Douglas, William O.

Douglas, William O. (Orville)

(1898–1980) Supreme Court justice, author; born in Maine, Minn. He taught corporate law at Columbia University (1925–28) and Yale (1928–36), and published several business law casebooks before joining the Securities and Exchange Commission (1936–39). When he was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, he was considered a young nominee. He served an unprecedented 36½ years on the bench (1939–75) during which time he was considered a liberal justice with controversial opinions. He interpreted the courts' judiciary powers broadly and he vehemently defended civil liberties. He held absolutely to the freedoms espoused in the Bill of Rights, especially that of free speech. Drawing on his many travels, he penned some 30 books both on legal matters and on nature and conservation; they include Of Men and Mountains (1950), An Almanac of Liberty (1954), Democracy's Manifesto (1962), and A Wilderness Bill of Rights (1965).