Bio- Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall, 1908–93, U.S.  lawyer and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1967–91), b. Baltimore.  He received his law degree from Howard Univ. in 1933. In 1936 he joined the  legal staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  As its chief counsel (1938–61), he argued more than 30 cases before the U.S.  Supreme Court, successfully challenging racial segregation, most notably in  higher education. His presentation of the argument against the “separate but  equal” doctrine achieved its greatest impact with the landmark decision handed  down in Brown v. Board of Education of  Topeka (1954). His appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1961 was  opposed by some Southern senators and was not confirmed until 1962. President  Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the Supreme Court two years later; he was the  first black to sit on the high court, where he consistently supported the  position taken by those challenging discrimination based on race or sex, opposed  the death penalty, and supported the rights of criminal defendants. His support  for affirmative action led to his strong dissent in Regents  of the University of California v. Bakke (1978). As appointments by  Presidents Nixon and Reagan changed the outlook of the Court, Marshall found  himself increasingly in the minority; in retirement he was outspoken in his  criticism of the court.

References:

See biography by J. Williams (1998); studies by R. W. Bland  (1973) and H. Ball (1999); R. Kluger, Simple Justice (1976).

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