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Immigrants Of The Day: Thomas Francis Meagher of Ireland, Anthony Joseph Celebrezze Sr. of Italy, and Fernando Álvaro Lamas of Argentina

by Kevin R. Johnson

Thomas Francis Meagher (Ireland)

Meagher4s Thomas Francis Meagher (1823–1867), as a young man, was an Irish revolutionary, fighting for Ireland's independence from British rule. During this time, Meagher introduced the flag that is now regarded as the national Flag of Ireland. In 1848, Meagher was convicted of sedition by the United Kingdom, and sentenced to death. Due to public outcry, his sentence was commuted to expulsion to Van Diemen's Land on the Australian state of Tasmania.

In 1852, Meagher escaped to the United States and arrived in New York City. Once in the United States he joined the United States Army and served as a Brigadier General during the Civil War, and most notably forming and leading the famous Irish Brigade, which fought valiantly in many battles including Gettysburg.  When the Civil War broke out, he raised Company K, Irish Zouaves, for the 69th New York State Militia Regiment which fought at First Bull Run.  He commanded the Irish Brigade.

After the war, Meagher served as acting governor of the Montana Territory. In 1867, Meagher drowned in the Missouri River. 

April 29, 2008 | Permalink

Anthony Joseph Celebrezze Sr. (Italy)

Celebrezzecampaign Anthony Joseph Celebrezze Sr. (1910–1998) was a Democratic politician, who served as mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, a cabinet member in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and as a U.S. court of appeals judge.

Celebrezze was born in Anzi, Italy, but moved with his family to the United States as a young child. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He attended Ohio Northern University, where he received a J.D.

In 1950, Celebrezze ran for a seat on the Ohio State Senate and won. He served as an Ohio state senator from 1951 to 1953.  Celebrezze resigned to successfully run for Mayor of Cleveland.  Celebrezze was mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, from 1953 to 1962. In 1958, he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for Governor of Ohio.

From 1962 to 1965, Celebrezze served in the cabinets of presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, as the U.S. Secretary for Health, Education, and Welfare. One of Celebrezze's most important achievements as secretary of HEW was separating the public assistance and child health and welfare functions from the Social Security Administration and transferring these programs to a new Welfare Administration. Under Celebrezze's watch, HEW was granted power to deny funds for any federal program, to any state, or institutions which practiced racial segregation.

In 1965, President Johnson appointed Celebrezze to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He served as a federal appeals court judge until his death in 1998.

During his years on the Sixth Circuit, Judge Celebrezze authored a number of distinguished opinions. In Beasley v. United States, he established the standard of "effective assistance of counsel" under the Sixth Amendment. In Hill v. Tennessee Valley Authority, Judge Celebrezze held that the district court had erred in its refusal to issue an injunction against building a dam over a river in which an endangered species, the snail darter, was found. The opinion stated that Endangered Species Act violations must be enjoined despite strong equitable arguments to the contrary in special instances, such as in the Hill case. The Tennessee Valley Authority was directed to seek any exemption from the restrictions within the Act by an appeal to the Congress, if TVA so desired. In Gabriele v. Chrysler Corp., Judge Celebrezze held that an aggrieved person need not resort to state agencies prior to commencing an Age Discrimination in Employment Act lawsuit in federal court.

In dissent, too, Judge Celebrezze made law. In Krause v. Rhodes, the Sixth Circuit held that executive immunity is absolute, thereby barring suit by injured Kent State students against various state officials. In dissenting, Judge Celebrezze held executive immunity to be relative, dependent on the actor's state of mind. The Supreme Court reversed the Sixth Circuit, adopting the dissent's reasoning. And in the area of criminal law, the Sixth Circuit held that mere possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon is a federal offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1202(a)(1). Judge Celebrezze, in dissent, argued that the government must also prove that the firearm in question was "in commerce or affecting commerce." The Supreme Court, in United States v. Bass, adopted Judge Celebrezze's view.

During his years of serving the public, Judge Celebrezze garnered many honors and awards. Among them were honorary degrees from Fenn College, Boston College, LaSalle College, Ohio Northern University, Rhode Island College, Bowling Green State University, Wilberforce University, Miami University (Ohio) and Cleveland State University.

The U.S. government building in Cleveland is named after Celebrezze.

April 30, 2008 | Permalink

Fernando Álvaro Lamas (Argentina)

Llamas Fernando Álvaro Lamas (b. 1915, Buenos Aires, Argentina–d. 1982) was an actor and director. Lamas was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. By 1942, he was an established movie star in Argentina. In 1951, he signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and went to the United States to play "Latin Lover" roles.

Lamas directed for the first time in 1963. It was a Spanish movie titled Magic Fountain. He was most active directing on television, doing episodes that included Mannix, The Violent Ones, Alias Smith and Jones, Starsky and Hutch and Falcon Crest.

Lamas lived on in popular culture via the "Fernando" character developed by Billy Crystal on Saturday Night Live in the mid-1980s.

Fernando Lamas died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, California at the age of 67.

A nice Llamas quote:  "When a person has an accent, it means he can speak one more language than you" — when Johnny Carson teased him about his accent during an appearance on The Tonight Show.

May 16, 2008 | Permalink

These posts were orginally posted on the ImmigrationProf Blog here, here and here.

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog .

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.