Hays, Arthur Garfield

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HAYS, ARTHUR GARFIELD (1881–1954), U.S. lawyer and civil liberties advocate. Hays, who was born in Rochester, New York, practiced law in New York for 20 years. In 1925 he abandoned his private practice to become general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union. He represented clients without remuneration in numerous cases involving the violation of freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Hays served as co-counsel with Clarence Darrow in 1925 in the celebrated Scopes anti-evolution case which became known as the "monkey trial." Although Scopes was convicted for violating a state law which prohibited the teaching of any theory that denied divine creation, the trial compelled the State of Tennessee to abandon the enforcement of this law. Hays was involved in the defense of Sacco and Vanzetti, and the Scottsboro Boys whose death sentence for alleged rape was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. He also defended Dmitrov and other Communists tried in Germany for the Reichstag fire, pleading through a German as the Nazis would not permit Hays, a Jew, to plead himself. After World War ii, he helped the occupation forces to re-create democratic institutions in Germany. Hays was never prepared to confine his defense of liberty only to the causes for which he had sympathy. Thus, although he detested Nazism, he joined the attorney of Friends of New Germany in seeking an injunction against a police commissioner in New Jersey who had closed all halls to Nazi meetings (1937). He wrote several books, among them Trial by Prejudice (1933), Democracy Works (1939), and his autobiography, City Lawyer (1942).

[Alan Reitman]

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Hays, Arthur Garfield

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