Michigan Legal Milestones
26. Milo Radulovich and the Fall of McCarthyism

In 1953, two Michigan attorneys, the Hon. Kenneth N. Sanborn and Charles C. Lockwood assisted Milo Radulovich, a resident of Dexter Michigan at the time, in his fight against the United States Air Force. The Air Force attempted to strip Mr. Radulovich of his treasured commission for associating with his allegedly subversive father and sister. Taking the case pro bono, his attorneys prevailed and the Air Force reinstated Mr. Radulovich's commission. Dedicated and placed outside the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University Building in East Lansing on September 2, 1998.

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Milo Radulovich and the Fall of McCarthyism

During the 1950s, McCarthyism jeopardized the personal reputations of countless American citizens. In 1953, the United States Air Force attempted to strip Lt. Milo Radulovich of his commission for associating with his allegedly subversive father and sister. He was faced with the option of resigning "in lieu of elimination from the service" or requesting a hearing. Radulovich chose to fight the charges.

He was assisted by two Michigan attorneys: Charles C. Lockwood, a 1922 graduate of the Detroit College of Law, a sole practitioner, and professor at DCL, and Kenneth N. Sanborn, a sole practitioner from Macomb County who knew Radulovich from their days in the Aviation Cadet Program at Michigan State College. Moved by the unjustified attack on Radulovich, the two lawyers took the case pro bono and used the power of public opinion to gain support for their client.

Legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow and Fred W. Friendly saw the Radulovich case as the compelling story needed to strike a fatal blow to McCarthyism. It was featured on the popular CBS program "See It Now" in October 1953. The following year, the Air Force rescinded its order to revoke Radulovich's commission. It is generally believed that the program was the beginning of the end for Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Of his attorneys, Radulovich said, "They restored one citizen's faith in Michigan's legal community." Lockwood later represented 15 individuals facing similar charges, winning every case. Sanborn became a circuit court judge and one of Michigan's most respected jurists.

Placed by the State Bar of Michigan, Macomb County Bar Association, and Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University, 1998.