Anthony Lewis (1927-2013) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote beautifully about the First Amendment in books such as Make No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment (1992) and Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment (2008).
Adam Liptak of The New York Times summed it up best when he wrote that Lewis “brought law to life.”
Lewis was Supreme Court reporter for The New York Times
Born in 1927 in New York City, Lewis earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard College in 1948. That year, he joined The New York Times where he spent the vast majority of his career. He later studied at Harvard Law School in preparation for becoming the Times’ Supreme Court reporter.
Lewis wrote about the Court for the Times for years. “One cannot talk about the Warren Court without talking about Anthony Lewis,” First Amendment expert Ronald K. L. Collins told the Associated Press. “He was almost the 10th justice of the Warren Court.”
His most famous book was Gideon’s Trumpet (1964) about the Supreme Court’s decision in Gideon v. Wainwright (1962), ruling that state court criminal defendants facing felony charges are entitled to a lawyer whether or not they can afford one.
Lewis won Pulitzer Prizes, wrote books on First Amendment
He won his first Pulitzer Prize at age 28 in 1955 while writing for The Washington Daily News. He garnered his second Pulitzer in 1963 for his coverage of the Supreme Court for The New York Times.
On the First Amendment, Lewis wrote his book Make No Law on the Court’s seminal libel law decision New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), which Lewis wrote not only constitutionalized libel law but also saved the Civil Rights Movement.
David L. Hudson, Jr. is a law professor at Belmont who publishes widely on First Amendment topics. He is the author of a 12-lecture audio course on the First Amendment entitled Freedom of Speech: Understanding the First Amendment (Now You Know Media, 2018). He also is the author of many First Amendment books, including The First Amendment: Freedom of Speech (Thomson Reuters, 2012) and Freedom of Speech: Documents Decoded (ABC-CLIO, 2017). This article was originally published in 2009.