Schlei, Norbert Anthony (1929-2003)
Norbert A. Schlei, attorney, husband, father, and Civil Rights pioneer died from complications resulting from a heart attack and subsequent coma. Schlei was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1929. In 1950 Schlei received his B.A. from Ohio State University, where he earned three letters on the Varsity Golf team. In 1956 Schlei received his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was first in his class, magna cum laude, Editor-in Chief of the Yale Law Journal, and recipient of the Cardozo and Robinson Prizes for academic achievement. Upon graduating from Yale, Schlei served as law clerk to Justice John M. Harlan of the U.S. Supreme Court. As a Naval Officer Schlei served on active duty in the Atlantic Fleet from 1950-53. From 1950-52 he served on the U.S.S Albany. In 1953 he was appointed Flag Lieutenant and Aide to the Commander - Atlantic Fleet, and won the Atlantic Fleet golf championship. In 1962 President John F. Kennedy appointed Schlei Assistant Attorney General of the United States. During his service, Schlei was the originator of the "Quarantine" concept used by President Kennedy in the Cuban Missile Crisis, was the principal draftsman of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Immigration Act of 1965 (which abolished and replaced the infamous national origins quota system). He was a key advisor to President Kennedy and later to President Johnson. In 1966 Schlei was nominated and ran as the Democratic Party candidate for California Secretary of State. He served as delegate to the 1968 Democratic National Convention. In 1972 Schlei joined the law firm of Hughes, Hubbard & Reed and founded its Los Angeles office. He retired from the firm in 1989 to devote time to real-estate development. A loving and dedicated father, he is beloved of his five sons, three daughters, and four grandchildren. He was an avid golfer, skier, sailor, guitar/banjo player, and campfire singer extraordinaire. He is survived by his loving wife Joan, who cherishes his loving spirit. He is also survived by his brother David Schlei who lives in Port Charlotte, Florida. He will be remembered as a great Dad and pioneer in the fight to bring equality to all Americans. A memorial service and interment will be held at 11am on Tuesday, April 29th at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills in Burbank. It will be followed by a wake at 1:30pm at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. Mourners are welcome.
Published in Los Angeles Times on Apr. 24, 2003.