Friday, April 28, 2017

A New Oral History of a Career DOJ Lawyer

The Historical Society of the DC Circuit announces the posting of the latest in its excellent and important series of oral histories.  This one is of Robert Kopp, who served for forty-five years in the Appellate Section of the Civil Division of the Justice Department.  He saw it all, says the Society’s website:
Ralph Nader's lawsuits; the mass arrests of Vietnam War demonstrators; Watergate; what it was like to be at Justice after the Saturday Night Massacre when President Richard Nixon fired the special prosecutor and the top two officials of the Justice Department; and the shifting roles of civil servants and political appointees. Kopp tells of his step-father, a humble lawyer at Justice, being the only one working on the afternoon of Sunday, December 7, 1941, when the Navy called with a message: "Please tell the Attorney General that the nation is at war." And he remembers being told of President Franklin Roosevelt calling a lawyer in the Appellate Division to discuss the draft Supreme Court brief he had been sent for review. But most importantly, the oral history details how lawyers in the civil service serve the nation, doing the "nuts and bolts" as Kopp terms it, and how they preserve a coherent rule of law in the United States.