Hugo Black

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Hugo Black when he was on the Supreme Court

Hugo LaFayette Black (February 27, 1886 – September 25, 1971) was an American judge and politician. He was from Ashland, Alabama and studied law at the University of Alabama. Black was poor as a child and lived simply for most of his life. Black was in the Army during World War I. In the 1920s, Black was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.[1][2] Black was a member of the U.S. Senate from Alabama from 1927 to 1936 as a Democrat. Black was a strong supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt for President. In 1937, Roosevelt put Black on the United States Supreme Court. Black supported many New Deal organizations while on the Court. Black often believed in interpreting the Constitution exactly as it was written (textualism), against ideas both that judges had the power to re-interpret the meaning in accordance with their time, or that it could be taken as a general guideline that lawmakers should follow but also consider other interests. One prominent example is the First Amendment, which Black believed to literally protect any form of "freedom of speech" against a law that would "abridge" (meaning hinder) it, or at least any law prohibiting certain opinions. He also believed that the Fourteenth Amendment applies to states as well as the federal government. He voted against segregation in Brown v. Board of Education (1954).[3][4] Black was the fifth longest-serving justice in American history. He served on the Court for 35 years, one of the very longest tenures, and was the last of president Roosevelt's appointees except William O. Douglas (who served 36 years, the longest). Black died of a stroke in 1971. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

References[change | change source]

  1. Ball, Howard (2006). Hugo L. Black: Cold Steel Warrior. pp. 16, 50.
  2. "A Life of Justice: 'Hugo Black of Alabama'". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  3. "Landmark Decisions of the United States Supreme Court". StreetLaw. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  4. Cass R. Sunstein (2004-05-03). "Did Brown Matter?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2010-01-22.