Table of contents

Chapter 1 — Childhood on the Shores of Lake Huron 1
Chapter 2 — Murphy’s Formal Education and His Exposure to Progressive Ideas 10
Chapter 3 — World War I: A Leap over the Top 16
Chapter 4 — United States Attorney’s Office: Enforcing Laws as a Patriotic Duty 26
Chapter 5 — Private Practice as a Path to Politics 36
Chapter 6 — Reformer on the Criminal Court Bench 45
Chapter 7 — The Ossian Sweet Trial: A Black Defendant and a White Jury 62
Chapter 8 — Murphy as Mayor: Calling a Depression a Depression 75
Chapter 9 — Mayor Murphy’s Direct Appeal to Washington for Aid 96
Chapter 10 — The New Deal and Murphy 107
Chapter 11 — Murphy to the Philippines 124
Chapter 12 — The Campaign for Governor 139
Chapter 13 — A Governorship Dominated by Labor Strife 148
Chapter 14 — Murphy’s Ineffective Reelection Campaign 167
Chapter 15 — Murphy as Attorney General of the United States 181
Chapter 16 — The Supreme Court: Murphy’s Initial Years 200
Chapter 17 — The Japanese-American Internments and the Supreme Court Curfew Cases 231
Chapter 18 — Murphy’s Supreme Court Confronts the Expulsions 249
Chapter 19 — Last Years 271
Chapter 20 — Conclusions 290
Bibliography 306
Index 312

Look Inside


Frank Murphy was a Michigan man unafraid to speak truth to power. Born in 1890, he grew up in a small town on the shores of Lake Huron and rose to become Mayor of Detroit, Governor of Michigan, and finally a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. One of the most important politicians in Michigan’s history, Murphy was known for his passionate defense of the common man, earning him the pun “tempering justice with Murphy.”

Murphy is best remembered for his immense legal contributions supporting individual liberty and fighting discrimination, particularly discrimination against the most vulnerable. Despite being a loyal ally of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when FDR ordered the removal of Japanese Americans during World War II, Supreme Court Justice Murphy condemned the policy as “racist” in a scathing dissent to the Korematsu v. United States decision—the first use of the word in a Supreme Court opinion. Every American, whether arriving by first class or in chains in the galley of a slave ship, fell under Murphy’s definition of those entitled to the full benefits of the American dream.

Justice and Faith explores Murphy’s life and times by incorporating troves of archive materials not available to previous biographers, including local newspaper records from across the country. Frank Murphy is proof that even in dark times, the United States has extraordinary resilience and an ability to produce leaders of morality and courage.

Greg Zipes is an attorney and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Professional Studies at New York University.

Winner: Midwestern History Association (MHA) 2021 Hamlin Garland Prize in Popular History

- MHA Hamlin Garland Prize in Popular History

Winner: Historical Society of Michigan (HSM) 2021 State History Award

- HSM State History Award

"I learned loads about a man whose name I’d previously only associated with a courthouse in Detroit that bears his name. . . . And while he might initially seem like a kind of Forrest Gump forebear, appearing in photographs (many of them drawn from U-M’s Bentley Historical Library) alongside far more famous historical figures, Murphy’s place among them was earned through a dogged dedication to ideals that dovetailed neatly with FDR’s progressivism."
Hour Detroit

- Jenn McKee

"The committee commends attorney Zipes for an inspiring biography of Frank Murphy (1890-1949). . . This readable book balances Murphy’s accomplishments and foibles in ways that should appeal to public audiences but that also should prompt readers to think deeply about the rightness of social justice causes."
Hamlin Garland Prize in Popular History (Midwestern History Association)

- Hamlin Garland Prize in Popular History

Listen: Author Interview on the History Unplugged Podcast | Link | 09/20/2022
Watch: Virtual Author Event | Link | 06/29/2021