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January 18, 2013
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Mr. Justice Douglas on Oppression by poasterchild Mr. Justice Douglas on Oppression by poasterchild
Please disseminate widely, thank you! This does not give permission to alter or claim credit for this re-mixed work, for which I retain all copyrights. The original illustration is in the public domain. The text may be found in The Douglas Letters: Selections from the Private Papers of Justice William O. Douglas (1987). 1976 Letter to Young Lawyers Section of the Washington State Bar Association.

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William O. Douglas was arguably the most staunch defender of individual liberty who sat on the Supreme Court during the 20th Century. His words on the incremental nature of attempts at government oppression could not be better suited to the current debate over firearms.

He also penned these words:

"Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and the like."

"The privacy and dignity of our citizens [are] being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen, a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of a [personís] life."

A lifelong outdoorsman and conservationist, towards the end of his vaunted career, he wrote a notable dissent in which he argued that the remaining wild spaces, animals and plants, and indeed the Earth itself should have legal standing to sue in Federal court on environmental issues.
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Charmed-Ravenclaw Mar 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for introducing me to that quote
poasterchild Mar 10, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Yes, you're welcome.
Me-Anonymously Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
That quote is amazingly beautiful and deep.
poasterchild Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Yes. He wrote that just after he retired from the Supreme Court in 1976 in an open letter to young lawyers in Washington State, his home. He saw what was already underway, and what was coming.
bipole Jan 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Keep forgetting that 1984 was written well before 1984.
poasterchild Jan 19, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
That's right. It was first published in 1949.
HerrHaller Jan 18, 2013  Student Photographer
Wow, an amazing fellow. We would never have a supreme court justice like this today.
poasterchild Jan 18, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
He also wrote the majority opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut, which is the lynchpin of the right to privacy against government intrusion into the lives of citizens. It is worth reading: [link]
HerrHaller Jan 20, 2013  Student Photographer
Very interesting indeed, thanks.
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