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.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.