The esteemed American Jurist, William Douglas was born on 16th October 1898. He was born in Minnesota, U.S. His birth name was William Orville Douglas. He passed away on 19th January 1980. Douglas was born to Julia Bickford and William Douglas, a Scottish church minister.

He went to Whitman College on a scholarship. He attended Columbia Law University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in Law. Douglas also joined the Yale Law School. He studied and taught law. He was a legal educator, public official and an Associate Justice of the U.S. He was honorably elected by the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Douglas had a troublesome personal life. He struggled much financially. He was a womanizer and an absolute boozer. He got married four times. He married multiple times. Douglas was married to Mildred Riddle from 1923-1953. They had two kids named William Jr and Mildred. He got married to Mercedes Hester from 1954-1963. Douglas married Cathleen Heffernan.


The associate justice, William Douglas served in the Supreme Court of the United States. He was nominated as a Justice by president Franklin D. Roosevelt. He became a Justice at the age of 40. Douglas was one of the youngest Justices chosen to the court. His term as a Justice in Supreme Court lasted 36 years and 211 days. He served from 1939 to 1975, which was the longest term period in the history of the court.

Douglas holds multiple records as a Supreme Court Justice. He wrote some major court's legal opinions such as Brady v. Maryland, United States v. Paramount Pictures, Grisworld v. Connecticut and many more. Douglas was a fervid advocate of Environmentalism. He was seen to be a strong opponent of the Vietnam war. Douglas became strongly critical of the war. He was against governmental wiretapping. He issued an order which said to block the shipment of army reservists to Vietnam.

William wrote legal opinions on Terry v. Ohio and Dennis v. United states. He served as an advisor to the president Franklin. William was a man with high intelligence and energy. Douglas had incredible leadership skills. Having said all that, he was also seen as a distracted, hot-tempered and a foul-mouthed supreme court justice. Douglas had an unusual style of writing legal opinions which were usually short yet powerful, that relied on philosophical observations and insights. He use to take only 20 minutes to write his legal opinions.

Douglas was looked up to for his fearsome work ethic. He most often used to disagree with other justices and used to write his own opinions. He was known to be a strong advocate of First Amendment rights. Douglas wrote books on travel and ecology. His autobiography credits include Wild Bill and Nature's Justice.

In honor of Douglas, his statue was installed at Davis High School in Yakima, Washington. Canal National Historical Park honored the 1ooth anniversary of Douglas birth by unveiling his portrait. The honors college in Washington was named after Justice Douglas. Douglass Scott honored William Douglas by writing a play titled, Mountain-The Journey of Justice Douglas.

Last Modified: 25 Apr, 2018

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