a legitimate government purpose
II. The Four
John Doar, who led civil rights enforcement in the South for the Justice
Department in the 1960s, retained a vivid memory of his first encounter
with Judge Rives. “There is a kind of concept or principle I lived by,” Doar
told me.
And that is that the federal courts are always open and you
can got to a judge if you have a real emergency at any time,
twenty-four hours a day. But it’s certainly unusual to go to a
judge’s home. And I’m sure that there would be many judges
that would say, “Come see me next Tuesday.” But not Judge
During that year of 1961, we had some tough situations in
southwest Mississippi. One of the cases involved a young fel-
low named John Hardy, who was hit over the head by a reg-
istrar in Walthall County. [Hardy, while trying to register local
blacks as voters, was charged with violating Mississippi law.]
And we moved for an injunction against state court proceed-
ings before [United States District] Judge [Harold] Cox, and
that was denied. Burke Marshall [head of the Justice Depart-
ment’s civil rights division] instructed me to apply for a tempo-
rary restraining order immediately. I call Judge Rives in Mont-
gomery and asked when I could come, and said, “Well, you
can come anytime.”
U.S. v. Jefferson County Bd. of Education
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