Schwarz, Frederick A.O. 1935- (Frederick August Otto Schwarz, Jr., Fritz Schwarz)
Schwarz, Frederick A.O. 1935- (Frederick August Otto Schwarz, Jr., Fritz Schwarz)
Born 1935. Education: Harvard University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1957, J.D. (magna cum laude), 1960.
Lawyer. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, New York, NY, clerk for Judge J. Lumbard, 1960s; government of Nigeria, assistant commissioner for law revision; Cravath, Swaine, & Moore, LLP, New York, NY, partner, 1969-75, 1976-82, 1986-2003; U.S. Senate Select Committee, chief counsel, 1975-76; New York City Government, corporation counsel, 1982-86; Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law, New York, NY, senior counsel, c. 2003—. Commissioner of the Commission of Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons; chair of the New York City Revision Commission, 1989; chairman of the boards of the Natural Resources Defense Council, New York City Campaign Finance Board, 2003—, and Vera Institute of Justice.
American Lawyer, lifetime achievement award, 2004; recipient of a Ford Foundation grant; Common Cause New York, "I Love an Ethical New York" award; Citizens Union of the City of New York, civic leadership award.
(With Hedley Herbert Marshall) The Laws of Northern Nigeria: In Force on the 1st Day of October, 1963, revised edition, Eyre & Spottiswoode (London, England), 1965.
Nigeria: The Tribes, the Nation, or the Race—the Politics of Independence, M.I.T. Press (Cambridge, MA), 1965, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1983.
(With Aziz Z. Huq) Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror, New Press (New York, NY), 2007.
Editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Frederick A.O. Schwarz is an American lawyer. Born in 1935, Schwarz is the great-grandson of the legendary toymaker F.A.O. Schwarz. Although the family sold the toy store in the 1960s, Schwarz made a name for himself in the legal field independent of this historical retail fame. He graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in 1957. He then remained at Harvard and earned a juris doctor degree, magna cum laude, in 1960. While studying he worked as the editor of the Harvard Law Review. After graduation Schwarz worked as a clerk for Judge J. Lumbard at New York's U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He then acted as assistant commissioner for law revision for the government of Nigeria. He acted in this capacity under the auspices of a Ford Foundation grant while helping the government apply its constitution in the aftermath of their freedom from colonialism.
Schwarz joined the legal firm of Cravath, Swaine, & Moore in 1963, and became a partner in 1969. He left the firm in 2003 but took several hiatuses during his tenure. The first was from 1975 to 1976 when he acted as the chief counsel for the U.S. Senate Select Committee. Led by Senator Frank Church, the committee was responsible for investigating the abuses of power by the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation during the Cold War. Schwarz also took leave between 1982 and 1986, when he acted as corporation counsel during Edward I. Koch's term as mayor of New York City. Just a few years later, Schwarz was called back to chair the New York City Charter Revision Commission. Upon his retirement from Cravath, Swaine, & Moore LLP, Schwarz accepted the position of senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice of the New York University School of Law. In addition to his full-time positions, Schwarz chairs the boards of various organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and the Vera Institute of Justice. He then served as a commissioner for the Commission of Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons.
In 1965 Schwarz published his first two books, which were based on his experience in Nigeria. Both books, The Laws of Northern Nigeria: In Force on the 1st Day of October, 1963, with Hedley Herbert Marshall, and Nigeria: The Tribes, the Nation, or the Race—the Politics of Independence, deal with Nigeria's transition from colonialism to a constitutionally run country. In 2007, with Aziz Z. Huq, Schwarz wrote Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror, dealing with the alleged abuse of powers by the George W. Bush presidential administration and the circumventing of the Constitution's system of checks and balances.
Reviews for the book were mostly positive. Robert Philbin, writing in the Nth Position, commented: "Schwarz and Huq outline a logical course of corrective actions they think necessary to rebuild the Constitution's checks and balances." He noted, however, that any new executive "will naturally not choose to renege powers accumulated by his or her predecessor," raising troubling issues of constitutional law and precedent. Philbin referenced warnings from the founding fathers on the dangers of presidents accumulating too much power. He said that the entire history of the United States, "from the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution onward, has become fundamentally menaced in the last half century, and it is not extreme for citizens to conclude the United States faces a critical impasse at this moment." Philbin called Unchecked and Unbalanced "an important, and disturbing book." Writing in the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani noted that while the book "contains little new reporting and is heavily indebted" to various reporters' work, including that of Jane Mayer, James Risen, Eric Lichtblau, Dana Priest, and Charlie Savage, it "serves as a valuable compendium and chronicle of the Bush administration's aggressive efforts to expand the power of the executive branch, providing a detailed account of the unilateral actions it has taken on matters ranging from torture policy to domestic surveillance." She called it "necessary reading for anyone interested in how those efforts by the Bush White House have tipped the constitutional system of checks and balances." Kakutani concluded that Huq and Schwarz "have done a powerful job of situating the actions of the current White House in perspective with the imperial presidency of Richard M. Nixon."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Internationalist, May 4, 2007, Betsy Model, author interview.
Nation, April 23, 2007, Andrew J. Bacevich, review of Unchecked and Unbalanced: Presidential Power in a Time of Terror, p. 30.
New York Law Journal, October 28, 1999, Victoria Rivkin, "Cravath Veteran to Become Counsel to Brennan Center," p. 1; March 30, 2007, Thomas Adcock, review of Unchecked and Unbalanced.
New York Review of Books, July 19, 2007, David Cole, review of Unchecked and Unbalanced, p. 53.
New York Times, July 3, 1998, David Firestone, "Public Lives;" July 6, 2007, Michiko Kakutani, review of Unchecked and Unbalanced.
Publishers Weekly, April 2, 2007, review of Unchecked and Unbalanced.
Reference & Research Book News, May, 2007, review of Unchecked and Unbalanced.
American Lawyer,http://www.americanlawyer.com/ (December 15, 2007), author profile.
Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law Web site,http://www.brennancenter.org/ (December 15, 2007), author profile.
Commission of Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons Web site,http://www.prisoncommission.org/ (December 15, 2007), author profile.
Cravath, Swaine, & Moore, LLP Web site,http://www.cravath.com/ (December 15, 2007), author profile.
New York City Campaign Finance Board Web site,http://www.nyccfb.info/ (December 15, 2007), author profile.
Nth Position,http://www.nthposition.com/ (December 15, 2007), Robert Philbin, review of Unchecked and Unbalanced.
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