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Boston University School of Law




I am confident that historians will write that the trend of decisions during the 1950's and 1960's was in keeping with the mainstream ofAmerican history - a bit progressive but also moderate, a bit humane but not sentimental, a bit idealistic but seldom doctrinaire, and in the long run essentially pragmatic - in short, in keeping with the true genius of our institutions. 1 In the dedication of his classic work Democracy and Distrust2 to Chief Justice Earl Warren, the late John Hart Ely wrote "You don't need many heroes if you choose carefully." 3 For several generations of lawyers and legal academics, Archibald Cox was a hero. We chose him carefully and we chose him easily. Archie Cox was one of my heroes long before I became his colleague when I joined the Boston University Law Faculty in 1988. In the spring of 1973 he had been appointed Special Prosecutor to investigate charges of wrongdoing by officials of President Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President with respect to the break-in at the Democratic Party National Committee Watergate offices. The mere six months he spent in that position saw him forever etched in time as the paragon of integrity and courage. I was a freshman in college during that fall. I vividly recall sitting in a dorm room with a group of friends on the night of October 20, known thereafter as the "Saturday Night Massacre." A group of friends in a dorm room, likely as not talking about the Watergate crisis that continued to dominate the news with a seemingly new extraordinary development each day, were astonished when another of our number burst in to say that he had just heard on the radio that President Nixon has fired Attorney General Elliot Richardson, Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, and the Watergate Special Prosecutor, Archibald Cox.



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