The Law: Douglas Finally Leaves the Bench

It was Justice Harry Blackmun's 67th birthday, and all his colleagues on the U.S. Supreme Court had gathered in their private dining room to raise a glass of wine and sing Happy Birthday. Then, when the song died down, Chief Justice Warren Burger called for attention. Solemnly he announced that William Orville Douglas had written a note to President Ford saying he was retiring that day, after nearly 37 years on the court—the longest term served by any Justice in history. When the suddenly subdued lunch eventually ended, Burger and the others each...

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