Arnold, Thurman (1891–1969)

views updated

ARNOLD, THURMAN (1891–1969)

Law professor, assistant attorney general, and federal judge, Thurman Arnold of Wyoming was a vigorous champion of both civil liberties and antitrust regulation. In 1930, when Arnold joined the Yale Law School faculty, which included william o. douglas and walton hamilton, he had already developed a social and psychological approach to law. He had an extraordinary commitment to the concept of fair trial in which he saw ritual significance, and, in The Symbols of Government (1935), Arnold described law as a mode of symbolic thinking that conditioned behavior. A witty and sarcastic writer, he described the interplay between corporations and antitrust law in The Folklore of Capitalism (1937). The following year President franklin d. roosevelt chose him to head the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department. Arnold was a zealous enforcer of antitrust legislation; he launched over 200 major investigations and saw his budget and personnel quadruple before his departure in 1943 to become a federal judge. Naturally unsuited for judicial office, he resigned within two years to enter private practice where abe fortas soon joined him. Arnold welcomed controversial issues and represented defendants in loyalty cases of the late 1940s and the McCarthy era. Arnold was a spirited libertarian, and his career reflected his belief in the need to erase traditional intellectual boundaries and integrate disciplines and approaches.

David Gordon


Kearny, Edward N. 1970 Thurman Arnold, Social Critic. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

About this article

Arnold, Thurman (1891–1969)

Updated About content Print Article