Biographical Information

Philip Elman was a lawyer who handled government briefs in the Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education case of 1954.

Mr. Elman worked as an assistant in the Solicitor General's office from 1944 to 1961. He argued some 50 cases before the Supreme Court, and civil rights cases were his principal responsibility.

He dealt with such litigation when the government became involved as a party or friend of the court. At times he worked with Thurgood Marshall, the former justice of the United States Supreme Court who was then director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and who pursued civil rights cases to which the government often became a party.

Such cases eventually led to the Brown decision, in which the court unanimously overturned its own separate-but-equal doctrine, established in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, and ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

Mr. Elman was the chief author of the government's briefs in the Brown case. In one, he suggested the phrase ''with all deliberate speed'' when the court clarified in 1955 how its historic decision was to be carried out.

Philip Elman was born in Paterson, N.J., and graduated from City College of New York in 1936. At the age of 21 he went to Harvard Law School on a scholarship and became a protege of Felix Frankfurter, who went on to become a Supreme Court justice.

Mr. Elman served on the Federal Trade Commission from 1961 to 1970. He died on November 30, 1999.