100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.
The Tragic Victim of Due Process
“Mob Law does not Become due Process of Law”
Frank v. Magnum
237 U.S. 309 (1915)
It is not the brief life, but the brutal death, of Leo Marx Frank (1884–1915) that makes his story one of the most notorious examples of a flawed justice system in American history. Born in Texas to German-Jewish immigrants, Frank was raised in Brooklyn, New York. He studied drafting at the Pratt Institute and received a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell in 1906, after which he spent the summer touring Europe. A few years later, Frank joined his uncle in establishing the National Pencil Factory in Atlanta, Georgia. The younger Frank, who had traveled to Germany to learn the pencil business at Eberhard-Faber, achieved ...