- Douglas, William O.
▪ United States juristborn , Oct. 16, 1898, Maine, Minn., U.S.died Jan. 19, 1980, Washington, D.C.public official, legal educator, and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court best known for his consistent and outspoken defense of civil liberties. His 36 1/2 years of service on the Court constituted the longest tenure in U.S. history.The son of a Presbyterian minister, Douglas moved with his family first to California and then to Washington. His father died when William was a small child, and his mother then settled the family in Yakima, Wash. Although Douglas contracted polio as a youth, he escaped permanent paralysis and developed what would become a lifelong love of the outdoors through his self-imposed regimen of exercise during recovery.After graduating from Whitman College (Walla Walla, Wash.) in 1920, Douglas briefly taught school. Resolving to enter law school, he worked his way across the country in 1922 and enrolled at Columbia University Law School, where he later edited the law review.In 1925, Douglas was graduated second in his class from Columbia and shortly thereafter joined a Wall Street law firm to learn the intricacies of financial and corporate law. He left the firm one year later to teach law at Columbia, and a year after that he joined the law faculty at Yale, where he taught until 1936.In 1934, after having worked with the Department of Commerce on bankruptcy studies, Douglas directed a study for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the reorganization of bankrupt corporations. He became a member of the SEC in 1936, and in 1937 he was appointed chairman of the commission. In this capacity he engineered the reorganization of the nation's stock exchanges, instituted measures for the protection of small investors, and began government regulation of the sale of securities.During his tenure with the SEC, Douglas became a friend and adviser of Pres. Franklin Roosevelt. When Justice Louis Brandeis retired from the Supreme Court in February 1939, Roosevelt nominated Douglas to fill the vacancy. Following his confirmation by the Senate, Douglas took his seat on April 17, 1939, becoming at 40 years of age the second youngest Supreme Court justice in U.S. history.Although responsible for writing many of the opinions in complicated financial cases, Douglas became most famous for his pronouncements on civil liberties. Like his fellow justice and close friend Hugo Black, Douglas was an absolutist on the guarantees of freedom in the Bill of Rights. He rejected government limitations on free speech, and he was an outspoken defender of an unfettered press. His total opposition to any form of censorship made him a frequent target for criticism from political conservatives and religious fundamentalists.Douglas also strove to ensure the protection of the constitutional rights of the criminally suspect, and he took a leading part in the Court's decisions that curbed coerced confessions, buttressed the accused's right against self-incrimination, and strengthened prohibitions against illegal searches.Felled by a stroke on Dec. 31, 1974, Douglas struggled to overcome its debilitating effects and returned briefly to the bench before retiring on Nov. 12, 1975. Throughout his judicial career Douglas remained a prolific writer, especially on conservation, history, politics, and foreign relations; his books include Of Men and Mountains (1950) and A Wilderness Bill of Rights (1965).
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Douglas,William Orville — Douglas, William Orville. 1898 1980. American jurist who served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1939 1975). * * * … Universalium
Douglas, William Douglas, 1st earl of — ▪ Scottish noble also called Earl Of Mar born c. 1327 died May 1384, Douglas, Lanarkshire, Scot. Scottish lord of the Douglases, prominent in the dynastic and English wars of the 14th century. The son of Sir Archibald Douglas (d.… … Universalium
Douglas, William Orville — (1898 1981) The longest serving justice on the Supreme Court, William Douglas was born in Maine, Minnesota, but his family moved to Washington, where he attended Whitman College. After briefly teaching in high school, he went to Columbia Law… … Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era
Douglas, William Douglas, 8th earl of — ▪ Scottish noble born c. 1425 died Feb. 22, 1452, Stirling, Stirling, Scot. prominent Scottish lord during the reign of James II of Scotland. The so called Black Douglases, of whom the 8th earl was a member, had lost their lands… … Universalium
Douglas, William O(rville) — born , Oct. 16, 1898, Maine, Minn., U.S. died Jan. 19, 1980, Washington, D.C. U.S. jurist and public official. He attended Columbia University Law School, where he edited the law review and graduated second in his class. After learning the… … Universalium
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Freshfield, Douglas William — ▪ British explorer born , April 27, 1845, London died Feb. 9, 1934, Forest Row, Sussex, Eng. British mountaineer, explorer, geographer, and author who advocated the recognition of geography as an independent discipline in English… … Universalium