This title takes the reader behind the scenes of the so-called "Scandal of 1969", an event which spelled the end of an Illinois Supreme Court justice's aspirations to the US Supreme Court, but also marked the beginning of little-known lawyer John Paul Steven's rise to the high court. In 1969, citizen gadfly Sherman Skolnick accused the chief justice and another Illinois Supreme Court Justice of accepting valuable bank stock from an influential Chicago lawyer in exchange for deciding an important case in the lawyer's favour. The feverish media coverage that resulted - a scandalous story in its own right, as Kennth A. Manaster reveals - prompted the state supreme court to appoint a special commission to investigate. Within six weeks and on a shoestring budget, the commission gathered a small volunteer staff and revealed the true facts. Stevens, then a relatively unknown Chicago lawyer, served as chief counsel. His work on the investigation would launch him into the public spotlight and onto the bench. Manaster, who served on the commission, tells the real story of the investgation, detailing the dead ends, tactics and triumphs.
At the heart of the book is a tense courtroom drama that unfolded in July 1969. Manaster traces Steven's courtroom strategies, and portrays the high-profile personalities involved (almost every member of the Illinois Supreme Court took the stand), as well as the subtleties of judicial corruption.
Kenneth A. Manaster practiced law in Chicago from 1968 to 1972, including service as an Illinois Assistant Attorney General. He is professor of law and the Presidential Professor of Ethics and the Common Good at Santa Clara University.