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Famed Lawyer, Leonard Kerpelman, Dies at 88
A curmudgeon, voice of the unpopular, and winner of the controversial Supreme Court Case of 1963 that banned state-sanctioned religious prayers from public school, Leonard Kerpelman has himself gone on to rest with his forefathers. He has died at age 88 after complications from a tumor.

The 1963 case, which was his glory point, took on the part of Madalyn Murray O'Hair, whose son was mistreated because he asked to not participate in class prayer. The case made its way to other cases that confronted the supreme court, and it was decided that prayers and public schools don't mix, a point of contention that still riles up conservatives.

Incidentally, it also riles up Madalyn Murray O'Hair's son, who has since converted to Christianity and become an advocate for re-introducing school prayer. His mother, meanwhile, claimed that she was having a post-natal abortion, or disowning her son, but isn't around to complain about it, after she and her granddaughter were brutally murdered by a former American Atheists employee.

As weird as all that is, Leonard Kerpelman managed to keep things interesting for the rest of his career as well, becoming known as a gadfly, taking difficult and unpopular cases, such as helping to preserve wetlands on Maryland's Eastern Shore and to promote the legal rights of divorced fathers. He was finally disbarred for disruptive behavior, and overcharging clients, but not before he was sentenced to five days in jail for contempt of court in 1987 for being "so obnoxious that the dignity of the court and the orderly administration of justice was castrated."



As for what happy hunting grounds Kerpelman is onto now, he said in a letter at one point, "Those who expressed fear for my immortal soul: Don't worry yourselves. I have been a lawyer too long to be eligible for salvation anyway, though when I arrive at the celestial conference on the matter, I think I may be able to talk myself out of whatever difficulties I am in at the time."


09-29-2013

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