Blackmun, Harry A.

Blackmun, Harry A. (Andrew)

(1908–  ) Supreme Court justice; born in Nashville, Ill. He practiced and taught law before President Eisenhower appointed him to the U.S. court of appeals (1959–70); President Nixon appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court (1970–94), where he became known for his anti-absolutist interpretations, especially of First Amendment rights. Generally a moderate, his reasoning and writing underlay one of the nation's greatest controversies, the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed the right to an abortion.