William O. Douglas Quote

The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms.

William O. Douglas

The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms.

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About William O. Douglas

William Orville Douglas (October 16, 1898 – January 19, 1980) was an American jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1939 to 1975. Douglas was known for his strong progressive and civil libertarian views and is often cited as the U.S. Supreme Court's most liberal justice ever. Nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, Douglas was confirmed at the age of 40, becoming one of the youngest justices appointed to the court. In 1975, Time called Douglas "the most doctrinaire and committed civil libertarian ever to sit on the court." He is the longest-serving justice in history, having served for 36 years and 211 days.
After an itinerant childhood, Douglas attended Whitman College on a scholarship. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1925 and joined the Yale Law School faculty. After serving as the third chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Douglas was successfully nominated to the Supreme Court in 1939, succeeding Justice Louis Brandeis. He was among those seriously considered for the 1944 Democratic vice presidential nomination and was subject to an unsuccessful draft movement prior to the 1948 U.S. presidential election. Douglas served on the Court until his retirement in 1975 and was succeeded by John Paul Stevens. Douglas holds a number of records as a Supreme Court justice, including the most opinions.
Douglas's notable opinions included Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)—which established the constitutional right to privacy, and was foundational to later cases such as Eisenstadt v. Baird, Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges—Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942), United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. (1948), Terminiello v. City of Chicago (1949), Brady v. Maryland (1963), and Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections (1966). Douglas also served as an associate justice in the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education (1954), a Supreme Court case that outlawed segregation in American public schools. He wrote notable concurring or dissenting opinions in cases such as Dennis v. United States (1951), United States v. O’Brien (1968), Terry v. Ohio (1968), and Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969). He was also known as a strong opponent of the Vietnam War and an ardent advocate of environmentalism.