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Barney Frank, Nancy Gertner are latest guest speakers at Open Classroom

Photo from left to right: Nancy Gertner, Barney Frank, Michael Dukakis

Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank praised the so-​​called Warren Court on Wednesday night at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, saying that its panoply of land­mark deci­sions in the 1950s and ’60s lent “legal force to the repu­di­a­tion of bigotry.”

Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank praised the so-​​called Warren Court on Wednesday night at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, saying that its panoply of land­mark deci­sions in the 1950s and ’60s lent “legal force to the repu­di­a­tion of bigotry.”

Frank was refer­ring to the U.S. Supreme Court between 1953 and 1969, when Earl Warren served as chief jus­tice. Under his lead­er­ship, the court banned the seg­re­ga­tion of public schools; ruled that the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­tects a gen­eral right to pri­vacy; and declared that indi­gent crim­inal defen­dants have a con­sti­tu­tional right to a court-​​​​appointed lawyer.

The Supreme Court under Warren brought about enor­mous trans­for­ma­tion,” said Frank, who rep­re­sented Mass­a­chu­setts’ 4th dis­trict from 1981 to 2013. “It gave force to the dis­sat­is­fac­tion with big­otry,” he said, “yet it was also harshly crit­i­cized at the time.”

Frank dis­cussed the Warren Court in 20 West Vil­lage F, deliv­ering sharp-​​witted remarks to approx­i­mately 200 stu­dents, fac­ulty, and com­mu­nity mem­bers. He and former fed­eral judge Nancy Gertner were the latest guest speakers in this fall’s Open Class­room series, which is titled “1965: A 50-​​Year Ret­ro­spec­tive on the 1960s and Lessons for Today.” The course, which is free and open to the public, is being led by Michael Dukakis, Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Polit­ical Sci­ence, and Barry Blue­stone, the founding dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.

The Supreme Court under Warren brought about enor­mous trans­for­ma­tion. It gave force to the dis­sat­is­fac­tion with big­otry, yet it was also harshly crit­i­cized at the time.” – Former U.S. Representative Barney Frank.

From Wood­stock and the women’s move­ment to the space race and the war on poverty, many iconic moments from the tumul­tuous decade have already been exam­ined. On Wednesday, the dis­cus­sion cen­tered on the ins and outs of the U.S. Supreme Court in the era known as the “sixties.”

Read the full news@Northeastern story.

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