International law conjures up images of large firm lawyers jetting from one glamorous international location to another making deals for an international multilateral corporation. Or one’s thoughts may tend toward civil servants working for their country’s foreign ministry or for an international organization negotiating treaties that stop wars or arguing fine points of public international law before an international tribunal in The Hague or Strasbourg, or some similar place not named Pompano Beach, Florida, Houston, Texas, St. Louis, Missouri, Norman, Oklahoma, Topeka, Kansas even New York City. But the latter areall places where Thurgood Marshall plied his trade as a civil rights lawyer in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s—places where there was very little glamour (unless one considers cramped office space at Columbus Circle in New York City glamorous). These locales challenge traditional images of international law and international law practice. The images of the civil rights era emblazoned in the minds of anyone old enough to remember old news reports are anything but glamorous (just as most of what is truly international law is not particularly glamorous). But they were locations where important changes in how states’ view their responsibility toward individuals were made, implemented, and publicized such that they became important stops along the path of development of international law.
This article will examine how Thurgood Marshall as a litigator, activist, private statesman, and Associate Justice, influenced this process, leading to the development of international law at various stages of his life.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/craig_jackson/3/