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Leo Pfeffer

Born: 25-Dec-1910
Birthplace: Austria-Hungary
Died: 4-Jun-1993
Location of death: Goshen, NY [1]
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scholar

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Religious liberty scholar, attorney

Born in Hungary, a resident of the United States from age two. He won the landmark Torcaso v. Watkins (1961) case in the US Supreme Court, removing as unconstitutional a provision from the Maryland Constitution requiring a religious test to hold office (declaration of "belief in the existence of God.")


[1] Arden Hill Hospital, Goshen, NY.

Sister: Rose Shilepsky
Sister: Dorothy Bernstein
Wife: Freda Plotkin (m. 1937, one son, one daughter)
Son: Alan Israel Pfeffer
Daughter: Susan Beth Pfeffer

    University: City College of New York (1930)
    Law School: New York University School of Law (1933)
    Teacher: Lecturer, New School for Social Research (1954-58)
    Teacher: Mount Holyoke College (1958-60)
    Teacher: Yeshiva University (1962-63)
    Professor: Political Science, Long Island University (1964-80)

    American Jewish Congress (1945-64)
    Humanist of the Year 1988

Author of books:
Church, State and Freedom (1953)
The Liberties of an American: The Supreme Court Speaks (1956)
This Honorable Court: A History of the United States Supreme Court (1965)
Religious Freedom (1977)
Religion, State, and the Burger Court (1984)


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