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Lot 38: Letter Signed by Justice William O. Douglas on Supreme Court Letterhead
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
26 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Letters signed by Justice William O. Douglas on Supreme Court Letterhead********** DOUGLAS, WILLIAM O. (1898-1980). American Supreme Court justice whose term is the longest in the history of the court. TLS. (“W.O. Douglas”). 1p. 8vo. Washington, February 29, 1964. On his engraved Supreme Court stationery to Georgetown law student E. Joseph Knoll. ********** “Thank you for your kind invitation to participate in your Law Day program on May 1. The court, however, will be holding its all-day Conference on the 1st, and it will not be possible for me to join you. Nevertheless, I greatly appreciate your inviting me, and I regret that I cannot accept…” ********** In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt appointed Douglas, a former Columbia and Yale law professor and member of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the retirement of Justice Louis D. Brandeis. His confirmation at the age of 40 made him one of the youngest justices ever to sit on the high court. A frequent dissenter, Douglas is remembered for his defense of the First Amendment and as a champion of civil liberties. Douglas overcame several attempts to impeach him: once for his order to stay the execution of convicted spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and again in 1970 when House Speaker Gerald Ford was angered by Douglas’s activities outside the courtroom, including authoring articles for left wing magazines. In 1975, a debilitating stroke forced him to retire after 36 years on the bench. ********** Neatly folded into thirds and in fine condition. Accompanied by the original envelope.