Hugo Black

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Hugo Black
HugoBlack.jpg
Former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
From: August 18, 1937 – September 17, 1971
Nominator Franklin D. Roosevelt
Predecessor Willis Van Devanter
Successor Lewis Powell
Former U.S. Senator from Alabama
From: March 4, 1927 – August 19, 1937
Predecessor Oscar W. Underwood
Successor Dixie B. Graves
Information
Party Democrat
Spouse(s) Josephine Foster (1921-1951)
Elizabeth Seay DeMeritte (1957-death)

Hugo LaFayette Black (February 27, 1886 – September 25, 1971) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, he served from August 19, 1937 – September 17, 1971.

Early career

Before his political career he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. In 1921 Black successfully defended E. R. Stephenson in his trial for the murder of a Catholic priest, Fr. James E. Coyle.[1]

U.S. Senate

Hugo black kkk.jpeg

He had previously served as a Democrat in the U.S. Senate from 1927–1937, winning the 1926 election[2] and re-election in 1932.[3] Black built his winning Senate campaign around multiple appearances at KKK meetings.

Black was an adamant supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his liberal New Deal programs, having drafted the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Even prior to Roosevelt's tenure, Black advocated establishing a minimum wage. He supported Roosevelt's 1937 scheme to pack the court, which ultimately failed due to bipartisan backlash.

Black opposed anti-lynching legislation.[4] He filibustered them[5] and voted twice in 1937 to kill such measures.[6][7]

Supreme Court

Black was nominated by Roosevelt to the United States Supreme Court in August 1937. Civil rights groups including the NAACP demanded answers on his KKK membership. A month after being confirmed by the Senate, it was then confirmed by the Pittsburg Post-Gazette that he had been a member of the Klan. He refused to resign despite a national uproar which included hundreds protesting against him. He responded to these calls for resignation on October 1, 1937 in a radio address where he admitted to being a liberal.[8]

As a Supreme Court Justice, Black was completely opposed to:

Justice Black was the leading proponent of incorporation doctrine, and often insisted on a literalist interpretation of the Bill of Rights, and he dissented from Griswold v. Connecticut.

Black was well known for his anti-Catholic viewpoints,[9] and was profoundly influenced by the writings of Paul Blanshard, a socialist.[10][11][12] In Korematsu v. the United States, Black voted to uphold President Roosevelt's mass arrests and incarceration of Japanese men, women, and children based on race.

See also

References

External links