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William Joseph Brennan, Jr.

Brennan, William Joseph, Jr., 1906–97, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1956–90), b. Newark, N.J. After receiving his law degree from Harvard, he practiced law in Newark. He served as a New Jersey superior court judge (1949–50), appellate division judge (1950–52), and state supreme court justice (1952–56). In 1956 President Eisenhower appointed him to succeed Sherman Minton on the Supreme Court. Brennan became noted as a supporter of individual liberties and guarantees of justice to the poor and as an effective deal-maker and strategist in the Warren court. In the last two decades of his long service, he was a liberal stalwart among increasingly conservative colleagues; many of his 1,360 opinions were dissents.

See biography by S. Stern and S. Wermiel (2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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