BYRON RAYMOND "WHIZZER" WHITE (June 8, 1917 – April 15, 2002) won
fame both as an
White was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Kennedy in 1962. He viewed his own court decisions as based on the facts of each case rather than as representative of a specific legal philosophy. He retired in 1993 and is the twelfth longest-serving justice in Supreme Court history . He was the first Supreme Court Justice from the state of Colorado.
* 1 Early years
* 1.1 College sports
* 2 Pro football and graduate school * 3 Military service * 4 Personal life * 5 Legal career
* 6 Supreme Court
* 6.1 Substantive due process doctrine * 6.2 Death penalty * 6.3 Abortion * 6.4 Civil rights * 6.5 Relationships with other justices * 6.6 Court operations and retirement
* 7 Later years and death * 8 Awards and honors * 9 See also * 10 References * 11 Further reading * 12 External links
Fort Collins, Colorado
After graduating at the top of his tiny high school class of six,
White attended the University of
White was an All-American halfback for the
PRO FOOTBALL AND GRADUATE SCHOOL
White had originally planned to attend
Of all the athletes I have known in my lifetime, I'd have to say Whizzer White came as close to anyone to giving 100 percent of himself when he was in competition.
~- Pittsburgh Pirates/Steelers owner ART ROONEY
With the outbreak of
World War II
His NFL career was cut short when he entered the U.S. Navy in 1942;
after the war, he elected to finish law school rather than return to
football. He was elected to the
College Football Hall of Fame
During the war, White served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy, stationed in the Pacific Theatre . He had originally wanted to join the Marines , but was kept out due to being colorblind . He wrote the intelligence report on the sinking of future President John F. Kennedy 's PT-109 . White was awarded two Bronze Star medals, and was discharged as a lieutenant commander .
White first met his wife Marion (1921–2009), the daughter of the
president of the University of Colorado, when she was in high school
and he was a college football star. During World War II, Marion
served in the
His older brother Clayton Samuel "Sam" White (1912–2004) was also a high school valedictorian and Rhodes Scholar. He later became a physician and medical researcher, particularly on the effects of atomic bomb blasts.
After World War II, he completed his studies at
Yale Law School
After serving as a law clerk to Chief Justice Fred Vinson , White returned to Colorado.
White practiced in
During the 1960 presidential election , White put his football
celebrity to use as chair of John F. Kennedy's campaign in Colorado.
White had first met the candidate when White was a Rhodes scholar and
Joseph Kennedy , was Ambassador to the Court of St.
James. During the Kennedy administration, White served as United
States Deputy Attorney General , the number two man in the Justice
Department , under
Robert F. Kennedy
Acquiring renown within the Kennedy Administration for his humble manner and sharp mind, he was appointed by Kennedy in 1962 to succeed Justice Charles Evans Whittaker , who retired for disability. Kennedy said at the time: "He has excelled at everything. And I know that he will excel on the highest court in the land." The 44-year-old White was approved by a voice vote. He would serve until his retirement in 1993. His Supreme Court tenure was the fourth-longest of the 20th century.
Upon the request of Vice President-Elect
During his service on the high court, White wrote 994 opinions. He was fierce in questioning attorneys in court, and his votes and opinions on the bench reflect an ideology that has been notoriously difficult for popular journalists and legal scholars alike to pin down. He was seen as a disappointment by some Kennedy supporters who wished he would have joined the more liberal wing of the court in its opinions on Miranda v. Arizona and Roe v. Wade.
White often took a narrow, fact-specific view of cases before the Court and generally refused to make broad pronouncements on constitutional doctrine or adhere to a specific judicial philosophy. He preferred to take what he viewed as a practical approach to the law to one based in any legal philosophy. In the tradition of the New Deal , White frequently supported a broad view and expansion of governmental powers. He consistently voted against creating constitutional restrictions on the police, dissenting in the landmark 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona . In his dissent in that case he noted that aggressive police practices enhance the individual rights of law-abiding citizens. His jurisprudence has sometimes been praised for adhering to the doctrine of judicial restraint .
SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS DOCTRINE
Frequently a critic of the doctrine of "substantive due process ", which involves the judiciary reading substantive content into the term "liberty" in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment , White's first published opinion as a Supreme Court Justice, a sole dissent in Robinson v. California (1962), foreshadowed his career-long distaste for the doctrine. In Robinson, he criticized the remainder of the Court's unprecedented expansion of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment" to strike down a California law providing for civil commitment of drug addicts. He argued that the Court was "imposing its own philosophical predilections" on the state in this exercise of judicial power, although its historic "allergy to substantive due process" would never permit it to strike down a state's economic regulatory law in such a manner.
In the same vein, he dissented in the controversial 1973 case of Roe
v. Wade . But White voted to strike down a state ban on contraceptives
in the 1965 case of
Griswold v. Connecticut , although he did not join
the majority opinion, which famously asserted a "right of privacy " on
the basis of the "penumbras" of the Bill of Rights . White and Justice
White explained his general views on the validity of substantive due process at length in his dissent in Moore v. City of East Cleveland :
The Judiciary, including this Court, is the most vulnerable and comes nearest to illegitimacy when it deals with judge-made constitutional law having little or no cognizable roots in the language or even the design of the Constitution. Realizing that the present construction of the Due Process Clause represents a major judicial gloss on its terms, as well as on the anticipation of the Framers, and that much of the underpinning for the broad, substantive application of the Clause disappeared in the conflict between the Executive and the Judiciary in 1930s and 1940s, the Court should be extremely reluctant to breathe still further substantive content into the Due Process clause so as to strike down legislation adopted by a State or city to promote its welfare. Whenever the Judiciary does so, it unavoidably pre-empts for itself another part of the governance of the country without express constitutional authority.
White parted company with Rehnquist in strongly supporting the
Supreme Court decisions striking down laws that discriminated on the
basis of sex, agreeing with Justice
William J. Brennan
White wrote the majority opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), which upheld Georgia 's anti-sodomy law against a substantive due process attack.
The Court is most vulnerable and comes nearest to illegitimacy when it deals with judge-made constitutional law having little or no cognizable roots in the language or design of the Constitution.... There should be, therefore, great resistance to ... redefining the category of rights deemed to be fundamental. Otherwise, the Judiciary necessarily takes to itself further authority to govern the country without express constitutional authority.
White's opinion in Bowers typified White's fact-specific, deferential style of deciding cases: White's opinion treated the issue in that case as presenting only the question of whether homosexuals had a fundamental right to engage in sexual activity, even though the statute in Bowers potentially applied to heterosexual sodomy (see Bowers, 478 U.S. 186, 188, n. 1. Georgia, however, conceded during oral argument that the law would be inapplicable to married couples under the precedent set forth in Griswold v. Connecticut . ). A year after White's death, Bowers was overruled in Lawrence v. Texas (2003).
White took a middle course on the issue of the death penalty: he was
one of five justices who voted in
Furman v. Georgia
White accepted the position that the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution required that all punishments be "proportional" to the crime; thus, he wrote the opinion in Coker v. Georgia (1977), which invalidated the death penalty for rape of a 16-year-old married girl. However, his first reported Supreme Court decision was a dissent in Robinson v. California (1962), in which he criticized the Court for extending the reach of the Eighth Amendment. In Robinson the Court for the first time expanded the constitutional prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishments" from examining the nature of the punishment imposed and whether it was an uncommon punishment − as, for example, in the cases of flogging, branding, banishment, or electrocution − to deciding whether any punishment at all was appropriate for the defendant's conduct. White said: "If this case involved economic regulation, the present Court's allergy to substantive due process would surely save the statute and prevent the Court from imposing its own philosophical predilections upon state legislatures or Congress." Consistent with his view in Robinson, White thought that imposing the death penalty on minors was constitutional, and he was one of the three dissenters in Thompson v. Oklahoma (1988), a decision that declared that the death penalty as applied to offenders below 16 years of age was unconstitutional as a cruel and unusual punishment.
Along with Justice
White consistently supported the Court's post-Brown v. Board of Education attempts to fully desegregate public schools , even through the controversial line of forced busing cases. He voted to uphold affirmative action remedies to racial inequality in an education setting in the famous Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case of 1978. Though White voted to uphold federal affirmative action programs in cases such as Metro Broadcasting, Inc. v. FCC , 497 U.S. 547 (1990) (later overruled by Adarand Constructors v. Peña , 515 U.S. 200 (1995)), White voted to strike down an affirmative action plan regarding state contracts in Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1989).
White dissented in
Runyon v. McCrary
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER JUSTICES
White said he was most comfortable on Rehnquist's court. He once said
COURT OPERATIONS AND RETIREMENT
White with other members of the Commission on Structural Alternatives for the Federal Courts of Appeals
White frequently urged the Supreme Court to consider cases when federal appeals courts were in conflict on issues of federal law , believing that resolving such was a primary role of the Supreme Court. Thus, White voted to grant certiorari more often than many of his colleagues; he also wrote numerous opinions dissenting from denials of certiorari. After White (along with fellow Justice Harry Blackmun , who also often voted for liberal grants of certiorari) retired, the number of cases heard each session of the Court declined steeply.
White disliked the politics of Supreme Court appointments, but had
great faith in representative democracy, responding to complaints
about politicians and mediocrity in government with exhortations to
"get more involved and help fix it." He retired in 1993, during Bill
Clinton 's presidency, saying that "someone else should be permitted
to have a like experience." Clinton nominated (and the Senate
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
LATER YEARS AND DEATH
After retiring from the Supreme Court, White occasionally sat with
lower federal courts. He maintained chambers in the federal
White died of pneumonia on April 15, 2002 at the age of 84. He was the last living Warren Court Justice, and died the day before the fortieth anniversary of his swearing in as a Justice. From his death until the retirement of Sandra Day O\'Connor , there were no living former Justices.
His remains are interred at All Souls Walk at the St. John\'s Cathedral in Denver.
Then-Chief Justice Rehnquist said White "came as close as anyone I
have known to meriting
AWARDS AND HONORS
The NFL Players Association gives the Byron "Whizzer" White NFL Man
of the Year Award to one player each year for his charity work.
Michael McCrary , who was involved in
Runyon v. McCrary
The federal courthouse in
White was posthumously awarded the
Presidential Medal of Freedom
White was inducted into the
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall
of Fame on July 14, 2007, in addition to being a member of the
College Football Hall of Fame
One of White's former law clerks, Dennis J. Hutchinson , wrote an unofficial biography of him called The Man Who Once was Whizzer White.
* Biography portal
World War II
* Demographics of the
Supreme Court of the United States
* ^ "Members of the Supreme Court of the United States". Supreme Court of the United States . Retrieved April 26, 2010. * ^ Hutchinson, Dennis J. (1993). "The Man Who Once was Whizzer White". Chicago Unbound. 103. University of Chicago Law School. p. 43.
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z AA Joan
Biskupic (April 15, 2002). Ex-Supreme Court Justice
* ^ "Navy medal given to Whizzer White". Milwaukee Journal. United
Press. June 15, 1944. p. 12, part 2.
* ^ Alexander, John D. (June 29, 1945). "Whizzer White survives
Bunker Hill". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah. INS. p. 12.
* ^ A B "Marion White, wife of late justice, dies at 87". The
* Abraham, Henry J. (1992). Justices and Presidents: A Political
History of Appointments to the Supreme Court (3rd ed.). New York: