Roslyn Litman, Antitrust Lawyer and Civil Liberties Advocate, Dies during 88

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Roslyn Litman was rebuffed by law firms since of her gender.

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University of Pittsburgh

Roslyn Litman, a devoted polite liberties disciple whose groundbreaking justice victories enclosed a dismissal of a holiday Nativity arrangement from a open building and an antitrust visualisation opposite veteran basketball for blackballing a player, died on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. She was 88.

The means was pancreatic cancer, pronounced her son, Harry, a former emissary partner United States profession ubiquitous and sovereign prosecutor in western Pennsylvania.

Ms. Litman, a Brooklyn-born transplant to Pennsylvania, assimilated a American Civil Liberties Union while she was still in law school, served for 3 decades on a inhabitant house and followed cases that other litigators had given adult as mislaid causes.

“Roz had a conspicuous ability to issue-spot — to brand misapplication and rise novel authorised theories that move about systemic change in unequivocally confirmed institutions,” Anthony D. Romero, a A.C.L.U.’s executive director, pronounced in an interview. “If she had been a male in a same generation, she would be some-more of a domicile name, like an Atticus Finch.”

In her initial justification before a United States Supreme Court, in 1989, Ms. Litman swayed a neatly divided dais to rule, 5-4, that displaying a Christmas crèche in a Allegheny County building in Pittsburgh alongside a ensign proclaiming “Glory to God in a Highest” was unconstitutional.

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In his infancy opinion, Justice Harry A. Blackmun announced that a First Amendment’s proviso prohibiting a central investiture of sacrament could not accommodate such an categorically eremite message.

“The Government might acknowledge Christmas as a informative phenomenon,” he wrote, “but underneath a First Amendment it might not observe it as a Christian holy day by suggesting that people regard God for a birth of Jesus.”

The statute determined a case-by-case proceed for contrast a constitutionality of publicly sponsored eremite displays. (At a same time, a justice upheld, 6-3, a arrangement of a menorah together with a Christmas tree on a stairs of Pittsburgh City Hall as approval that “both Christmas and Hanukkah are partial of a same winter-holiday season, that has achieved a physical standing in a society.”)

Ms. Litman confronted a N.B.A. in 1966, contending that it had disregarded antitrust laws when it refused to let any group pointer Connie Hawkins, who was personification with a Harlem Globetrotters.

Mr. Hawkins had played for Boys High School in Brooklyn and had been questioned in a college basketball gambling liaison though was never indicted of wrongdoing. The box was recounted in 1972 by David Wolf in “Foul: The Connie Hawkins Story,” that Jonathan B. Segal, essay in The New York Times Book Review, pronounced showed “how an impecunious black male was victimized by a fat-cat, unconcerned Establishment.”

Ms. Litman followed a case, an radical plea to antitrust law, with her father and law partner, S. David Litman, and another lawyer, Howard Specter. They argued that a N.B.A. had in outcome illegally criminialized Mr. Hawkins and deprived him of a “opportunity to acquire a livelihood.”

In 1969, a joining concluded to a allotment of scarcely $1.3 million and reserved Mr. Hawkins’s rights to a Phoenix Suns. He went on to have a Hall of Fame career in a N.B.A.

Ms. Litman was among a group of lawyers who won a record $415 million allotment in 1991 after accusing a Continental Can Company of targeting as many as 3,000 employees for layoffs to equivocate carrying to compensate their pensions.

A sovereign district judge, H. Lee Sarokin, statute in Newark and citing a Employee Retirement Income Security Act, pronounced a company’s possess papers were justification of “more than a smoking gun; they are a fusillade.”

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Eta Roslyn Margolis was innate on Sept. 30, 1928, in Brooklyn, a daughter and second child of Jewish immigrants from Ukraine who had creatively staid in Pittsburgh. Her father, Harry, was a wardrobe salesman. Her mother, a former Dorothy Perlow, was a milliner.

After she graduated from Erasmus Hall High School, a family returned to western Pennsylvania.

“I know my relatives were not happy about carrying a second child,” she once said, “but they were unequivocally good to me, they fed me.”

She entered a University of Pittsburgh formulation to turn a alloy though gravitated to English, debate and play classes. She chose a authorised career after assisting her beloved during a time, David Litman, brief cases in law school. She graduated from Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s grade in 1949 and from a university’s law propagandize in 1952, ranking initial in her class. She scored a top in a state bar exam.

Among her initial cases for a polite liberties union, to her father’s chagrin, was fortifying a right of a American Nazi Party to criticism in Pittsburgh.

Rebuffed by vital law firms since she was a woman, Ms. Litman and her father non-stop their possess practice. He died in 1996. In further to her son, she is survived by dual daughters, Jessica and Hannah Litman, and 6 grandchildren.

“One large advantage we had in being a lady was that everybody remembered me,” Ms. Litman recalled. “Being called a purpose indication is something I’m unequivocally unapproachable of.”


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