Wives, Children … Husbands: Supporting Roles




In 1965, Hugo L. Black asked his wife, Elizabeth, to host a dinner party. The purpose: to help him persuade Carolyn Agger, wife of Washington attorney Abe Fortas, to allow her husband to accept President Lyndon B. Johnson's offer of a seat on the Supreme Court. A tax lawyer at the same firm as Fortas, Agger was displeased that the move would mean a big cut in his salary; she thought he should spend a few more years in his lucrative private practice before becoming a judge. After all, he was only fifty-five. Elizabeth Black described the tense occasion in a diary entry: