Today in Supreme Court History

Today in Supreme Court History: August 19, 1937

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

8/19/1937: Justice Hugo Black takes the oath.

Justice Hugo Black


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  1. Congress shall make no law . . .

    “‘No’ to me means ‘No’.”

    1. Not sure what you’re referring to but just remember, there are no absolutes in the Constitution.

      There are limits and exceptions on many of the rights.

      1. Odd that you didn’t know. It was probably his most famous quote. A First Amendment absolutist (and an originalist) if there ever was one. When the Court heard a case on an x-rated film, the other Justices got out their popcorn, but he refused to see it; he knew how he was going to vote. One liberal commentator called him “simple-minded”, but sometimes that’s okay.

        I saw his interview on “60 Minutes” (from 1970, I think) where he pulled out a little booklet-sized Constitution from his pocket. He said he always carried it with him. It sure looked well-worn.

        1. Just looked it up, and in fact the interview was on “CBS Reports”, broadcast on Dec. 3, 1968. I feel really old now.

          It was the first ever broadcast interview with a sitting Supreme Court Justice. The interviewer was Eric Sevareid (commentator sometimes called “Eric Several-sides”).

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