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Interview with Stewart Dalzell: Tape Index

Interviewee: Judge Stewart Dalzell

Interviewer: Jeremy Blumenthal

Date: October 29, 1999

Place: Judge Dalzell’s chambers

Time - Topic

01:50 - Interviewer introduction

02:50 - Interview beginning

03:10 - Birthdate and birthplace

03:20 - Parents’ birthplaces

04:03 - Siblings

04:15 - Parents’ occupations

04:37 - Growing up and high school

06:05 - Childhood hobbies

07:45 - “Wandered” through high school; unsure about college

09:15 - Attending Penn “providential”; a “turning point”

10:04 - College “absolutely intoxicating”

10:20 - A “very rich educational experience” at Penn

10:50 - Meeting mentor Digby Baltzell

11:55 - Baltzell as “intellectual father”

12:55 - Baltzell: contribute to others

13:10 - Forever in Baltzell’s debt

13:53 - Not sure what to do after college

14:04 - Fascinated by movie industry; began working for NBC

14:56 - TV business “interesting” but “shallow”

15:44 - Decided to leave to attend law school

16:10 - Law school even more stimulating than college

16:38 - Professor Paul Mishkin’s influence

17:36 - “Got the bug” from Mishkin

18:25 - Prof. Tony Amsterdam - most brilliant person ever met

18:46 - Recalling first year of Penn Law School

20:00 - Law school classes “quite humbling”

20:50 - First year professors and courses

22:57 - Why Mishkin was so impressive

23:20 - 1L Class - about 180 students

23:30 - Proportions of women and minorities

24:37 - Cohesive student body; a “foxhole experience”

25:28 - Classes were “electric,” “exhausting”

26:10 - Political activism at the Law School

26:56 - Law school remote from undergraduate campus activism

27:05 - Some university-wide discussions of political issues

28:30 - Strong effect of the draft on law students’ minds

29:00 - Opinion about Vietnam War

30:55 - Working as research assistant during law school

31:25 - Publication of Note on Public Defender’s office

32:48 - 2L summer job at Drinker Biddle & Reath

34:45 - Permanent offer from Drinker

35:51 - Studying for bar — “deadening” experience

36:09 - Teaching at Wharton School before beginning work at Drinker

37:45 - Deciding to practice law rather than teach

38:47 - “Teaching was just pure pleasure”

39:57 - Usefulness of Wharton courses in practice and in judging

41:00 - Sharswood Law Club member as law student

42:58 - How law school has changed

43:52 - More interdisciplinary work

45:05 - Law school even better now: impressiveness of current Penn Law graduates

45:32 - Why clerking wasn’t considered after graduating

45:48 - Not clerking is “the one regret”

46:40 - Choosing Philadelphia over returning to New York City

48:52 - Early time at Drinker as an associate

49:43 - Biggest case there: Penn Central Railroad reorganization

51:24 - Recalling Ed Rome (Blank Rome) during Penn Central case; skill at depositions

54:18 - Handling the Penn Central settlement

56:21 - How practicing law has changed since then

56:50 - Impact of Bates v. Arizona State Bar

58:00 - Conflict between law as “profession” and law as “business”

59:00 - Should be profession, not business

59:30 - Becoming involved in Pennsylvania politics

1:00:18 - First as a committeeman, door-to-door canvassing

1:01:00 - First big campaign: Longstreth for Mayor (1971)

1:01:36 - Comparing to Street-Katz 1999 Mayoral campaign

1:03:15 - Meeting John Heinz

1:04:20 - Working on Heinz’s senate campaign (1976)

1:05:48 - Virtually a second full-time job

1:07:20 - Making partner at Drinker

1:08:08 - Relationship with Heinz until his death in 1991

1:08:39 - Campaign against Mayor Rizzo’s effort to change Philadelphia Home Charter

1:09:37 - Considering (but declining) campaign for Philadelphia Mayor

1:11:37 - Nomination to bench

1:15:15 - Discussing nomination process

1:17:32 - Heinz “tickled pink” about nomination

1:18:24 - Confirmation process “interminable”

1:19:43 - Bipartisan support for nomination from Heinz’s widow and Sen. Biden (D-NJ)

1:20:48 - Early time on the bench — “intoxicating”

1:22:08 - High expectations about judging were exceeded

1:23:00 - “Fabulous” variety of cases on docket

1:24:55 - “No two days the same”

1:25:20 - Balancing formalism of legal decision-making with understanding litigants’ stories

1:25:22 - Penn Law Review article on “Faces in the Courtroom”

1:26:49 - Philosophy of judging: see the faces of the litigants

1:27:23 - Understand “the whole story”

1:27:45 - “Disasters” of the law: Korematsu; Dred Scott; Carrie Buck’s case

1:31:50 - Law as an educational tool

1:34:36 - Changing perception of role of judge and judiciary

1:36:10 - Importance of good lawyering

1:38:20 - First rule of lawyering should be “do no harm”

1:39:00 - Cases most proud of: ACLU v. Reno

1:40:21 - United States v. McDermott

1:45:09 - Most difficult cases: Gouveia v. Vokes

1:48:06 - Lambert v. Blackwell

1:49:12 - Advice to people starting in the law

1:49:22 - Do things in the community

1:50:56 - Follow your interests

1:52:21 - “The only person with a better job is Francis Coppola”