Synopses & Reviews
As the longest serving Justice in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court, William O. Douglas was known for writing a host of dissenting opinions. He was also a prolific writer off the bench, a man whose work was as much concerned with nature as with law. This collection brings together writings that represent the wide range of Douglas's interests. It includes selections from his autobiographical and political books, and opinions from landmark cases—all reflecting not only his love of justice but also his roots in the Pacific Northwest and his lifelong commitment to the environment. Several selections from Douglas's book Of Men and Mountains portray his abiding love of the outdoors—particularly the Northern Cascades—and the rugged people who live there. These personal writings warmly recall events of his youth and celebrate the power of the mountains to renew the human spirit. Other selections evoke Douglas's professional activities: as a New Deal insider and Supreme Court Justice, a champion of civil liberties and the right of minorities, a strong internationalist, and an unflagging supporter of environmental issues. These latter writings include passages from My Wilderness and his dissenting opinion in Sierra Club v. Morton arguing that trees have legal standing to bring lawsuits. These writings demonstrate that Douglas never shied from controversy—whether over interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment or the choice between flies and bait for trout fishing— and offer inspiration for both environmentalists and all who yearn for a more just society. Whether extolling the joys of the wild or defending the rights of citizens, Douglas shows in this work that he truly was Nature's Justice—and one of a kind.
About the Author
James M. O'fallon is the Frank Nash Professor of Law at University of Oregon School of Law. He lives in Eugene, Oregon.