McKeown on the Environmental Legacy of William O. Douglas

ALI President David F. Levi sits down with M. Margaret McKeown, senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, for a discussion on McKeown’s new book, Citizen Justice: The Environmental Legacy of William O. Douglas—Public Advocate and Conservation Champion.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas was a giant in the legal world, particularly as the longest-serving justice from 1939 to 1975. His most enduring legacy, however, is perhaps his advocacy for the environment. In a way unthinkable today, Douglas ran a one-man lobby shop from his chambers at the U.S. Supreme Court, bringing him admiration from allies in conservation groups but raising ethical issues with his colleagues. He became a national figure through his books, articles, and speeches warning against environmental dangers. Douglas organized protest hikes to leverage his position as a national icon, he lobbied politicians and policymakers privately about everything from logging to highway construction and pollution, and he protested at the Supreme Court through his voluminous and passionate dissents.

This podcast episode is jointly produced by the ALI and the Bolch Judicial Institute at Duke Law School. Visit to learn more.


Published: 2023


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