Tuesday, July 25, 2006

William O. Douglas: A Jackass AND A Jerk

Judge Richard Posner on a leading "light" of the Warren Court and Roe:

I met justice William Douglas, the longest-serving member of the Supreme Court, when I was clerking for Justice William Brennan. Douglas struck me as cold and brusque but charismatic--the most charismatic judge (well, the only charismatic judge) on the Court. Little did I know that this elderly gentleman (he was sixty-four when I was a law clerk) was having sex with his soon-to-be third wife in his Supreme Court office, that he was being stalked by his justifiably suspicious soon-to-be ex-wife, and that on one occasion he had to hide the wife-to-be in his closet in order to prevent the current wife from discovering her.


Apart from being a flagrant liar, Douglas was a compulsive womanizer, a heavy drinker, a terrible husband to each of his four wives, a terrible father to his two children, and a bored, distracted, uncollegial, irresponsible, and at times unethical Supreme Court justice who regularly left the Court for his summer vacation weeks before the term ended. Rude, ice-cold, hot-tempered, ungrateful, foul-mouthed, self-absorbed, and devoured by ambition, he was also financially reckless--at once a big spender, a tightwad, and a sponge--who, while he was serving as a justice, received a substantial salary from a foundation established and controlled by a shady Las Vegas businessman.

So what the Hell are a few dead babies?

HT: Of Arms and the Law


Anonymous said...

Finished reading "The Court Years" 1939-1975 The Autobiography of Douglas and found it a remarkable read. Now I enjoy history and the law so a cerebral look at the Supreme Court was my kind of read. Douglas was gifted and made a lasting mark on the Court for which we can all be thankful.

Dad29 said...

Right, Deke.

MY autobio will make me a Saint, too. Of course, others may question that conclusion...

Douglas' "mark" on the Court was a bloody stain edged in black. YOU may be thankful.

Thinking citizens are not.