Eric L. Muller


Military jargon sneaks imperceptibly into the vocabulary of the law when the topic is litigation for social change. The litigation itself is styled a "campaign," its theoretical framework a series of "attacks." The planners of these campaigns, to whom many refer as "fighting the good fight," have been likened by Michael Meltsner to "those highly trained, specially assembled raider groups which are occasionally deployed in wartime" to chart "legal strategy under battlefield conditions." Jack Greenberg, Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF or "Fund") from 1961 through 1984, warns that

[t]he term "campaign" conjures up an image of military precision. But we will see, time and again, cases take on lives of their own and mature along unexpected lines. . . .Too much that occurs is not subject to control, . . .

Still, a quick glance at the literature on many of the Fund's projects-campaigns against segregated educational facilities, racially restrictive covenants, money bail, and others-indicates that issues of control, of risk, and of costs and benefits have been central to the decision-making process which has controlled the Fund's campaign strategies.

Included in

Law Commons