Charles Reich, New Dealer
9 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2021 Last revised: 15 Jun 2021
Date Written: April 23, 2021
This essay is part of the special Touro Law Review issue that grew out of Touro Law School’s January 30, 2020, conference commemorating the life and legacy of Charles A. Reich (1928-2019).
In this essay, I describe the influence on me of Professor Reich’s writings, beginning with his best-selling book The Greening of America, and then with contact that became one of my dear friendships. I comment on the juxtaposition of Charles revering Franklin D. Roosevelt and Charles sometimes writing negatively about the New Deal. The explanation is, I think, that Charles’s criticisms of the New Deal were aimed much more at 1950s government, conformity, and stultification than they were at the 1930s and 1940s years of Roosevelt’s presidency. I know that it would have pleased Charles Reich that Touro’s conference remembering and paying tribute to him occurred, unwittingly, on his hero F.D.R.’s birthday.
This Touro Law Review issue on Charles Reich includes, in addition to my essay, this superb content: an introduction by Rodger Citron, conference organizer and Reich biographer; Charles Reich’s final (or at least his latest) article, “Keeping Up: Walking With Justice Douglas”; essays and articles by Judge Guido Calabresi, Harold Hongju Koh, Felicia Kornbluh and Karen M. Tani, Sarah A. Seo, and Raymond H. Brescia; and concluding thoughts by Professor Citron.
Keywords: Charles A. Reich, Yale Law School, Franklin D. Roosevelt, New Deal
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