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Associate Justice William O. Douglas Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE WILLIAM O. DOUGLAS
Born: October 16, 1898 in Maine Township, Minnesota
Died: January 19, 1980 in Bethesda, Maryland
Biography | show moreshow less
William Orville Douglas (1898-1980), an associate justice from 1939-1975, signed this letter a month after his two-hour interview with Eric Sevareid. CBS Reports broadcast an hour of the footage taken on September 6, 1972 at Goose Prairie, Washington, a scenic area where Douglas vacationed. During the interview, the 73-year-old maverick discussed his judicial beliefs, his relationship with the Kennedys, and his chances of becoming Vice President, among other topics. Douglas, a former law school professor at Columbia and Yale, served on the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1933-1939 before being nominated as an associate justice of the Supreme Court by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939. His service of 36 years and seven months was the longest of any justice up until that point. Douglas was strongly libertarian in his opinions and distrustful of establishments of all types; he considered himself a voice for the voiceless and powerless. Douglas spent his last years on the Court fighting Richard Nixon, joining a unanimous Court in its decision to force the President to turn over the Watergate tapes (United States vs. Nixon, 1974).
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