be slightly wrong, but Justice Reed was the Solicitor General of the United States when Judge Fahey was general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. And in the process they formed a relationship because Reed, basically as Solicitor General, had the responsibility for defending the New Deal in the Supreme Court of the United States. And he basically had Charles Fahey handle the labor aspects of that defense in his behalf and they . . . they formed a very close and very long-lasting relationship. I made it known to Fahey that I thought I might like to apply as a . . . to . . . for a clerkship at the Supreme Court and, quite honestly, I don't know what he said to Reed. I felt that he recommended me warmly, and Reed gave me an interview and talked about what a little law school I had come from [chuckle--Gilson]. And I pointed out that Georgetown, even in those days, was larger than Harvard if you combined the day and night school. And he offered me a job. And I think that answers your question. GILSON: Yeah, it does. That's an interesting story. What were your initial impressions of Justice Reed? I guess you'd . . . you'd been a- . . . acquainted with his work before. MICKUM: Yes, very casually. Well, you know, the justice was a very thin and almost totally bald man. And I would say one's very first impression, walking in to talk to him, was [chuckling] that he was rather forbidding. But, you know, it didn't take very long to find that . . . that this was a very warm and charming man. He . . . I never felt, you know, after my, maybe, initial five-minute reaction when he questioned me about going to such a small and unknown law school, I never thereafter felt any sense of intimidation or fear or whatever. I . . . I . . . [chuckle] I guess I felt that most of the times he was as puzzled as I was about what ought to be done and he . . . and he and I got along on that basis. GILSON: Well, just for the record, I guess, could you tell me a little bit about what a clerk does, what a Stanley Reed clerk does from . . . in his term? MICKUM: Well, I think it's a very close and full relationship. Obviously every clerk, at least as far as I know every clerk, deals with the petitions for certiorari and the jurisdictional statements. And the way Reed handled it, I and my co-clerk, Jack [John] Fassett, would make the threshold cut on those things and write a memorandum to the justice based on our review of the papers. Very often, in that particular context, he would call one of us in, or the both of us in sometimes, to discuss a particular case in terms of whether or not we thought it ought to be taken by the Court or forgotten about. But he would enlist our . . . our assistance. And, you know, he was a great s- . . . great one for wanting to know what was in the record. And he would frequently question us on, "Well, you say this and that. Are you just accepting what's in the briefs or have you checked the record? I want to know exactly what the record contains on this particular point." Sometimes he'd even ask us to do independent research on it. But he took the matter of what cases the Court heard and didn't hear very seriously. Now, he would then . . . you know, taking his own counsel, because as far as I know he never told me what he was going to do or not do, he would go off to conference and then he . . . we always stayed wi-. . . the conferences in . . . at that time were on Saturday morning, and the clerks were always there. And he would come back and tell us what . . . what happened. We'd go in and sit down and have coffee or something, and he'd tell us what cases were taken and what cases weren't, and what cases that he'd been assigned to write the opinion in, and sometimes what cases he was going to write the dissent in. I really have gotten ahead of myself because he would first . . . I should have . . . interspersed between the conference and the cert [certiorari] petitions, the opinions. Sometimes . . . well, first you'd have the cases that had already been argued, then you'd have the cases that were going to be argued, and he would talk to us about both. The cases that were argued were generally decided at the conference following the argument on Saturday morning, and so he would tell us, you know, which cases he had, what the results were, and so forth. And he would tell us what had happened with respect to the cases that the Court was going to take. He did a lot of original drafting of opinions himself, and sometimes he would have me drafting simultaneously with him. GILSON: Oh, yeah? MICKUM: There was no real pattern. GILSON: You mean you'd both be working on the . . . the same . . . MICKUM: Yeah. GILSON: . . . opinion . . . first draft of it? MICKUM: Yeah, about half the time he would say, "Yours is a . . . a better draft than mine. I'm going to throw mine away and work from yours from now on." And the other half of the time he'd say, "Yours stinks." [chuckle] "We're going to go with mine." And basically he would . . . but, you know, often, you know, we would be working on more than one. He would do one and one of us would be doing the other. GILSON: Well, what kind of . . . well, what kind of advice did he ask from his clerks in terms of writing opinions? Did he ask for . . . well, for their . . . I . . . of course, he asked for their thoughts on the matter, but did . . . were the clerks able to influence him any, or would . . . was it not a . . . what I'm trying to say is, what . . . what role did the clerks really have in the opinions? Not saying that they would do it entirely, but were . . . MICKUM: Well, . . . GILSON: . . . the clerks able to . . . to bring up points that he might want to include or . . . MICKUM: Oh, . . . GILSON: . . . change in his opinions? MICKUM: . . . well, yeah, but I think that the bottom line is, is that there never was an opinion that went out over his name that wasn't his. GILSON: Oh, yeah. I'm not . . . MICKUM: Well, of course! I mean, that . . . that's . . . I mean that's what you do as a clerk. I mean, you're a sounding board sometimes, you're a . . . a devil's advocate at other times. It really depends on the circumstances, but I think, at bottom, he didn't ever shut you off. If you went out and . . . and you read something that he had written and you went and said, "Mr. Justice, I just don't think you're hitting this right." He may disagre- . . . as often as not, he did disagree, but he never disregarded what you said. I think the notion that is sometimes rampant that Reed's clerks told him what to do is just utter bullshit. Utter bullshit. At least not when I was there. I mean, he was a . . . a man who, I found . . . and I . . . I've . . . I've always tried to emulate it, who listened with respect to the ideas of a couple of young turkeys who really had no right talking to a Supreme Court justice. But he listened with respect. And he never, ever, dismissed it out of hand. He listened. But [chuckle] he always made his own judgment on what was the right way to go. GILSON: I'd never heard that, Reed's clerks deciding what he wanted. MICKUM: I think if . . . GILSON: I . . . MICKUM: . . . all I'm saying is if . . . GILSON: Yeah. MICKUM: . . . you had heard it, . . . GILSON: Yeah. MICKUM: . . . it was total bullshit. GILSON: Okay. MICKUM: That was a sore subject at the time I was a clerk for Reed, because there was a certain fellow--now a justice on the Supreme Court- -who was a predecessor of mine as a clerk for Justice [Robert] Jackson, who wrote some articles in the University of Chicago Law Review, which suggested rather strongly that he was really telling Bill Jackson what to do. GILSON: Oh, yeah? MICKUM: I did not ever know a justice at the Supreme Court, nor, for that matter, was I ever aware of a judge on the Court of Appeals, and I . . . after all, I clerked on a damn big Court of Appeals, too. [chuckle] There's something about putting a robe on [chuckle] that makes that fellow with the robe his own man. And they want to be right, and they . . . they want to have considered all the views, but they certainly don't want to be told what to do. You know, I . . . you know, it's a tough question. What is influence? I think that the fact that Reed would consider something that I said to him possibly meant that I had an influence on him, because if mine was a reasoned and rational position, well, he'd consider . . . he might even change his mind. Because he, basically, was a first-rate craftsman who wanted to be right. And if he had voted, say, to affirm a case and I went in and said, "When you did that, had you thought about these aspects of the case? Because it seems to me that you might not have reached that conclusion had you thought about them." He'd say, "Yeah, I thought about them when I reached that conclusion," or he'd say, "No, I hadn't thought about them." But it was still his decision and . . . and, you know, all he was doing was using me and Jack, I think, in the way that we ought to have been used. He never stopped us from volunteering an idea. He accepted some that we volunteered, some he rejected. But he would ask you what you thought. I can't really put it any better than that. GILSON: Okay. You were on the Court when the Brown case [Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka] was being argued. MICKUM: Yeah. GILSON: Tell me a little about that if you . . . if you can. Was it agonizing for Reed? Did he have a hard time with it? MICKUM: Let me say this. I . . . I've always followed a principle that I just would prefer not to talk about, you know, a case. GILSON: Okay. MICKUM: I know that I have been quoted in a book that was written, and I refused to take the call of the man who wrote the book at least seven times, and I don't know where he got those quotes. GILSON: Seriously? MICKUM: Deadly serious. GILSON: Oh, I'm . . . I'm sure you're serious. I'm just . . . MICKUM: But I . . . you know, I can tell you that it was not an easy case for Reed. I think I . . . I think it's public knowledge that one . . . at the commencement of the term he was really in dissent in that case. So I think I can answer the question I think you asked-- no, it was not . . . GILSON: Okay. MICKUM: . . . an easy decision for him. GILSON: Okay. MICKUM: The fact is, I . . . I could tell you that when that opinion was read from the bench, he cried. GILSON: He cried? MICKUM: Yes, sir. GILSON: Whew! MICKUM: He was really very troubled by it. But I don't think I want to go into the ins and outs of . . . GILSON: Okay. MICKUM: . . . what he . . . my God, you know, I think I told you he was in dissent, and there were lots of drafts of dissents, and I believe Jack Fassett still has copies of most. Indeed, one draft was published in the book I averted to in Reed's own handwriting. But that's not a game I'm going to play. GILSON: Okay. Well, I was working on two angles there. Another angle is, it was originally argued in the `52 term with [Frederick] Vinson as chief justice. Then it came back in the `53 term for re-argument. Was it really . . . I was just . . . well, I was wondering, was it . . . was it a different forms of arguments each time, or was it more the Earl Warren influence that brought him around? MICKUM: Oh, I think it was the Earl Warren influence. In fact, I don't think it, I know it. GILSON: You know it? MICKUM: Yes, sir. GILSON: Is there any reason for that other than, perhaps, Warren was able to write a . . . MICKUM: Well, . . . GILSON: . . . an opinion that he liked? MICKUM: . . . no. If you're asking me if Earl Warren overwhelmed Reed . . . GILSON: No, I'm not. MICKUM: . . . either by the power of his personal or written eloquence, the answer is no. GILSON: Umhmm. MICKUM: It was a sense on Reed's part that it was in the best interests of the company . . . country that the opinion be unanimous. GILSON: And since . . . well, not that . . . MICKUM: And he was alone. He was . . . GILSON: Yeah. MICKUM: . . . he was a lone dissenter at that point in the game. GILSON: Okay. Let me think. Were you . . . were you on when the [Julius and Ethel] Rosenberg trial was there? Or was that . . . MICKUM: No. GILSON: . . . just before your time? MICKUM: It was just . . . GILSON: I know it was a special term. MICKUM: . . . that was before my time. GILSON: Okay. How did . . . how did Reed get along with the other members of the Court at that time? MICKUM: Very well. GILSON: Very well? MICKUM: Very well. GILSON: I . . . I'm going to have you repeat your story about [Felix] Frankfurter, if you may, in a minute. MICKUM: Oh, it . . . [chuckle] Reed was a . . . well, I think I . . . I think I could probably illustrate it well by . . . by the fact that, first of all, he had a great sense of humor. A really great sense of humor, and he . . . you know, I think there were feuds and so forth. I'm not sure that he and Bill Douglas loved one another with any, [chuckle] you know, great enthusiasm, but as far as I was aware, Reed didn't have any feuds. He was a . . . a friendly and a gentle man with a good sense of humor, and people enjoyed being with him. You know, I . . . I can remember a si-. . . situations where . . . with nothing particular to . . . to do, you know, a justice would drop by to see Reed, or Reed would march off to see somebody, and they'd just shoot the bull. And in those days, being a Supreme Court clerk was a seven-day-a-week job, because [chuckle] Reed came in on Sundays, too. GILSON: Yeah? MICKUM: As did his secretary and as did his messenger. And I can remember when they used to have oral arguments. Sometimes we'd . . . we'd decide not to go. The law clerks would play basketball in the gymnasium up above the courtroom and we would play the janitors. And one day I got this note from Stanley Reed [chuckle] saying, "I know you're having a great time up there, but the swinging chandeliers are making me sick. Stop!" [laughter] That was the end of the basketball games while the arguments . . . GILSON: While the . . . MICKUM: . . . were going on. GILSON: . . . arguments were going on. MICKUM: We then began having basketball games during conference. But . . . but he was a . . . [chuckle] he was a very funny [chuckling] guy. And he . . . he really had a tremendous admiration for Felix Frankfurter because he once said to me, he said, "You know, I came here thinking that Felix had a predisposition on everything." And he said, "Felix is a real judge's judge. He agonizes over everything. But once he's made up his mind, he thinks everybody ought to agree with him." GILSON: Oh. MICKUM: Felix was--[coughs] excuse me--always very persuaded of the rectitude of his own views, and he regarded Reed as a swing man on the Court. And he always felt impelled to try to convince Justice Reed that . . . GILSON: Thank you. MICKUM: . . . he ought to join him on a p- . . . any particular issue. And Reed--and to some extent Tom [Thomas] Clark, who had the suite of offices immediately next to us--used their law clerks to deal with Frankfurter. I would . . . I would have to talk with Justice Frankfurter, who, I think, was equally persuaded that Reed's clerks had an influence on him [chuckle] far beyond anything they had. And this . . . I . . . I don't want to denigrate this experience because I . . . you know, I think Reed used his clerks in a vastly different way than Frankfurter did. I think Frankfurter's clerks had a . . . probably a pretty good personal relationship with him. I don't know. But basically the first time he saw them was when they came to work. They were hired for him by a professor at Harvard Law School. But he . . . GILSON: You mean, . . . MICKUM: . . . didn't . . . GILSON: . . . he would . . . he would see them sight unseen? MICKUM: That's right. GILSON: You mean, hire them . . . MICKUM: They were hired sight unseen for him by someone else. As a result, I think, Frankfurter's clerks did specific research projects. I don't think . . . I think Felix read all of the cert petitions himself. I don't think that his clerks, for example, had an input in connection with whether or not the Court should take a case. I don't think they did much in the way of actual drafting of opinions. I think they did research projects and maybe wrote sections of opinions, whereas we would sometimes write the whole opinion in first draft. And then Reed, Fassett and I used to think, would mess it up, but [chuckling] anyhow, that's beside the point. So I got the opportunity on many occasions, particularly where cases were close, the initial vote was very close, to deal with Frankfurter in his efforts to persuade Reed to his point of view. And Reed and Clark were very grateful for . . . for the fact that we fielded Felix for them, and used to take Ellison McKay and me out to Burning Tree to play golf. Since we're talking about the human aspect of this, I will elaborate a little bit. GILSON: Good. MICKUM: God, I hope I'm right about the names, but Reed used to carry a bottle of Mount Vernon rye [laughter] in his golf bag. I've forgotten what bourbon Clark carried, but it was fairly potent stuff. And they would sort of have a nip from time to time during the course of the game. And I remember I was a very good golfer when I went to work for Reed. I played golf on the Georgetown golf team and that sort of thing. And the first time we played, I think I won the first four ho- . . . four holes, and Reed [chuckle] said to me, "George, I didn't bring you out here to beat me." [chuckling] And after that, we had the message, and we had a great time, and . . . and it was just a big laugh. Clark, he had something not resembling a golf swing. He swung at the golf ball like a baseball. GILSON: Oh, yeah? MICKUM: Oh, yeah. Big, huge belt at the ball. And both McKay and I were reasonably decent golfers, and Reed was . . . was Reed. He had the most amazing putting style I've ever seen. He . . . he putted with a purposeful slice. It was his view that he didn't have to worry about the roll of the green. If [chuckle] he put his own slice on a ball, he would . . . he would . . . and he was damn good, I'll tell you that. He was . . . he was a good putter. But we did that on a couple of occasions, and it was . . . one, it was a . . . a reflection of the fact that . . . that Reed, you know, thought . . . I can't tell you what it was he did with Fassett, but I'm sure he did something similar. But he . . . he didn't think of us as just people there doing cert memos. We were people that he felt a kinship for. And I think I also mentioned to you beforehand . . . well, I'll have to tell you. He made a conquest of my then very young wife because she loved him. GILSON: Oh, yeah? MICKUM: She loved him so much. And Mrs. Reed. Because, to our utter consternation, they accepted a dinner invitation while we lived in a one-bedroom apartment out on Bradley Boulevard and you could have really knocked us both over. I think I was still a clerk at the time. Knocked us both over when the justice and Mrs. Reed showed up to have dinner with us. We had a . . . at that time, a young and screaming baby that the justice and Mrs. thought was no big problem. A far bigger problem for the parents than the . . . the justice, and the . . . and they were so cordial and nice to us . . . to some of the younger people that were there at the dinner. And it was never, ever different. I mean, every year we had a banquet. Harold Leventhal was the first clerk . . . GILSON: Umhmm. MICKUM: . . . and he ran the banquet. And the morning after, the justice and Mrs. Reed had a brunch at their apartment at the Mayflower [Hotel]. And it wasn't just the law clerks. I mean, it was the law clerks and the wives, and it was like a family occasion. GILSON: Now, the wives were being invited to the banquet at the time or . . . MICKUM: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. GILSON: . . . [inaudible]. MICKUM: But . . . I mean, the wives were very definitely important. Well, to say they were important, that's an objective statement. Certainly, everyone would have regarded the wives as an important aspect insofar as the Reeds were concerned. And I think that Reed took a genuine . . . that the justice and Mrs. Reed took a genuine interest in the clerks and how their families [chuckle] were growing and all that sort of thing. GILSON: How did Reed . . . well, we . . . we kind of delved in this a little bit. How did he treat his clerks, as opposed to the way other justices would treat their clerks? MICKUM: Well, I mentioned Frankfurter, but I don't think that was . . . I don't think that's properly a treatment. GILSON: Okay. MICKUM: I mean, I think Reed used his clerks differently from other justices. I mentioned that Frankfurter, I think, read all of his own cert petitions. Douglas, in contrast, as far as I know, his clerks only dealt with cert petitions and had no input at all in his opinions. I mean, that was more gossip, I guess, or hearsay than my own personal knowledge. I think every justice used his clerks in the way that most suited his own needs. But in terms of relationships, I think, insofar as I could see, most of the justices had very close personal relationships with their clerks. GILSON: That's good. I'd heard that . . . that Douglas hardly ever saw his clerk . . . MICKUM: Well, . . . GILSON: . . . or clerks. MICKUM: . . . I think . . . I think that your . . . that your information is correct. Indeed, I . . . I've also heard from some of his [chuckle] clerks that his clerks roundly detested him. GILSON: Oh, yeah? MICKUM: I wouldn't let my wife get in an elevator with Bill Douglas. I mean, he was a consummate lecher. [chuckling] He . . . instead of . . . instead of a second clerk when I was there, he [chuckle] had a second secretary whom he subsequently married and divorced. GILSON: Umhmm. No, he was . . . you know, he had four wives eventually, I recall. MICKUM: This was his second wife. GILSON: His second wife. MICKUM: But, you know, Douglas was a brilliant man, and I never really knew anything about his relations with his clerks. But they were certainly just different from those that Reed enjoyed with his. GILSON: Yeah. What kind of a writer was Reed? If you just have read his opinions, he . . . he seems . . . well, of course, it's . . . it's very dry reading if you're looking for something, as opposed to . . . well, as opposed to Frankfurter or Douglas. MICKUM: Well, I don't think he was a good writer. Anything the words . . . in . . . you know, in style and that sort of thing. I don't think he . . . he certainly was no Bob Jackson who, I thought, was a superb and gifted writer. But beyond that, I don't know that I can . . . can go. I think Reed certainly wrote clearly. He would have needed a damn good ei- . . . editor if he had tried writing novels. But . . . and he . . . no, I . . . I . . . I think that's as much as I can say. I never thought of him as a particularly good writer. I will say that once he got it down on paper in his own handwriting, it was tough [chuckling] to move him. GILSON: Was he always . . . well, I . . . I know that he wasn't always serious. You . . . we were talking about his sense of humor a little while ago. Why did the public get that . . . get that image of him? You know, always the austere . . . MICKUM: Well, there's a picture up there. GILSON: Yeah. MICKUM: I think that's a fairly accurate portrayal of the . . . of the image he conveyed. He looked [chuckling] so stern and forbidding in that picture. And he was just the reverse of what he looked like. Absolutely the reverse. I mean, he really . . . I . . . as I told you, the first five minutes I met him, I was scared to death of the man. GILSON: Umhmm. MICKUM: And after that, I never had any . . . not only . . . I think fear's the wrong word. I never had any compunction about barging into his office and saying, you know, "I think" [chuckling] "you're doing this wrong." And he might just as readily say, "Well, get out, because I don't." But the fact of the matter was, is that he was a completely human and . . . obviously you . . . you addressed him as "Mr. Justice." Nobody . . . I mean, I would never have thought of . . . can't even think of calling him "Stanley." But, you know, there were . . . there was a protocol involved in how you dealt with him, but his . . . he just was nothing like what he looked to be in his pictures and in his demeanor. He was very restrained, very thin, very almost ascetic, indeed he was, person. I . . . I mean, he would go out and have a steak dinner and martinis with you, but most of the time he ate nothing but rice and lemon. You'll find that out from [Gerald] Ross, who used to fix his lunch. He went to . . . he had high blood pressure. I don't remember exactly when, but he was . . . I saw . . . I've seen pictures of him when he was an extremely heavy man, well over two hundred pounds, florid and so forth. And he to the Duke University and went on this rice diet on which he remained, as far as I'm [chuckle] aware, the rest of his life. GILSON: Yes, he did. MICKUM: Well, but he was an extremely gentle and friendly man. GILSON: Let me turn the tape over and . . . [End of Tape 1, Side 1] [Beginning of Tape 1, Side 2] GILSON: Yeah, we were talking about his health. How . . . how was his health? I know that he had had the trouble with the . . . with the high blood pressure. Was he giving any . . . any indication that . . . you know, you . . . you were saying that he . . . he played golf with you, but other than that, was he giving any indication of . . . of getting old and . . . MICKUM: Oh Lord, no. Absolutely not. I mean, he was . . . You mean, are . . . did I have any indication that his faculties were waning or anything like that? GILSON: No. But . . . MICKUM: I think the man was an absolute horse, I mean, and a bear for work. I mean, aside from the fact that he took a nap every day after lunch, which mainly elongated our days at the Court, I think he enjoyed very good health. Extremely good health. But I . . . you know, I think this was because he had determined to take care of himself and to stay on this rice diet and all that sort of thing. He was a physically vigorous man. GILSON: See, yeah, he was a . . . I guess he was, what, sixty-nine years old on your . . . in your term? MICKUM: About that. GILSON: Yeah. I'm trying to . . . yeah, 1884 is when he was born. MICKUM: But he was . . . and let me tell you, if went for a walk with the justice, because he had these great, long legs, you were going to . . . you were going to have to work to keep up with him. And he walked a lot, you know, quite apart from playing golf. GILSON: Umhmm. I had had heard that he . . . well, that he would . . . quite often walk from . . . MICKUM: Right. GILSON: . . . the Mayflower . . . MICKUM: May-. . . GILSON: . . . to the Court. MICKUM: Right. And sometimes he would tell me to . . . to meet him, and I would walk with him. That's my . . . the basis for my experience with trying to keep up with him. And Felix Frankfurter and he used to walk. GILSON: Oh, yeah? MICKUM: Yeah. GILSON: Could Felix keep up with him? MICKUM: Felix used to dogtrot. Felix was about that tall and [chuckling] in fact, you know, you . . . well, Felix, I think, was older than Reed and you'd see Felix sort of jogging around the hallways, the marble halls of the Supreme Court in his little black jacket. He wasn't a jogger; he was just getting from one office to another in his rounds of convincing people in a hurry. But they walked as . . . quite a bit, as I . . . I may have walked two or three times with Justice Frankfurter and Justice Reed, but I understood they walked quite frequently. In fact, I think Frankfurter lived further out Connecticut Avenue, and he [chuckle] . . . he would walk down and pick up Reed, and then they'd go to the Court from the Mayflower together. GILSON: Well, this is a question which is . . . I've asked everybody I've talked to, and most of them think it's unfair. So, I don't see any reason why I shouldn't ask you. Did Stanley Reed start liberal and grow conservative in his career, or was it . . . was he always the same? MICKUM: Well, first, I don't think it's an unfair question. And I think I can only give you an opinion because I didn't work with him when he was with . . . what was it, the Farm Credit Board, or whatever. GILSON: The Federal Farm Board. MICKUM: The Federal Farm Board. I . . . I would think that rather than the metamorphosis that you're talking about, times changed. And what was regarded as liberal in the very early days became conservative. But I don't . . . I certainly don't think Reed changed. GILSON: You mean, he stayed static while the . . . MICKUM: I think . . . GILSON: . . . times moved? MICKUM: . . . yeah. Well, yeah. I . . . that's not a criticism. I just think that, you know, what's the definition of a liberal? I happen to think that liberals are the most autocratic people in the world, and Reed certainly was not autocratic, I mean, by today's standards. GILSON: Yeah. MICKUM: I think he was probably a liberal in the true sense from beginning to end and never changed. GILSON: Umhmm. Well, Mr. Mickum, that's about all I had to . . . to ask you. Would you care to add anything more? MICKUM: No, I think I've said too much. [chuckle--Gilson] No, I . . . I think what you all are doing is a . . . is a fine thing, and . . . and I hope you give him the credit that I . . . I know he deserves. His . . . his was always a very . . . it was a . . . interesting. He was a craftsman. He was interested in every aspect of the law. I remember a copyright case, the name of which I can't remember, wouldn't even try to remember, which, as far as I was concerned, was the purest of nothings. But he spent more time fiddling with that because he felt that the individuals involved were so important. And I think Reed was a great man and a . . . and one who deserves to be remembered. I don't think that . . . that his style was . . . was the kind that attracted the attention of . . . of a lot of professors, but he was no less substantive than everybody else there. No more comments. GILSON: No more comment? Thank you very much. MICKUM: Okay. [End of Interview] George Mickum III worked with John Fasset, and clerked for Justice Reed from 1953 to 1954. In his interview, he discusses Reed's writing style, noting that Reed wrote his own opinions. He also describes Reed's relationships with Justices Felix Frankfurter, Thomas Clark, and William Douglas. When asked to comment on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Mickum says that it was a difficult case for Justice Reed, and that Reed cried when the decision was read. Mickum concludes the interview with a discussion of Reed's rice diet and walking habit. Kentucky Politics