Hugo Lafayette Black

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Black, Hugo LaFayette,

1886–1971, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1937–71), b. Harlan, Clay co., Ala. He received his law degree from the Univ. of Alabama in 1906. He practiced law and held local offices before serving (1927–37) in the U.S. Senate. As senator he ardently supported New DealNew Deal,
in U.S. history, term for the domestic reform program of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; it was first used by Roosevelt in his speech accepting the Democratic party nomination for President in 1932.
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 measures, conducted Senate investigations of merchant-marine subsidies (1933) and lobbying (1935), and sponsored (1937) the Wages and Hours bill. His appointment to the Supreme Court by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met strong opposition from the public and in the Senate because of his earlier membership in the Ku Klux Klan. Black was, however, a staunch defender of civil liberties, and he became the leader of the activists on the Supreme Court, consistently opposing congressional and state violations of free speech and due process. He was also an originalist, relying on a close reading of the Constitution to free the document from years of conservative precedents.


See T. E. Yarbrough, Mr. Justice Black and His Critics (1989); study by V. Hamilton (1972); N. Feldman, Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices (2010).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Justice, Hugo Lafayette Black, from the state of Alabama, wrote the first concurring opinion and started by quoting the First (not the second, third or fourth, etc.) Amendment as follows: The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments, and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.
Black (June 11, 1962) (Hugo LaFayette Black Papers, Box 354) ("If, however, we would strike down a New York requirement that public school teachers open each day with prayer, I think we could not consistently open each of our sessions with prayer.
468 (June 25, 1962) (Hugo LaFayette Black Papers, Box 354); see also Letter from Justice Hugo L.
Star Herald, June 21, 1963, at 6 (Hugo LaFayette Black Papers, Box 355) ("[R]eligious practices have been eliminated more and more over the years.
Shafer (June 4, 1964) (Hugo LaFayette Black Papers, Box 354); see also Letter from Justice Hugo L.
1, 1963) (Hugo LaFayette Black Papers, Box 356) (emphasis omitted); see also Letter from Cornelia O.
Finally, there is a complete biographical picture of an icon of American journalism, the First Amendment absolutist, Associate Justice Hugo Lafayette Black of the United States Supreme Court.