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William O. Douglas (1898–1980), associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1939 through 1975, became recognized as the most committed, outspoken, controversial civil libertarian and environmental advocate ever appointed to that august body. Author of more dissenting opinions, more public speeches, and more books than any other justice, Douglas created a persona that caused admirers and detractors alike to call him “Wild Bill.”

Born William Orville Douglas on October 16, 1898, in Maine Township, Otter Tail County, Minnesota, he moved with his parents to California, then Washington. He graduated from Yakima High School in 1916 and from Whitman College in 1920. After teaching at Yakima High School for two years, Douglas worked his way eastward to enroll as a law student at Columbia University and ...

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