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Hugo Black

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

Died when: 85 years 210 days (1026 months)
Star Sign: Pisces


Hugo Black

Hugo Lafayette Black (February 27, 1886 – September 25, 1971) was an American lawyer, politician, and jurist who served as a U.S.Senator from Alabama from 1927 to 1937 and as an associate justice of the U.S.

Supreme Court from 1937 to 1971.A member of the Democratic Party and a devoted New Dealer, Black endorsed Franklin D.Roosevelt in both the 1932 and 1936 presidential elections.

Before he became a Senator, Black espoused anti-Catholic views and was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama, from which he resigned in 1925.

In 1937, upon being appointed to the Supreme Court, Black said: "Before becoming a Senator I dropped the Klan.I have had nothing to do with it since that time.

I abandoned it.I completely discontinued any association with the organization." Black served as the Secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference and the Chair of the Senate Education Committee during his decade in the Senate.

Having gained a reputation in the Senate as a reformer, Black was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Roosevelt and confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 63 to 16 (six Democratic Senators and 10 Republican Senators voted against him).

He was the first of nine Roosevelt appointees to the court, and he outlasted all except for William O.Douglas.

The fifth longest-serving justice in Supreme Court history, Black was one of the most influential Supreme Court justices in the 20th century.

For much of his career, Black was considered strongly liberal.He is noted for his advocacy of a textualist reading of the United States Constitution, his position that the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights were imposed on the states ("incorporated") by the Fourteenth Amendment, and his absolutist stance on the First Amendment, often declaring "No law [abridging the freedom of speech] means no law." Black expanded individual rights in his opinions in cases such as Gideon v.

Wainwright, Engel v.Vitale, and Wesberry v.Sanders.Black's views were not uniformly liberal.During World War II, he wrote the majority opinion in Korematsu v.

United States (1944), which upheld the Japanese-American internment that had taken place.During the mid-1960s, Black became more conservative.Black opposed the doctrine of substantive due process (the anti-New Deal Supreme Court's interpretation of this concept made it impossible for the government to enact legislation that conservatives claimed interfered with the ostensible freedom of business owners), and believed that there was no basis in the words of the Constitution for a right to privacy, voting against finding one in Griswold v.

Connecticut (1965).He also took conservative positions in cases such as Shapiro v.Thompson, Goldberg v.Kelly, Tinker v.Des Moines, and Cohen v.

California where he distinguished between "pure speech” and "expressive conduct”.

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