Joseph L. Rauh Jr. (1911–1992), a renowned civil liberties lawyer, served as the leader of several civil rights organizations. He argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court, including at least three that dealt with First Amendment issues: Watkins v. United States (1957); United States v. Auto Workers (1957), and United Steelworkers of America v. Sadlowski (1982).
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Rauh earned undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University. After graduating from law school, he clerked for Supreme Court justices Benjamin N. Cardozo and Felix Frankfurter. He also worked for a number of governmental agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission. He served in the army during World War II and after his military service entered private practice in Washington, D.C.
In 1947 Rauh founded Americans for Democratic Action. During the course of his career he also had leading positions with other civil rights organizations, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In the 1950s, Rauh represented several individuals called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, including Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, and John Watkins, whose case reached the Supreme Court. President Bill Clinton awarded Rauh the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously.Send Feedback on this article