A man who thought... and differed, renown criminal and corporate defense lawyer Clarence Seward Darrow (1857–1938) was born on this day in rural Kinsman, Ohio, what he called "a quiet, peaceful, and picturesque spot.
"There is no such thing as justice -- in or out of court," said the controversial orator, who earned the worldwide reputation as a brilliant attorney.
"If you lose your power to laugh, you lose your power to think," he said.
A defender of the underdog and civil rights, he was a stanch opponent of capital punishment. Darrow was known for his passionate skills and defended over 100 persons charged with murder. None was ever sentenced to death.
"I was dealing with life, with its fears, its aspirations and despairs," he explained. "With me it was going to the foundation of motive and conduct and adjustments for human beings, instead of blindly talking hatred and vengeance and that subtle, indefinable quality that men call 'justice' and of which nothing really is known."
In 1925, Darrow traveled to Dayton, Tennessee where without a fee, he defended the right of science teacher John T. Scopes to teach Darwin's theory of evolution in public school. Darrow lost the highly-publicized "monkey trial," which was reversed in appeal and the basis for Spencer Tracy's classic film, Inherit The Wind (1960).
"Inside every lawyer," Darrow once said, "is the wreck of a poet."
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