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Sun Apr 28, 2019, 11:14 PM


We have lost another civil rights giant: Judge Damon Keith

Judge and civil rights icon Damon J. Keith dies at age 96

Judge Damon J. Keith, a grandson of slaves and figure in the civil rights movement who as a federal judge was sued by President Richard Nixon over a ruling against warrantless wiretaps, died Sunday. He was 96.

Keith died in Detroit, the city where the prominent lawyer was appointed in 1967 to the U.S. District Court, according to the Swanson Funeral Home.

Keith served more than 50 years in the federal courts, and before his death still heard cases about four times a year at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

A revered figure in Detroit for years, Keith captured the nation’s attention with the wiretapping case against Nixon and Attorney General John Mitchell in 1971. Keith said they couldn’t engage in the warrantless wiretapping of three people suspected of conspiring to destroy government property. The decision was affirmed by the appellate court, and the Nixon administration appealed and sued Keith personally. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the judge prevailed in what became known as “the Keith case.”

Keith revisited the civil liberties theme roughly 30 years later in an opinion that said President George W. Bush couldn’t conduct secret deportation hearings of terrorism suspects. Keith’s opinion contained the line, “Democracies die behind closed doors.” A simi.lar phrase — “Democracy dies in darkness” — is now the slogan of The Washington Post, which has credited Keith.


Judge Keith was a great man. May he rest in peace.

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Reply We have lost another civil rights giant: Judge Damon Keith (Original post)
StarfishSaver Apr 2019 OP
oasis Apr 2019 #1

Response to StarfishSaver (Original post)

Mon Apr 29, 2019, 12:10 AM

1. R.I.P. Judge Keith.

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