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Encyclopedia > Hugo Black
Hugo Black
Hugo Black

Hugo LaFayette Black (February 27, 1886September 25, 1971) was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1937 - 1971). He is noted for his advocacy of a "literal" reading of the United States Constitution, and for his advocacy of the position that the guarantees of liberties in the U.S. Bill of Rights were imposed on the states via their incorporation in the Fourteenth Amendment. His jurisprudence has been the focus of much discussion. Because of his insistence on a strict textual analysis of Constitutional issues, as opposed to the process-oriented jurisprudence of many of his colleagues, it is difficult to characterize Black as a "liberal" or a "conservative" as those terms are generally understood. Yet his theory of "incorporation" often translated into support for strengthening civil liberties. In the 1920's, Black (like Chief Justice Edward Douglass White) was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and in 1921 he defended Klansmen accused of the murder of priest James Coyle. However, he later publicly disavowed the Klan, and his record on the Supreme Court bench contained some indications of support for the Civil Rights Movement. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1219x1536, 102 KB) Supreme Court Justice Hugo La Fayette Black. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1219x1536, 102 KB) Supreme Court Justice Hugo La Fayette Black. ... February 27 is the 58th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1886 is a common year starting on Friday (click on link to calendar) // Events January 18 - Modern field hockey is born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England. ... September 25 is the 268th day of the year (269th in leap years). ... 1971 (MCMLXXI) is a common year starting on Friday (click for link to calendar). ... Seal of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States of America. ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1971 (MCMLXXI) is a common year starting on Friday (click for link to calendar). ... The examples and perspective in this article do not represent a worldwide view. ... United States Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights is the name given to the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. ... The Fourteenth Amendment may refer to the: Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution - contains the due process and equal protection clauses. ... Chief Justice Edward Douglass White took the office in 1910. ... Members of the second Ku Klux Klan at a rally during the 1920s. ... Father James Coyle. ... The Civil Rights Movement in the United States has been a long, primarily nonviolent struggle to bring full civil rights and equality under the law to primarily African American citizens of United States. ...

Contents


Early years

Hugo LaFayette Black was born on February 27, 1886 in a small wooden farmhouse in Harlan, Alabama, a rural town in Clay County, Alabama. Harlan was a poor, isolated community in the Appalachian foothills. February 27 is the 58th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1886 is a common year starting on Friday (click on link to calendar) // Events January 18 - Modern field hockey is born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England. ... Clay County is a county of the State of Alabama. ... State nickname: Camellia State, The Heart of Dixie¹, Yellowhammer State Other U.S. States Capital Montgomery Largest city Birmingham Governor Bob Riley (R) Senators Richard Shelby (R) Jeff Sessions (R) Official language(s) English Area 52,423 mi²/135,775 km² (30th)  - Land 50,750 mi²/131,442 km²  - Water...


Because his brother Orlando had become a medical doctor, Hugo decided to follow in his footsteps and at age 17 he left school in Ashland (where he had been whipped and beaten by the principal) and enrolled in the 1902-1903 term at Birmingham Medical School. However, it was his brother Orlando who suggested that Hugo should enroll in the University of Alabama to study law. Ashland is a city located in Clay County, Alabama, USA. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 1,965. ... 1902 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... 1903 has the latest occurring solstices and equinoxes for 400 years, because the Gregorian calendar hasnt had a leap year for seven years or a century leap year since 1600. ... University of Alabama The University of Alabama (also known as Alabama, UA, or colloquially as Bama) is a public coeducational university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. ...


After graduating in June 1906 he moved back to Ashland and established a legal practice above a grocery shop. Black joined a Baptist church and applied for membership in the Freemasons. His legal practice was not a success and a year and a half after his law office on the first floor had opened, the entire building burned to the ground. Black then moved back to Birmingham in 1907 to continue his law practice, where at age 21 he was also initiated as a member of a Masonic lodge. 1906 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... A Baptist is a member of a Baptist church. ... American Square & Compasses Freemasonry is a worldwide fraternal organization. ... 1907 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


Following his involvement with a case involving the defense of an African-American who had been forced into a form of commercial slavery following incarceration, Hugo Black was befriended by a judge connected with the case. That same judge was later appointed as one of three Commissioners for the City of Birmingham; he asked Hugo Black to serve as the City Recorder (Police Court Judge.) Black's experience as a police court judge was his only judicial experience prior to his Supreme Court appointment.


On October 21, 1912 Black left the bench when he resigned as Recorder and returned to his full time legal practice. On December 1, 1914 after his election to a four-year term, he became the Prosecuting Attorney for Jefferson County, just seven years after leaving what he termed "Hillbilly Clay County". October 21 is the 294th day of the year (295th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 71 days remaining. ... 1912 was a leap year starting on Monday. ... December 1 is the 335th (in leap years the 336th) day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1914 is a common year starting on Thursday. ... Location in the state of Alabama Formed December 13, 1819 Seat Birmingham Area  - Total  - Water 2,911 km² (1,124 mi²) 29 km² (11 mi²) 1. ...


On August 3, 1917 he resigned his elected office and joined the Officers Training School at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. On November 3 Captain Black was assigned for duty to the 81st Field Artillery Unit near Chattanooga, Tennessee, a short distance from Oglethorpe. He was a soldier until September 20, 1918 "and never fired a shot against the nation's enemy." He returned to private law practice in Birmingham. August 3 is the 215th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (216th in leap years), with 150 days remaining. ... 1917 was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. ... Fort Oglethorpe is a city located in Catoosa County, Georgia. ... November 3 is the 307th day of the year (308th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 58 days remaining. ... Chattanooga is a city located in United States of America. ... State nickname: Volunteer State Other U.S. States Capital Nashville Largest city Memphis Governor Phil Bredesen (D) Senators Bill Frist (R) Lamar Alexander (R) Official language(s) English Area 109,247 km² (36th)  - Land 106,846 km²  - Water 2,400 km² (2. ... September 20 is the 263rd day of the year (264th in leap years). ... 1918 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ...


Marriage

On February 23, 1921 he married Josephine Foster and had three children: Hugo, Jr., who was born in 1922; Sterling Foster, born in 1924 and Martha Josephine who born in 1933. They remained married until she died after a long illness on December 6, 1951. He later remarried the former Elizabeth Seay DeMeritte. Following his first marriage Black resumed his practice of law with an attorney who became head of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama. February 23 is the 54th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1921 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... 1922 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... December 6 is the 340th day (341st on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Father James Coyle.
Enlarge
Father James Coyle.

Image File history File links Father James Coyle. ... Image File history File links Father James Coyle. ...

Stephenson Trial

On August 11 of 1921, Black was asked to defend the Reverend Edwin R. Stephenson, a Ku Klux Klan member who had been accused of shooting to death Father James Coyle, leader of the large Catholic community at Saint Paul's Church in Birmingham. Stephenson was both a barber and a minister who added to his income by marrying couples at the Jefferson County Courthouse where he was known as the "marrying parson". In the previous two years he had married 1,140 couples, almost half of them in the courthouse. August 11 is the 223rd day of the year (224th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Father James Coyle. ...


Ruth Stephenson was Edwin's eighteen-year old daughter who had run away from home and become a Catholic. On August 11 she asked Father Coyle to perform her marriage to a Hispanic male from Puerto Rico named Pedro Gussman so that she would become independent of her parents. Gussman was a Catholic by faith and a paper hanger by trade; he had decorated the Stephenson home.


Edwin Stephenson knew of his daughter's conversion to Catholicism and of her romance with Pedro, but not of the marriage. Stephenson confronted Coyle at Saint Paul's who then informed Stephenson of the marriage.


According to Black's defense, Stephenson hurled racist abuse at Coyle who responded with his fists and then Stephenson shot him, following which he wandered back to the courthouse and asked the sheriff to jail him. The facts revealed in the trial by many eyewitnesses, however, indicate that Fr. Coyle was peacefully sitting on his front porch when Stephenson walked up to him and shot him point blank through the head.


The presiding judge and several members of the courtroom staff were active Klan members and they helped to ensure that several members of the KKK were selected to jury service. According to page 87 of the biography by Roger K. Newman, no official records of this trial exist and their destruction is attributed to the power and influence of members of the Ku Klux Klan at that time. Accounts of some of the trial's events have nevertheless circulated. Black is reported to have communicated with the Klansmen on the jury through the organization's hand signals in order to secure a verdict of not guilty for his client. According to a 2005 speech on the topic by Federal Appellate Judge William H. Pryor, Black is reported to have approached prosecution witnesses with the question "You're a Catholic, aren't you?" in an attempt to discredit them before the Klan-dominated jury. Pryor reports that Black lowered the shades in the courtroom and directed floodlights on Gussman in an attempt to make his skin look darker. When the prosecution responded that Gussman was of Castilian descent, Black is reported to have remarked "he has descended a long way." ... Castilian is a noun and adjective that refers to the region and former kingdom of Spain; in particular, it refers to the language of this region, and is therefore considered by many to be a synonym of Spanish, though with different nuances. ...


Ku Klux Klan controversy

In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan, revived after a half-century of dormancy due in part to the release of The Birth of a Nation, became a dominant force in Alabama politics, as it did in several Northern states as well as the national Democratic Party (where it came into conflict with the Party's anti-racist factions), with its anti-black and anti-Catholic rhetoric. In those years there were as many as 85,000 members of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama and the organization often wielded substantial influence in the state's elections. Members of the second Ku Klux Klan at a rally during the 1920s. ... The Birth of a Nation is a controversial, though highly influential and innovative silent film directed by D.W. Griffith, based on Thomas Dixons novels The Clansman (also a play) and The Leopards Spots. ...


On September 11, 1923 Black became a member of the Robert E. Lee Klan No. 1 of the Ku Klux Klan in Birmingham. He claimed that he remained in the KKK for only two years until 1925, during which time he alleged that he attended a maximum of no more than four meetings, and then he tendered a friendly resignation. However, in 1926 he not only attended a State Convention of the KKK, but he chose to address the delegates as well. Hugo Black is alleged to have said that what he liked about the Klan was "not the burning crosses ... not attempting to regulate anybody," but for keeping the door open "to the boy that comes up on the humble hillside, or in the lowly valley." The full text of this speech appeared 14 years later in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on September 15, 1937, in page two and in column two. September 11 is the 254th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (255th in leap years). ... 1923 was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, also known simply as the PG, is the largest daily newspaper serving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas. ... September 15 is the 258th day of the year (259th in leap years). ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...


According to the New York Times of November 26, 1926, page 15 and column 3, the Grand Dragon of Klan was the Assistant Attorney General of Alabama. The paper later reported that KKK members occupied city, county and state offices. According to the published version of the Hugo Black Symposium on pages 78-79 it is reported that: November 26 is the 330th day (331st on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Grand Wizard was the title used by the overall leader of earliest form of the Klan, during Reconstruction in the South. ...

Some of those who knew him (Black) offered additional reasons for his joining. Herman Beck, a leading Jewish merchant in Birmingham encouraged his young friend Black to become a Klansman so that he could help contain the trouble-making element just coming to the fore of the organization in Alabama. The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination of these attributes. ...

Black resigned from the Klan the day before he announced his intention to seek election to the United States Senate and he did so under cloudy circumstances. According to page 103 of the biography of Black by Roger K. Newman (see details below), his resignation was contrived. (The Klan did not endorse Hugo Black and the KKK backed another candidate: New York Times, August 12, 1926, page 1, column 5.) Seal of the Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the Congress of the United States, the other being the House of Representatives. ... August 12 is the 224th day of the year (225th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ...


Election to U.S. Senate

In 1926 Black won his seat in the Senate, which he then retained for another eleven years. In the Senate during 1934 he headed a committee to investigate an event known as the Air Mail Scandal and as a result he drafted the 'Air Mail Act of 1934', which changed the nature of the American airline industry. 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Air Mail Scandal is the name that the American press of the 1930s gave to the results of a meeting (the so-called Spoils Conference) of Postmaster General Walter Folger Brown and the executives of the top airlines, effectively dividing among them the air mail routes. ...


Black was a staunch supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. Black also supported Roosevelt's unsuccessful 1937 attempt to change the composition of the Supreme Court via the Court-packing Bill. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), 32nd President of the United States (1933-1945), the longest-serving holder of the office and the only person to be elected President more than twice (he was elected four times, and served just over 12 years), was one of... The New Deal was President Franklin D. Roosevelts legislative agenda for rescuing the United States from the Great Depression. ... The Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937 (called the Court-packing Bill by its opponents) was a proposal in 1937 by United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for power to appoint an extra Supreme Court Justice for every sitting Justice over the age of 70. ...


US Supreme Court Justice

Black was nominated by President Roosevelt to the Supreme Court in 1937 to replace Justice Willis Van Devanter. The supreme court in some countries, provinces, and states, is the highest court in that jurisdiction and functions as a court of last resort whose rulings cannot be appealed. ... Willis Van Devanter (April 17, 1859 - February 8, 1941), associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, January 3, 1911 to June 2, 1937. ...


Nomination

Black's nomination aroused controversy due to his previous affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan. However, he was confirmed by the Senate and was sworn in on August 19, 1937. August 19 is the 231st day of the year (232nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...


In the summer following his confirmation, the KKK controversy was rekindled due to a report by an investigative journalist. Public opinion was inflamed, and Black was obliged to deliver a radio address in which he disavowed the Klan and stated that he was not racist, anti-Semitic, or anti-Catholic.


On the bench Justice Black began to arouse interest by filing a continuing series of lengthy dissenting opinions. He quickly established a record favoring civil rights in some cases while opposing them in others. In 1940 Justice Black delivered the opinion of the Court in Chambers v. Florida, 309 US 227, which ruled in favor of four African-Americans who had been coerced by the police into making confessions to murder. In 1948 he joined in the Court's decision in Shelley v. Kraemer which invalidated judicial enforcement of a racial restriction on the sale of land. In 1954 he joined the unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education which proclaimed the end of de jure racial segregation in US public schools, causing him to be burnt in effigy by segregationists in his home state. 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Chambers v. ... 1948 is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... Shelley v. ... 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Holding Racial segregation in public education violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; separate facilities are “inherently unequal. ...


Black also authored the court's majority opinion in Korematsu v. United States, which validated the president's constitutional war power to effect the race-based internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Holding The Japanese American internment was not unconstitutional because the need to protect against espionage outweighed Korematsus rights. ... World War II was a truly global conflict with many facets: immense human suffering, fierce indoctrinations, and the use of new, extremely devastating weapons such as the atom bomb. ...


Constitutional theories

During his tenure on the Court, Black developed several well-known theories about how the Constitution is to be construed. These theories sparked a vigorous debate which continues to play an important role in interpreting the Constitution today.


Incorporation doctrine

Black believed that the first eight amendments to the United States Constitution had become applicable to the individual States by the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, and specifically the Privileges or Immunities Clause of Section 1 of that amendment. This view was very controversial and was vigorously challenged among proponents of federalism, including justices Felix Frankfurter and John Marshall Harlan II who insisted that Black's view was contrary to the original intention of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment. Hugo Black began to seriously push his viewpoint via a long appendix attached to his dissent in Adamson v. California in 1947, which argued that the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment intended to make the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. The debate between Black and his critics remains unresolved and controversial, with conservative scholars such as Raoul Berger siding with Frankfurter and Harlan. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. ... The Fourteenth Amendment may refer to the: Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution - contains the due process and equal protection clauses. ... The Privileges or Immunities Clause is a provision of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. ... Justice Frankfurter Felix Frankfurter (November 15, 1882 – February 22, 1965) was a United States Supreme Court Associate Justice. ... John Marshall Harlan II (May 20, 1899 – December 29, 1971) was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. ... Adamson v. ... 1947 was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Black's views attracted the support of Justice William O. Douglas but were in a distinct minority on the Supreme Court. Most of the justices held the belief that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated some provisions of the Bill of Rights but not others. Frankfurter believed that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated none of the Bill of Rights but only substantively prohibited government actions that "shock the conscience" or are "inherent in the concept of ordered liberty," as had been held in 1938's Palko v. Connecticut. Douglas William Orville Douglas (October 16, 1898 - January 19, 1980) was a United States Supreme Court Associate Justice. ... Palko v. ...


While Black's position that the Bill of Rights had been incorporated against the states attracted some support, however, his view that the substantive meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment is limited to incorporating the Bill of Rights was adopted by no other justice. Thus, Black was the lone dissenter in 1971's In Re Winship, which declared that the Due Process Clause imposed on the prosecution a burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases. In the common law, burden of proof is the obligation to prove allegations which are presented in a legal action. ...


Literal interpretation

Black was also noted for his consistent adherence to the theory that the text of the Constitution is absolutely determinative on any question calling for judicial interpretation. No other justice has adopted quite so dogmatic a view of the Constitution's text, leading to Black's reputation as a "strict constructionist."


Thus, Black refused to join in the efforts of the justices on the Court who sought to abolish capital punishment in the United States, whose efforts succeeded (temporarily) in the term immediately following Black's death; Black claimed that the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment's reference to takings of "life" meant approval of the death penalty was implicit in the Bill of Rights. He also was not persuaded that a right of privacy was implicit in the Ninth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment, and dissented from the Court's 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision which invalidated a conviction for the sale of banned contraceptives. Black claimed that there was no "right of privacy" in the text of the Constitution. Capital punishment in the United States is officially sanctioned by 38 of the 50 states, as well as by the federal government. ... Amendment IX (the Ninth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, states: In his introduction before the House of Representatives of the original twelve Amendments proposed to the states, ten of which would be ratified and become known as the Bill of Rights... The Fourteenth Amendment may refer to the: Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution - contains the due process and equal protection clauses. ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link goes to calendar). ... Holding A Connecticut law criminalizing the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy. ...


Black is also well-known as a leading defender of First Amendment rights, with his famous aphorism, "No law means no law." During the anti-Communist McCarthy era of the 1950s, Black consistently voted to uphold the First Amendment rights of Communists, perhaps most notably in his dissent in Dennis v. United States, 341 US 494 during 1951. The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ... Communism refers to a theoretical system of social organization and a political movement based on common ownership of the means of production. ... Joseph Raymond McCarthy Joseph Raymond McCarthy (November 14, 1908 – May 2, 1957) was an American politician originally aligned with the United States Democratic Party and later with the United States Republican Party. ... // Events and trends The 1950s in Western society was marked with a sharp rise in the economy for the first time in almost 30 years and return to the 1920s-type consumer society built on credit and boom-times, as well as the height of the baby boom from returning... The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ... Holding Defendants convictions for conspiring, through their participation in the Communist Party, to overthrow the U.S. government by force were not prohibited by the First Amendment. ... 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ...


Black, however, took a narrow view of what constituted "speech" under the First Amendment. He dissented from the Court's decision in 1971's Cohen v. California which held that a person could not be punished for wearing a jacket emblazoned with the words "Fuck the Draft", an activity which Black considered conduct, not speech. Black also wrote the opinion in 1966's Adderley v. Florida, which controversially upheld a trespassing conviction of civil rights demonstrators. 1971 (MCMLXXI) is a common year starting on Friday (click for link to calendar). ... Holding The First Amendment, as applied through the Fourteenth, prohibits states from making the public display of a single four-letter expletive a criminal offense, without a more specific and compelling reason than a general tendency to disturb the peace. ...


Black also took a dim view of government entanglement with religious practice, and he wrote the Court's ground-breaking opinion on school prayer in the 1962 case of Engel v. Vitale. School prayer is a controversial issue in some countries. ... 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Engel v. ...


Civil rights

Black wrote the unanimous opinion handed down in 1963's Gideon v. Wainwright, which guaranteed the right of all defendants to be represented by an attorney in state criminal trials. This had been the result of a decade-long crusade by Black after the Court ruled in Betts v. Brady that counsel was required only in state criminal trials involving "special needs" on the part of defendants. 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Holding In this sense, the court ruled specifically that no one, regardless of wealth, education or class, should be charged with a crime and then be forced to face his accusers in court without the guidance of counsel. ... Holding Due process of law demands that where a man is tried for robbery, Maryland does not have to furnish counsel to an indigent defendant. ...


Although Black usually supported the legal causes of the Civil Rights Movement during his tenure on the Court, especially cases involving state-imposed racial segregation, he became less sympathetic to these causes starting in the mid-1960s. Black dissented in the 1966 case of Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, voting to uphold the constitutionality of state-imposed poll taxes which, though nominally race-neutral, had a disparate impact on African-American voters. Civil Rights Movement in the United States, political, legal, and social struggle to gain full citizenship rights for African American and to achieve racial equality. ... In Harper v. ... A poll tax, head tax, or capitation is a tax of a uniform, fixed amount per individual (as opposed to a percentage of income). ... An African American (also Afro-American, Black American, or simply black), is a member of an ethnic group in the United States whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Africa. ...


The key to Black's position in all these cases was that there was no specific constitutional provision which restrained the governmental actions complained of. Black disagreed vigorously with the doctrine that the Court could invalidate laws based on the intention of the lawmaker. For example, he wrote the opinion in 1971's Palmer v. Thompson, upholding the city of Jackson, Mississippi's decision to close its public swimming pools after a desegration order.


Resignation and death

Black resigned from the Court on September 17, 1971. He died eight days after resigning. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. President Nixon appointed Lewis Powell to fill the vacant seat. September 17 is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years). ... Arlington Cemetery Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, is an American military cemetery established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Robert E. Lees home. ... Order: 37th President Vice President: Spiro Agnew (1969–1973), Gerald R. Ford (1973–1974) Term of office: January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974 Preceded by: Lyndon B. Johnson Succeeded by: Gerald R. Ford Date of birth: January 9, 1913 Place of birth: Yorba Linda, California Date of death: April 22... Official portrait of Justice Powell, 1976. ...


Tributes

In 1987, the new courthouse building for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama was designated the "Hugo L. Black United States Courthouse." 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama is the Federal district court whose jurisdiction is comprised of the following counties: Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Cullman, De Kalb, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Pickens, Randolph... Birmingham is the largest city in the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Jefferson County. ...


Quotes

  • "The layman's constitutional view is that which he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn't like is unconstitutional."
  • "Our Constitution was not written in the sands to be washed away by each wave of new judges blown in by each successive political wind."
Preceded by:
Oscar W. Underwood
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Alabama
1927–1937
Succeeded by:
Dixie B. Graves
Preceded by:
Willis Van Devanter
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
August 19, 1937September 17, 1971
Succeeded by:
Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr.
The Hughes Court Seal of the U.S. Supreme Court
19371938: J.C. McReynolds | L.D. Brandeis | Geo. Sutherland | P. Butler | H.F. Stone | O.J. Roberts | B.N. Cardozo | H. Black
1938: J.C. McReynolds | L.D. Brandeis | P. Butler | H.F. Stone | O.J. Roberts | B.N. Cardozo | H. Black | S.F. Reed
1939: J.C. McReynolds | L.D. Brandeis | P. Butler | H.F. Stone | O.J. Roberts | H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas
19401941: J.C. McReynolds | H.F. Stone | O.J. Roberts | H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | F. Murphy
February-July 1941: H.F. Stone | O.J. Roberts | H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | F. Murphy | (vacancy)
The Stone Court
19411942: O.J. Roberts | H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | F. Murphy | J.F. Byrnes | R.H. Jackson
19431945: O.J. Roberts | H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | F. Murphy | R.H. Jackson | W.B. Rutledge
19451946: H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | F. Murphy | R.H. Jackson | W.B. Rutledge | H.H. Burton
The Vinson Court
19461949: H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | F. Murphy | R.H. Jackson | W.B. Rutledge | H.H. Burton
19491953: H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | R.H. Jackson | H.H. Burton | T.C. Clark | S. Minton
The Warren Court
19531954: H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | R.H. Jackson | H.H. Burton | T.C. Clark | S. Minton
19551956: H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | H.H. Burton | T.C. Clark | S. Minton | J.M. Harlan II
19561957: H. Black | S.F. Reed | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | H.H. Burton | T.C. Clark | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan
19571958: H. Black | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | H.H. Burton | T.C. Clark | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | C.E. Whittaker
19581962: H. Black | F. Frankfurter | Wm. O. Douglas | T.C. Clark | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | C.E. Whittaker | P. Stewart
19621965: H. Black | Wm. O. Douglas | T.C. Clark | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | P. Stewart | B. White | A.J. Goldberg
19651967: H. Black | Wm. O. Douglas | T.C. Clark | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | P. Stewart | B. White | A. Fortas
19671969: H. Black | Wm. O. Douglas | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | P. Stewart | B. White | A. Fortas | T. Marshall
The Burger Court
1969: H. Black | Wm. O. Douglas | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | P. Stewart | B. White | A. Fortas | T. Marshall
19701971: H. Black | Wm. O. Douglas | J.M. Harlan II | Wm. J. Brennan | P. Stewart | B. White | T. Marshall | H. Blackmun

  Results from FactBites:
 
Oyez - Hugo L. Black (331 words)
Hugo Lafayette Black was born in the hill country of Alabama.
Black was often labeled an "activist" because of his willingness to review legislation that arguably violated constitutional provisions.
Black maintained that literalism was necessary to cabin judicial power.
AllRefer.com - Hugo LaFayette Black (Supreme Court, Biography) - Encyclopedia (279 words)
Hugo LaFayette Black 1886–1971, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1937–71), b.
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.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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