Powell Jr., Lewis F.


TLS a week before joining the Court, unable to accept a Gridiron Club dinner invitation owing to “uncertainties” of his new duties and schedule


Autograph ID: 7074
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1908-1998) Associate Justice 1972-88, amongst his notable opinions was his 1978 majority opinion in University of California Regents v. Bakke, the Court's 1st major statement on the constitutionality of affirmative action. He compiled a conservative record on the Court and cultivated a reputation as a swing vote with a penchant for compromise. He notably joined the majority in cases such as US v. Nixon and Roe v. Wade, amongst others. He was a partner for over a quarter century at Hunton, Williams, Gay, Powell and Gibson (now, Hunton & Williams LLP), its primary office in Richmond. He was President of the ABA 1964-65 and led the way in attempting to provide legal services to the poor, and made a key decision to cooperate with the US government's Legal Services Program. On Aug. 23, 1971, before accepting Nixon's nomination to the Court, Powell wrote a confidential memorandum titled "Attack on the American Free Enterprise System," a blueprint for conservative business interests. It called for corporate America to become more aggressive in molding society's thinking about business, government, politics and law in the US. It became the blueprint of the rise of the US conservative movement and the formation of a network of influential right-wing think tanks and lobbying organizations, such as The Heritage Foundation, as well as inspiring the US Chamber of Commerce to become far more politically active. Its real contribution was its emphasis on institution-building, particularly updating the Chamber's efforts to influence federal policy. Nixon nominated Powell and William Rehnquist to the Court on the same day, Oct. 21, 1971. Powell was confirmed Dec. 7, 1971 and began his service on Jan. 7, 1972. In 1990, Douglas Wilder asked Powell to swear him in as governor of Virginia, the 1st US African-American governor. In 1993, Congress renamed the Federal courthouse at Richmond in his honor.

TLS on 10 ½ x 8 Hunton, Williams, Gay, Powell & Gibson law firm letterhead, Richmond, VA, December 31 1971, to Edgar A. Poe, Washington correspondent for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and President of the Washington Gridiron Club. Powell apologizes for the delay in responding to Poe’s notification that Powell will be receiving an invitation to the April 8 Gridiron Club dinner. Powell responds by stating that owing to the “many uncertainties of my new duties and schedule”, he cannot now say whether he will be able to attend but hopes it will be possible.

EDGAR ALLEN POE (1906-1998) Longtime Washington correspondent of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, past president of the White House Correspondents Association and the Gridiron Club. He joined the staff of the Times-Picayune in 1930, became its Washington correspondent in 1948, and also wrote a column, "Washington Panorama," for the paper until he retired in 1994. He attended every national political convention from 1940-88, missing the 1944 conventions as he was a WW II war correspondent in the Pacific covering Louisiana and Mississippi units. He ended the war aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, witnessing the Japanese surrender and was one of the 1st reporters to tour Hiroshima. Poe began his 7-decade newspaper career in Alabama before joining the Times-Picayune. After working for its southern Mississippi bureau, he began covering Louisiana politics, and was said to have been one of the few reporters whom Huey Long had any use for. .”
Type: Letter

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