- NAME: Byron R. White
- OCCUPATION: Football Player, Lawyer, Supreme Court Justice, Government Official
- BIRTH DATE: June 08, 1917
- DEATH DATE: April 15, 2002
- EDUCATION: University of Oxford, Yale Law School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Fort Collins, Colorado
- PLACE OF DEATH: Denver, Colorado
- AKA: Byron White
- Full Name: Byron Raymond White
- Nickname: "Whizzer"
- AKA: Byron R. White
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Byron R. White was born on June 8, 1917, in Fort Collins, Colorado. He played football with the Pittsburg Pirates and the Detroit Lions. He studied at the University of Oxford before studying law at Yale. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy named him deputy U.S. attorney general. One year later he was appointed to the Supreme Court. White remained on the court until he retired in 1993. He died in 2002.
"The court is the most vulnerable and comes closest to illegitimacy when it deals with judge-made constitutional law having little or no cognizable roots in the language or design of the Constitution."
"Where else can one be so isolated and alone, yet turn from hero to heel or from heel to hero in just 10 pages or so?"
"Like any other Court of Appeals judge, I hope the court's mandates will be clear, crisp, and leave those of us below with as little room as possible for disagreement about their meaning."
Born on June 8, 1917, in Fort Collins, Colorado, Byron Raymond White served on the U.S. Supreme Court for more than 30 years. He grew up in Wellington, Colorado, where his father ran a lumberyard and also served as the town's mayor for a time. Byron R. White began working when he was in the 1st grade, harvesting sugar beet crops. Laboring in the fields may have helped him develop his strength and stamina, which made him a leading high school athlete.
Excelling at both sports and academics, White graduated at the top of his high school class. He won a scholarship to the University of Colorado. There White became an All-American football player, and he eventually earned the nickname "Whizzer." After graduating from the university in 1938, White deferred on Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University. He decided to play professional football for the Pittsburgh Pirates. At the time, White received a record-breaking salary of $15,800 for the season.
In 1939, Byron R. White finally went to study at Oxford University. He returned home later that year as World War II began. Back in the States, White began his studies at Yale Law School. He took time away from his coursework to return to professional football. For two seasons, White was a member of the Detroit Lions.
White joined the U.S. Navy in 1942. He won a Bronze Star for his service on the war's Pacific front. While working in naval intelligence, he met up John F. Kennedy. White wrote the official report on the sinking of Kennedy's military vessel. Also during the war, he became friends with future Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens.
In 1946, White finished his law degree at Yale. He then moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for a year as a law clerk for Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Vinson. White returned to Colorado to join a law firm in Denver where he focused much of his efforts on corporate law.
White largely avoided politics for much of his professional life until Senator John F. Kennedy ran for president. To support his old friend, White ran the Kennedy campaign efforts in Colorado and later the national organization Citizens for Kennedy. After Kennedy won his presidential bid, he appointed White deputy attorney general. White worked for U.S. Attorney Robert F. Kennedy in this job.
In 1962, President Kennedy nominated White for the United States Supreme Court. White replaced Charles Whittaker who had decided to retire. At the age of 44, he became the youngest man to serve on the court at the time. When he first started, the conservative, often brusque justice seemed a bit out of place on the more liberal court of Chief Justice Earl Warren.
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