Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Justice Stevens and the Baseball Antitrust Exemption

Henry Fetter has written an interesting piece for The Atlantic, looking back at retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' work as associate counsel to the Monopoly Power Subcommittee of the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee, and in particular the role he played during the 1951 Celler Hearings regarding the antitrust status of Major League Baseball. Here is an excerpt:

As curious crowds thronged the Capitol amidst a crush of reporters and newsreel cameras, a diverse lineup of baseball notables took the witness table, including major and minor league officials, team owners, ball players, even sports writers, and associate committee counsel Stevens was asking many of the questions. Not always with success in getting clear answers, as press accounts of his persistent pursuit of a characteristically elusive Branch Rickey show. And Stevens also had to confront a rather forthright rebuke from one witness: sports columnist Red Smith insisted "that in these times I think there are graver matters. I think there are more pressing matters to deal with." Perhaps relieving any frustration and sting from such encounters, Stevens did have the chance to engage in a more amicable interchange with Phil Wrigley, owner of his own beloved Cubs.

The full article is available here.