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The Environmental Legacy of William O. Douglas

Citizen Justice: The Environmental Legacy of William O. Douglas
Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | 9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
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Program Fee:
Free for Members and Non-Lawyers | $15 Non-Members

Justice Douglas is often remembered for his four wives, an effort to impeach him, and his civil liberties decisions. But his most enduring legacy is as a champion of conservation and the environment.  In this session, based on her recently-published book, Citizen Justice: The Environmental Legacy of William O. Douglas—Public Advocate and Conservation Champion, Judge McKeown will focus on Justice Douglas’s dual role as an advocate for conservation and his position on the US Supreme Court as the longest-serving justice on the Court.  This year is the 50th anniversary of the landmark case on standing, Sierra Club v. Morton, which is a paradigmatic example of the ethical tensions surrounding Douglas’s advocacy. His famous dissent highlighted nature’s rights and whether trees should have standing, themes that still resonate in the law.  The session will also include a discussion of the intertwining of his extrajudicial activities with his judicial activities, especially his role as a champion dissenter.  This historical perspective is a backdrop to contemporary issues of the environment, constitutional law, and ethics.
Judge M. Margaret McKeown, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Sponsoring Committee:
Environmental Law, Bethany Davis Noll and Margaret Barry, Co-Chairs
Federal Courts, Richard Hong, Chair 

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