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Harrington / Final Remarks - To Make a Difference

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Arionus: You mentioned the case that went to the Supreme Court and where Rehnquist not as chief justice wrote the majority opinion, do you remember what year that was? Was it the Berger report? Harrington : Yeah, it would have been Berger. It was right after I went to the valley so it had to have been around 1974 or 75. Arionus: So my understanding is that the Berger report is the transition to a more conservative Supreme Court in general. Can you speak a little bit about that and with that transition means in terms of social justice and civil rights? Harrington : Well the Supreme Court is progressively – this is the wrong word here – but decidedly undermined civil rights. Of course, after the transition from the Warren court to the Berger Court to Rehnquist to Roberts. So it was a continual erosion of civil rights law across the board. Voting rights of course, Citizens United, but creating these doctrines that protect police and municipalities from liabilities of police abuse. And giving enormous rights to the government as opposed to individual liberty. That is why there is so much concern right now and the Republican Party about the appointment of a ninth justice because there could be that switch again. That would not favor a business as much and not allow as much discrimination as we now see. So it is a very important and keen observation that the election is very important in terms of the future of civil rights. The courts are not going to and do it but it sure can slow it down and make it much more difficult. Arionus: Are there any questions or is there anything else do you want to expand upon maybe that I did not touch or questions you wanted to flush out a little bit more? Looking back over your career in public service and working with the communities what do you think accomplished? Maybe that’s a badly worded question -what would you like people to remember of your service? Harrington : Patrick Ireland, Saint Patrick said my life made a difference. That is all that is important is that it made a difference.

Interview Interview with Jim Harrington
Subjects Court Cases
Police and Law Enforcement › Police Brutality
Electoral Politics › Republican Party
Law and Public Policy
Quantitative Questions
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Interview date 2016-06-13
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Harrington, Jim
Locations Austin, TX
Duration 00:03:52
Citation "Final Remarks - To Make a Difference ," from Jim Harrington oral history interview with ,  June 13, 2016, Austin, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed September 29, 2020