The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst, Free Speech Renegade

Civil liberties lawyer Morris Ernst, Class of 1909, waged many battles in the courtroom, fighting against censorship, arguing for reproductive rights, advocating for unions and seeking protections for sexual expression and public speech. Active in the 1930s and ’40s, he greatly influenced liberal causes and may be best remembered for winning a 1933 case that allowed James Joyce’s Ulysses to be published in the U.S. Outside the courtroom, however, he had conflicting viewpoints that, Barbas argues, harmed the progress being made with civil liberties. The arguments Ernst presented in his era are just as pertinent today.