100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Paul E. Johnson

Paul E. Johnson

Affirmative Action

“No One Else. … was Anywhere Near as Qualified as I Was”

Johnson v. Transportation Agency, Santa Clara County 480 U.S. 616 (1987)

Paul Johnson believed in old-fashioned American values, especially the notion that if you set goals and worked hard, you could succeed. He was born in 1925 to Kansas farmers who barely eked out a living. His mother was pregnant with her fifth son when her husband died of pneumonia. Unable to hold the family together, she sent Paul, just eight, and the other boys to live with various relatives.

He grew up in Gladewater, Texas, and in World War II joined the navy and served on a submarine. After the war Johnson worked as a roustabout in the oil fields ...

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