In response to:

The Conspiracy Weapon from the November 6, 1969 issue

To the Editors:

By his own confession, Herbert Packer was unable to resist the temptation to guess at the inner workings of Attorney General Ramsey Clark’s mind at the time of the bringing of the conspiracy charges against Dr. Spock, et al. [NYR, November 6]

Law professor Packer speculates that Clark consciously authorized the conspiracy prosecution knowing that it was eventually doomed to failure “somewhere along the line.” To suggest that the mind of the man Packer calls “this best Attorney General of modern times” and “who performed so honorably [emphasis my own] in office” could entertain such a wretched plan is somewhat disconcerting. Such guesswork is more revelatory of the mind of the guesser.

Who could be more dishonorable than the lawyer who undertakes to represent his client while secretly hoping that he lose the case? I am not so much concerned with what went on in the mind of Ramsey Clark during the Johnson administration as I am with the goings on in the minds of those of the professor’s law students who read their mentor’s book reviews. Some of them may become lawyers.

Norman A. Rheuban

Canfield, Ohio 44406

Herbert L Packer replies:

I suppose that I might have resisted the temptation. It amounts to suggesting that the Attorney General might have been guilty of the capital offense of ambivalence. In Mr. Rheuban’s court I imagine that my offense must be also capital. I plead guilty.

This Issue

January 29, 1970