Charles A. Reich

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Charles A. Reich
Charles Alan Reich

(1928-05-20)May 20, 1928
DiedJune 15, 2019(2019-06-15) (aged 91)
Alma materOberlin College
Yale Law School
OccupationLawyer, professor, writer
EmployerCravath, Swaine & Moore
Arnold & Porter
Yale Law School
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of San Francisco
Known forThe Greening of America

Charles Alan Reich (/rʃ/;[1] May 20, 1928 – June 15, 2019) was an American academic and writer best known for writing the 1970 book The Greening of America, a paean to the counterculture of the 1960s. Excerpts of the book first appeared in The New Yorker,[2] and its seismic reception there[3] contributed to the book leading The New York Times Best Seller list.


Reich was born in New York City to a medical family.[4] He attended City and Country School and Lincoln School in the city prior to undergraduate studies at Oberlin College, receiving his B.A. in 1949.[5][6] As a law student, he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal for 1951–1952[7] and he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black during the 1953-1954 term.[8][9] During this period he also became a friend of Justice William O. Douglas, as he recounts in his autobiography. Prior to his academic career he worked for six years as a lawyer at the white-shoe firms Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York[10] and Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C.[11][4]

Reich was a professor at Yale Law School from 1960-1974. His "The New Property" influenced the Supreme Court to broaden its conceptualization of property in the landmark administrative law case Goldberg v. Kelly.[12][13] Both Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton were students of Reich when he was writing The Greening of America and he is mentioned in their biographies.[14] Reich left Yale in 1974 to move to San Francisco, although he continued as a visiting professor from 1974 to 1976. He returned to teach at Yale from 1991 to 1994 and in February 2011.[3] The Yale Law School Association selected Reich for its Award of Merit in 2008.[15]

Reich was gay, and came to terms with this in San Francisco during the 1970s era of rapidly advancing gay rights.[16] He came out during this early period of the modern LGBT rights movement and in his autobiography he details his activism and the process of coming to terms with his then long-repressed sexuality.[11] Decades later Reich was less active in LGBT affairs and explicitly stated that his need to live alone "trumped" sexual orientation as meaningful in his life.[5]

Reich died in San Francisco on June 15, 2019.[1]



Reich wrote numerous articles. The following is a selection:


Reich also authored and co-authored a number of books. The following is a selection:


  1. ^ a b Roberts, Sam (June 17, 2019). "Charles Reich, Who Saw 'The Greening of America,' Dies at 91". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  2. ^ Reich, Charles A. (1970-09-26). "Reflections: The Greening of America". The New Yorker: 42.
  3. ^ a b Schwartz, Daniel (2010-09-27). "The Greening of America turns 40: Q&A: Charles Reich". CBC News.
  4. ^ a b Citron, Rodger D. (Jul 2007). "Charles Reich's Journey From the Yale Law Journal to the New York Times Best-Seller List: The Personal History of The Greening of America" (PDF). New York Law School Law Review. New York: New York Law School. 52 (3). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-19.
  5. ^ a b Ghiglione, Loren (2012). "Before Occupy Wall Street there was The Greening of America". Traveling with Twain: In Search of America's Identity. Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  6. ^ Reich, Charles A. (Spring 2003). "Letters: Offering respects". Oberlin Alumni Magazine. 98 (4). Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  7. ^ "The Yale Law Journal, May 1952, 6 (5)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  8. ^ Reich, Charles A. (2004). "Deciding the Fate of Brown". Green Bag. New Series. 7: 137. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  9. ^ Peppers, Todd C. (2011). "Justice Hugo Black and His Law Clerks: Match‐Making and Match Point". Journal of Supreme Court History. 36: 48–61. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5818.2011.01257.x. Paid subscription access
  10. ^ Swygert, Michael I. (1971). "Charles A. Reich, The Greening of America". Valparaiso University Law Review. 5 (3).
  11. ^ a b Reich, Charles A. (1976). The Sorcerer of Bolinas Reef. New York: Random House.
  12. ^ Aman, Alfred C.. (2014). Administrative Law and Process. Third ed. LexisNexis (51).
  13. ^ Elhauge, Einer (November 6, 2000). "Opinion: The New 'New Property'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  14. ^ Clinton, Hilary Rodham (2004). Living History. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 44. ISBN 9780743222259. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  15. ^ Award of Merit
  16. ^ Italie, Hillel (June 18, 2019). "Charles Reich, counterculture author who wrote 'The Greening of America,' dies at 91". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-06-26.

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