60 Facts About Thurgood Marshall


Thurgood Marshall was an American civil rights lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1967 until 1991.


Thurgood Marshall won 29 of the 32 civil rights cases he argued before the Supreme Court, culminating in the Court's landmark 1954 decision in Brown v Board of Education, which rejected the separate but equal doctrine and held segregation in public education to be unconstitutional.


Thurgood Marshall opened a law practice in Baltimore but soon joined Houston at the NAACP in New York.


Gaines v Canada; after Houston returned to Washington, Marshall took his place as special counsel of the NAACP, and he became director-counsel of the newly formed NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.


Thurgood Marshall participated in numerous landmark Supreme Court cases involving civil rights, including Smith v Allwright, Morgan v Virginia, Shelley v Kraemer, McLaurin v Oklahoma State Regents, Sweatt v Painter, Brown, and Cooper v Aaron.


In 1967, Johnson nominated Marshall to replace Justice Tom C Clark on the Supreme Court; despite opposition from Southern senators, he was confirmed by a vote of 69 to 11.


Thurgood Marshall was often in the majority during the consistently liberal Warren Court period, but after appointments by President Richard Nixon made the Court more conservative, Marshall frequently found himself in dissent.


Thurgood Marshall's jurisprudence was pragmatic and drew on his real-world experience.


Thurgood Marshall fervently opposed the death penalty, which in his view constituted cruel and unusual punishment; he and Brennan dissented in more than 1,400 cases in which the majority refused to review a death sentence.


Thurgood Marshall favored a robust interpretation of the First Amendment in decisions such as Stanley v Georgia, and he supported abortion rights in Roe v Wade and other cases.


Thurgood Marshall retired from the Supreme Court in 1991 and was replaced by Clarence Thomas.


Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2,1908, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Norma and William Canfield Marshall.


Thurgood Marshall's father held various jobs as a waiter in hotels, in clubs, and on railroad cars, and his mother was an elementary school teacher.


Thurgood Marshall was an energetic and boisterous child who frequently found himself in trouble.


Thurgood Marshall taught me how to argue, challenged my logic on every point, by making me prove every statement I made, even if we were discussing the weather.


Thurgood Marshall attended the Colored High and Training School in Baltimore, graduating in 1925 with honors.


Thurgood Marshall then enrolled at Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the oldest college for African Americans in the United States.


The mischievous Thurgood Marshall was suspended for two weeks in the wake of a hazing incident, but he earned good grades in his classes and led the school's debating team to numerous victories.


Thurgood Marshall graduated first in his class in June 1933 and passed the Maryland bar examination later that year.


Thurgood Marshall started a law practice in Baltimore, but it was not financially successful, partially because he spent much of his time working for the benefit of the community.


Thurgood Marshall volunteered with the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons.


In 1936, Thurgood Marshall joined Houston, who had been appointed as the NAACP's special counsel, in New York City, serving as his assistant.


Houston returned to Washington in 1938, and Thurgood Marshall assumed his position as special counsel the following year.


Thurgood Marshall became the director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc, which had been established as a separate organization for tax purposes.


Thurgood Marshall litigated a number of cases involving unequal salaries for African Americans, winning nearly all of them; by 1945, he had ended salary disparities in major Southern cities and earned a reputation as a prominent figure in the civil rights movement.


Thurgood Marshall defended individuals who had been charged with crimes before both trial courts and the Supreme Court.


In 1950, Marshall brought two cases involving education to the Court: McLaurin v Oklahoma State Regents, which was George W McLaurin's challenge to unequal treatment at the University of Oklahoma's graduate school, and Sweatt v Painter, which was Heman Sweatt's challenge to his being required to attend a blacks-only law school in Texas.


Thurgood Marshall next turned to the issue of segregation in primary and secondary schools.


Thurgood Marshall called numerous social scientists and other expert witnesses to testify regarding the harms of segregation; these included the psychology professor Ken Clark, who testified that segregation in schools caused self-hatred among African-American students and inflicted damage that was "likely to endure as long as the conditions of segregation exist".


Thurgood Marshall, who according to the legal scholar Mark Tushnet "gradually became a civil rights leader more than a civil rights lawyer", spent substantial amounts of time giving speeches and fundraising; in 1960, he accepted an invitation from Tom Mboya to help draft Kenya's constitution.


President John F Kennedy, who according to Tushnet "wanted to demonstrate his commitment to the interests of African Americans without incurring enormous political costs", nominated Marshall to be a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on September 23,1961.


The subcommittee held several hearings between May and August 1962; Thurgood Marshall faced harsh questioning from the Southerners over what the scholar Howard Ball described as "marginal issues at best".


Thurgood Marshall dissented when a majority held in the Fourth Amendment case of United States ex rel.


Thurgood Marshall's dissents indicated that he favored broader interpretations of constitutional protections than did his colleagues.


Thurgood Marshall defended the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in South Carolina v Katzenbach and Katzenbach v Morgan, winning both cases.


The public received the nomination favorably, and Thurgood Marshall was praised by prominent senators from both parties.


Thurgood Marshall faced harsh criticism from such senators as Mississippi's James O Eastland, North Carolina's Sam Ervin Jr.


Thurgood Marshall took the constitutional oath of office on October 2,1967, becoming the first African American to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.


Thurgood Marshall remained on the Supreme Court for nearly twenty-four years, serving until his retirement in 1991.


Thurgood Marshall had a high regard for Warren, whom he described as "probably the greatest Chief Justice who ever lived".


Thurgood Marshall disagreed with the notion that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the Founders' original understandings; in a 1987 speech commemorating the Constitution's bicentennial, he said:.


In what Cass Sunstein described as the justice's greatest opinion, Marshall dissented when the Court in San Antonio Independent School District v Rodriguez upheld a system in which local schools were funded mainly through property taxes, arguing that the policy resulted in unconstitutional discrimination.


Thurgood Marshall favored a strict interpretation of the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement and opposed rulings that made exceptions to that provision; in United States v Ross, for instance, he indignantly dissented when the Court upheld a conviction that was based on evidence discovered during a warrantless search of containers that had been found in an automobile.


Thurgood Marshall felt strongly that the Miranda doctrine should be expanded and fully enforced.


In cases involving the Sixth Amendment, he argued that defendants must have competent attorneys; dissenting in Strickland v Washington, Marshall rejected the majority's conclusion that defendants must prove prejudice in ineffective assistance of counsel cases.


Thurgood Marshall fervently opposed capital punishment throughout his time on the Court, arguing that it was cruel and unusual and therefore unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment.


Thurgood Marshall emphasized equality in his free speech opinions, writing in Chicago Police Dept.


Thurgood Marshall favored the total separation of church and state, dissenting when the Court upheld in Lynch v Donnelly a city's display of a nativity scene and joining the majority in Wallace v Jaffree to strike down an Alabama law regarding prayer in schools.


Thurgood Marshall joined the majority in Eisenstadt v Baird to strike down a statute that prohibited the distribution or sale of contraceptives to unmarried persons, dissented when the Court in Bowers v Hardwick upheld an anti-sodomy law, and dissented from the majority's decision in Cruzan v Director, Missouri Department of Health that the Constitution did not protect an unconditional right to die.


Thurgood Marshall was a member of the unanimous majority in United States v Nixon that rejected President Nixon's claims of absolute executive privilege.


Thurgood Marshall wed Vivian "Buster" Burey on September 4,1929, while he was a student at Lincoln University.


Thurgood Marshall was an active member of the Episcopal Church and served as a delegate to its 1964 convention, walking out after a resolution to recognize a right to disobey immoral segregation laws was voted down.


Thurgood Marshall was a Prince Hall Mason, attending meetings and participating in rituals.


Thurgood Marshall served as a visiting judge on the Second Circuit for a week in January 1992, and he received the American Bar Association's highest award in August of that year.


Thurgood Marshall's health continued to deteriorate, and, on January 25,1993, at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center, he died of heart failure.


Thurgood Marshall lay in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court, and thousands thronged there to pay their respects; more than four thousand attended his funeral service at the National Cathedral.


Buildings named for Marshall include New York's 590-foot-high Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse, where he heard cases as an appellate judge, and the federal judicial center in Washington.


Thurgood Marshall is the namesake of streets and schools throughout the nation.


Thurgood Marshall posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1993, and the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp in his honor in 2003.


Thurgood Marshall was depicted by Sidney Poitier in the 1991 television movie Separate but Equal, by Laurence Fishburne in George Stevens Jr.