This collection contains thousands of FBI documents procured by North Carolina lawyer Alexander Charns through the Freedom of Information Act over eight years. His research reveals the extent of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s secret activity to influence Supreme Court decisions and to discredit non-compliant Supreme Court Justices through wiretaps and disinformation. In the process Charns filed hundreds of Freedom of Information requests and brought lawsuits against the FBI. Charns was given special permission to research Justice Abe Fortas’ papers which showed Fortas had been an informer to the FBI and the White House during his tenure which ended in disgrace after an ethics scandal. Charns' pioneering work was the first to expose this FBI constitutional violation of the separation of powers.
The collection has three linear feet of documents provided by the FBI and from Charns' own correspondence and legal actions to obtain them. It includes files on Warren Burger, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis Powell, Harry Blackman, Byron White, William Rehnquist and Carolyn Agger, the widow of Justice Fortas. The documents in this collection were obtained by Mr. Charns after the publication of Cloak and Gavel : FBI wiretaps, bugs, informers and the Supreme Court (University of Illinois Press) in 1992. The collection provides opportunities to expand upon the findings of Mr. Charns’ book.
Special thanks to Professor Tuan Samahon for his role in bringing these unique and important materials to the Villanova Law Library.