This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.
Judge John Minor Wisdom Receives ABA Medal
Judge John Minor Wisdom (5th Cir.) has been named the 1996 recipient
of the American Bar Association Medal. The ABA Medal, the highest
honor given by the association, is conferred only in years in
which a nominee is judged to have "rendered conspicuous service
to the cause of American jurisprudence."
In his 1993 presentation of the Medal of Freedom to Wisdom, President
Clinton said he was, "a truly first-class legal scholar who
writes brilliant opinions. . . . He is a son of the Old South
who became an architect of the new South." Wisdom's notable
opinions include the landmark opinion on voting rights in United
States v. State of Louisiana in 1963, and his historic opinions
to open the University of Mississippi to black students in Meredith
v. Fair in 1962. "Judge Wisdom was a moral and intellectual
leader on a court that made heroic decisions despite strong pressures
from regional political leaders of the times, and often risking
personal harm," said ABA president Roberta Cooper Ramo.
Wisdom practiced law in New Orleans from 1929 until 1957, when
he was appointed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He served
from 1975 on the Special Court, Regional Rail Reorganization Act
of 1973, and on the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
from 1968 to 1979, serving as chief judge from 1973 to 1979. In
1988, Wisdom received the Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service
to Justice Award and, in 1993, the Medal of Freedom.