Carol WeissKing

Carol Weiss King took up the family business of law but rejected her family’s upper-crust background to become a pioneer of labor rights. The daughter of Samuel Weiss, who founded one of New York’s first corporate law firms, King graduated Barnard in 1916 and volunteered with a local branch of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union before earning her law degree from NYU in 1920. She began championing cases of immigrants and left-wing activists, and from 1924–1931 she edited the ACLU’s Law and Freedom Bulletin, documenting constitutional law cases for other activists to use as precedents. She founded the International Juridical Association and the National Lawyers Guild. In 1942 she became general counsel to the American Committee for the Foreign Born, defending the Scottsboro Boys, union leaders, civil rights activists, and other dissidents. She withstood FBI surveillance, counseled clients on how to defend themselves before the House Un–American Activities Committee, and took pride in her victories against the Immigration and Naturalization Service, holding INS to the same rules as other federal departments. While many of her cases went to the Supreme Court, she often had male lawyers argue the cases she had prepared to avoid sexism affecting her cases’ outcomes.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Carol Weiss King." (Viewed on January 26, 2021) <>.


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