The Law: The Reluctant Judge

After a complicated civil trial, lawyers expect to spend anxious months waiting for the judge's decision. But attorneys at the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund think matters have gone to weird lengths in the case of Storage Handler William English and other black employees of the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. Their employment-discrimination suit—raising issues of promotion and seniority—was filed in 1969. The trial did not begin until January 1973. Then Georgia Federal Judge Alexander A. Lawrence set about pondering his decision. Now, two years and five months later, he is still pondering.

He cannot...

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