A new progressive group in central Oklahoma designed to “promote progressive ideals, issues and candidates” has named itself the “Brennan Society” in honor of Justice Brennan.
There are plenty of legal lectures, awards and groups named after Justice Brennan but this was the first overtly political group that took him as their inspiration. So I contacted Tom Guild, one of the organizers, who helped found the group last September, to find out what prompted them to bestow this particular honor.
“Justice Brennan is our role model,” Guild, a former University of Central Oklahoma political science professor, explained in an email. “He was able to put together coalitions on the court to promote one man, one vote, women’s rights, the right to privacy, racial integration, social justice and led the court in taking many other important steps forward … We intend to try to build on the progress that he achieved for our country. He is a progressive giant and a role model for our group.”
In “another tip of the hat” to Brennan, Guild said the governing board for the organization consists of “nine justices.”
Justice Brennan himself got turned off to electoral politics at an early age after watching his father being attacked for how he handled enforcement of Prohibition as the city commissioner in Newark, NJ, overseeing the city’s police and fire departments.
Steve is scheduled to speak about Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion at the University of Oklahoma’s law school in Norman on April 4 thanks to the efforts of another one of the Brennan Society’s organizers, Alex Wilson, who is a student there.
Wilson says he became “an avid” Brennan fan after taking constitutional law there during his first semester at the law school.