Other Tributes

Message from Seth P. Waxman
Solicitor General of the United States
June 2000

Robert Stern was one of the most distinguished alumni of the Office of the Solicitor General. His brilliant record of public service in representing the United States before the Supreme Court was capped by his exemplary performance of the duties of Acting Solicitor General of the United States from March 1, 1953 to February 25, 1954. That is the longest period in which any career official in the Department of Justice has been called upon to fulfill that important responsibility.

When Robert Stern thereafter turned to his lengthy career in private practice, he recognized the need for an authoritative book concerning Supreme Court practice. With his colleague, Eugene Gressman, he met than need definitively with the publication of their classic volume on the subject, which has persisted through numerous subsequent editions. It remains an invaluable sourcebook for both the practitioner and the scholar.

The name of Robert Stern will forever be associated with the best traditions of public service and of the legal profession. To follow in his footsteps is a source of continuing pride and of special responsibility for all of us who continue to appear before the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

Letter from Daniel M. Friedman
Senior Circuit Judge
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Washington, D.C.

Judge Friedman ("Danny" to his friends) worked with Bob in the Department of Justice in the 1950s

I first met Bob Stern in 1951, when I joined the appellate section of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. Most of the work in the section was in the Supreme Court, since at that time government civil antitrust cases were appealed directly to that Court. I therefore had frequent and detailed contact with Bob almost from the beginning, and we quickly became good friends.

One day in 1954 I was asked to attend a meeting in Bob's office. When I arrived there, I found assembled the senior lawyers from the Department's appellate sections. Bob told us of his decision to leave the government and go into private practice. We were all shocked and dismayed at the news, since Bob had been the epitome of the Solicitor General's Office and an essential part of it.

After Bob left the government, he and I continued to be good friends. We saw each other from time to time, usually when Bob came to Washington, such as to handle legal matters or to attend the meetings of the American Law Institute. When he was here I frequently would have lunch or dinner with him, and also met him at various functions.

Of course, in a very real sense Bob never left the Solicitor General's Office. He continued to function there as the co-author (with Eugene Gressman) of their monumental book on Supreme Court Practice. During my almost 20 years in the Solicitor General's Office, Supreme Court Practice was the Bible we consulted whenever we had a difficult or unusual question or wanted to ascertain how the Court had handled a similar problem in the past. We also would cite the work in our briefs. Although the volume primarily was intended for and used by private practitioners, it was also of inestimable importance to those of us who practiced before the Court representing the government.

The high regard in which everyone holds this book is a tribute to the great skills of its authors and the tremendous contributions they made to Supreme Court litigation. Bob and Eugene Gressman wrote the first edition during the time that Bob was serving in the Solicitor General's Office. I do not know how he possible found the time to do it.

Bob was an unusual combination of intellectual achievement, a cheerful and friendly personality, and a modesty not always found in someone with his achievements.

We shall all miss you greatly, Bob.

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