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Tapes reveal Thurgood Marshall's rocky road to the Supreme Court

"I'm going to appoint Thurgood Marshall to the (Supreme) Court." This monumental, unexpected bombshell from President Lyndon Johnson -- spoken in private in the summer of 1965 -- set in motion a history-making drama, revealed for the first time in newly public audio tapes. In secret recordings and transcripts made exclusive to CNN, Johnson laid out a politically crafty plan that was years in the making to groom Marshall as the first African-American on the high court. It was part of a broader White House strategy to implement the president's civil rights agenda, something he openly hoped would cement his legacy and strengthen the Democrats' base. Marshall was unaware of all this when Johnson first called him on July 7, 1965. Marshall, then a federal appeals court judge in New York, had been summoned from lunch. The president, a master persuader, wastes little time making his point:

02/24/2011 3:36PM
Tapes reveal Thurgood Marshall's rocky road to the Supreme Court
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