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William O. Douglas, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court


  • Born: Oct. 16, 1898; Maine, Minn. 
  • Educated: Whitman College, B.A., 1920; Columbia University Law School, LL.B., 1925 
  • Married: Aug. 16, 1923, Mildred Riddle Mercedes Hester, Dec. 14, 1954 Joan Martin, August 1963 Cathleen Heffernan, July 1966 
  • Nominated: March 20, 1939, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt 
  • Commissioned: April 15, 1939 
  • Dates of Service: April 17, 1939 to Nov. 12, 1975 
  • Died: Jan. 24, 1993, Bethesda, MD.

William O. Douglas spent the early years of his career practicing law and teaching law at Columbia and Yale. In 1934 he joined the Securities and Exchange Commission where his first task was to direct a study which led to legislation concerning reorganization appropriations. In 1936 he became a member of the SEC and in 1937 he became its chairman.

Douglas served as chairman of the SEC until 1939 when President Franklin Roosevelt nominated him to the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Douglas' service on the Court totaled 36 years and seven months, longer than any other justice. He retired in November 1975 and died five years later at the age of 81.