Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin

Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin

by Marlene Trestman


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Supreme Court advocate Bessie Margolin (1909‒1996) molded modern American labor policy while creating a space for female lawyers in the nation’s high courts. In this comprehensive biography, Marlene Trestman reveals the forces that shaped Margolin’s remarkable journey—beginning in a New Orleans Jewish orphanage—and illuminates the public and private life of this trailblazing woman.

Margolin launched her career in the early 1930s, when only 2 percent of America’s attorneys were female and far fewer were Jewish or from the South. Among other numerous accomplishments, she defended the constitutionality of the New Deal’s Tennessee Valley Authority, drafted rules establishing American military tribunals for Nazi war crimes, and shepherded through the courts the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Margolin culminated her government service as a champion of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Her passion for her work and meticulous preparation resulted in an outstanding record in appellate advocacy: she prevailed in cases associated with twenty-one of her twenty-four Supreme Court arguments. Margolin shares an elite company of individuals who attained such high standing as Supreme Court advocates, and she did so when the legal world was almost entirely male.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807173220
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Publication date: 09/02/2020
Series: Southern Biography Series
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 1,236,517
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Marlene Trestman is former special assistant to the Maryland attorney general and a former law instructor at Loyola University of Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management. A New Orleans native, Trestman had a personal relationship with Margolin that grew from common childhood experiences.

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