Thurgood Marshall

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Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights. [31]

Although best remembered for jurisprudence in the fields of civil rights and criminal procedure, Marshall made significant contributions to other areas of the law as well. In Teamsters v. Terry , he held that the Seventh Amendment entitled the plaintiff to a jury trial in a suit against a labor union for breach of duty of fair representation. In TSC Industries, Inc. v. Northway, Inc. , he articulated a formulation for the standard of materiality in United States securities law that is still applied and used today. In Cottage Savings Association v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue , he weighed in on the income tax consequences of the savings and loan crisis, permitting a savings and loan association to deduct a loss from an exchange of mortgage participation interests. In Personnel Administrator MA v. Feeney , Marshall wrote a dissent saying that a law that gave hiring preference to veterans over non-veterans was unconstitutional because of its inequitable impact on women.[ citation needed ]

Among his many law clerks were attorneys who went on to become judges themselves, such as Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge Ralph Winter of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan; as well as notable law professors Susan Low Bloch, Elizabeth Garrett (former President of Cornell University), Paul Gewirtz, Dan Kahan, Randall L. Kennedy, Eben Moglen, Rick Pildes,[ citation needed ] Louis Michael Seidman, [32] Cass Sunstein, and Mark Tushnet (editor of Thurgood Marshall: His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions and Reminiscences); and law school deans Paul Mahoney of University of Virginia School of Law, Martha Minow of Harvard Law School, and Richard Revesz of New York University School of Law.[ citation needed ]

Marshall retired from the Supreme Court in 1991 due to declining health. In his retirement press conference on June 28, 1991, he expressed his view that race should not be a factor in choosing his successor, and he denied circulating claims that he was retiring because of frustration or anger over the conservative direction in which the Court was heading. [33] He was reportedly unhappy that it would fall to Republican President George H. W. Bush to name his replacement. [34] Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to replace Marshall. [3] [4] [35]

Death and legacy

Marshall's grave at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 5, Grave 40-3). Thurgood Marshall, First African-American Supreme Court Justice.jpg
Marshall's grave at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 5, Grave 40-3).
U.S. circuit judges Robert A. Katzmann, Damon J. Keith, and Sonia Sotomayor (later Associate Justice) at a 2004 exhibit on the Fourteenth Amendment, Thurgood Marshall, and Brown v. Board of Education. Brown V. Board of Education Exhibit.jpg
U.S. circuit judges Robert A. Katzmann, Damon J. Keith, and Sonia Sotomayor (later Associate Justice) at a 2004 exhibit on the Fourteenth Amendment, Thurgood Marshall, and Brown v. Board of Education .

Marshall died of heart failure at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on January 24, 1993, at the age of 84. After he lay in repose in the Great Hall of the United States Supreme Court Building, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. [36] He was survived by his second wife and their two sons.[ citation needed ]

Marshall left all his personal papers and notes to the Library of Congress. The Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, opened Marshall's papers for immediate use by scholars, journalists, and the public, insisting that this was Marshall's intent. The Marshall family and several incumbent justices disputed this claim. [37] The decision to make the documents public was supported by the American Library Association. [38] A list of the archived manuscripts is available. [39]

Thurgood Marshall's Bible was used by Vice President Kamala Harris at her inauguration in Washington on January 20, 2021 when she was sworn into office. [40]


U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (left) and Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler talk in Lawyers Mall, near a statue of Thurgood Marshall. (October 2007). Gansler and Cardin.jpg
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (left) and Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler talk in Lawyers Mall, near a statue of Thurgood Marshall. (October 2007).

Numerous memorials have been dedicated to Marshall. An 8-foot (2.4 m) statue stands in Lawyers Mall adjacent to the Maryland State House. The statue, dedicated on October 22, 1996, depicts Marshall as a young lawyer and is placed just a few feet (a meter or two) away from where stood the Old Maryland Supreme Court Building, the court where Marshall argued discrimination cases leading up to the Brown decision. [41] The primary office building for the federal court system, located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., is named in honor of Marshall and contains a statue of him in the atrium.[ citation needed ]

In 1976, Texas Southern University renamed its law school after the sitting justice. [42]

In 1980, the University of Maryland School of Law opened a new library, which it named the Thurgood Marshall Law Library. [43]

In 2000, the historic Twelfth Street YMCA Building located in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C., was renamed the Thurgood Marshall Center.[ citation needed ]

The major airport serving Baltimore and the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., was renamed the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 1, 2005.[ citation needed ]

The 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church added Marshall to the church's liturgical calendar of "Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints", designating May 17 as his feast day. [44]

His membership of the Lincoln University fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha was to have been memorialized by a sculpture by Alvin Pettit in 2013. [45]

The University of California, San Diego renamed its Third College after Marshall in 1993. [46]

Marshall Middle School, in Olympia, Washington, is also named after Marshall, as is Thurgood Marshall Academy in Washington, D.C.[ citation needed ]

Marshall is portrayed by Sidney Poitier in the 1991 two-part television miniseries, Separate but Equal , depicting the landmark Supreme Court desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education , based on the phrase separate but equal . [47] In 2006, Thurgood , a one-man play written by George Stevens Jr., premiered at the Westport Country Playhouse, starring James Earl Jones and directed by Leonard Foglia. [48] Later it opened Broadway at the Booth Theatre on April 30, 2008, starring Laurence Fishburne. [49]

Thurgood Marshall
Official portrait, 1976
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
In office
August 30, 1967 October 1, 1991 [1]

On February 24, 2011, HBO screened a filmed version of the play which Fishburne performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The production was described by the Baltimore Sun as "one of the most frank, informed and searing discussions of race you will ever see on TV." [50] On February 16, 2011, a screening of the film was hosted by the White House as part of its celebrations of Black History Month. [51] [52] A painting of Marshall by Chaz Guest has hung at the White House. [53] Marshall is portrayed by Chadwick Boseman in Reginald Hudlin's 2017 film Marshall , which revolves around the 1941 case of the State of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell . [54] [55]

Marriage and family

Marshall was married twice. He married Vivian "Buster" Burey in 1929. After her death in February 1955, Marshall married Cecilia Suyat in December of that year. They were married until he died in 1993, having two sons together: Thurgood Marshall Jr., a former top aide to President Bill Clinton; and John W. Marshall, a former United States Marshals Service Director and Virginia Secretary of Public Safety. [56]

Thurgood Marshall Award

In 1993, The Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico instituted [57] the annual Thurgood Marshall Award, given to the top student in civil rights at each of Puerto Rico's four law schools. It includes a $500 monetary award. The awardees are selected by the Commonwealth's Attorney General.


See also


  1. "Members of the Supreme Court of the United States". Supreme Court of the United States . Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 Lewis, Neil (June 28, 1991). "A Slave's Great-Grandson Who Used Law to Lead the Rights Revolution". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  3. 1 2 Dowd, Maureen (July 2, 1991). "The Supreme Court; Conservative Black Judge, Clarence Thomas, is named to Marshall's Court Seat". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  4. 1 2 Yang, John E.; LaFraniere, Sharon (July 2, 1991). "Bush Picks Thomas For Supreme Court". The Washington Post . ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  5. GMU. "Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justice" . Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  6. "A Thurgood Marshall Timeline," A Deeper Shade of Black.
  7. "Thurgood Marshall Biography – life, family, parents, name, story, death, history, wife, school, young, information, born". Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  8. Ball, Howard (1998). A Defiant Life: Thurgood Marshall & the Persistence of Racism in America. Crown. p.  17. ISBN   0-517-59931-7.
  9. Gibson, Larry S. (2012). Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice. Prometheus Books. p. 84. ISBN   9781616145712.
  10. 1 2 Skocpol, Theda (February 18, 2011). "Foreword". In Hughey, Matthew Windust; Parks, Gregory (eds.). Black Greek-Letter Organizations 2.0: New Directions in the Study of African American Fraternities and Sororities [Hardcover] (1 ed.). Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. pp. xiii, xiv, xvi. ISBN   978-1604739213.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Starks, Glenn; Erik Brooks, F. (2012). Thurgood Marshall. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 7 & 8
  12. Nazel, Joseph (1993). Thurgood Marshall: Supreme Court Justice. Los Angeles: Melrose Square Pub, 1993. p. 57. ISBN   0870675842 . Retrieved September 27, 2012. ISBN   9780870675843
  13. Parks, Gregory S., editor; Bradley, Stefan M. (2012). Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, The Demands of Transcendence. University of Kentucky Press. pp. xiv, 167, 233, 236, 1239, 256, 376. ISBN   978-0813134215 . Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  14. 1 2 "Biographies of the Robes: Thurgood Marshall". PBS. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  15. Lomotey, Kofi (2010). Encyclopedia of African American Education. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE. ISBN   978-1-4129-4050-4.[ page needed ]
  16. Kluger, Richard (2004). Simple justice : the history of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's struggle for equality (1st Vintage Books ed.). New York: Vintage Books. ISBN   978-1400030613.[ page needed ]
  17. "Biographies: NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Teaching Judicial History". FJC.
  18. 1 2 Root, Damon (March 20, 2009) A Forgotten Civil Rights Hero, Reason
  19. David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, Black Maverick: T. R. M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 132–35, 157–58.
  20. "Civil Rights Giant and First Black Supreme Court Justice Honored on 2003 Black Heritage Series Stamp". United States Postal Service. August 7, 2002. Archived from the original on February 7, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
  21. Williams, Juan (1998). Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary . New York: Times Books. pp.  317. ISBN   0-8129-2028-7.
  22. Waxman, Seth P. (June 1, 1998). "The Solicitor General in Historical Context". Office of the Solicitor General. United States Department of Justice . Retrieved May 31, 2020. But they – we – have all been fortunate indeed to have been able to serve in what Thurgood Marshall called 'the best job I've ever had.'
  23. Caplan, Lincoln (1987). The Tenth Justice: The Solicitor General and the Rule of Law. Vintage Books. p. 261. ISBN   9780394759555.
  24. Graham, Fred P. (August 31, 1967), "Senate Confirms Marshall As the First Negro Justice; 10 Southerners Oppose High Court Nominee in 69-to-11 Vote", The New York Times .
  26. Savage, Charlie (May 13, 2010). "Kagan's Link to Marshall Cuts 2 Ways". The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  27. Bendavid, Naftali (June 28, 2010). "Thurgood Marshall in the Spotlight at Kagan Hearing". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  28. Shapiro, Ari. "Kagan Quizzed About Thurgood Marshall's Record". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  29. Tinsley E. Yarbrough (2000). The Rehnquist Court and the Constitution . Oxford University Press US. ISBN   978-0-19-510346-5 . Retrieved May 1, 2009.[ page needed ]
  30. Sobran, Joseph (May 8, 1987). "Justice Marshall v. the US Constitution". The Southwest Missourian. p. 4A.
  31. 1 2 Taylor, Stuart (May 7, 1987). "Marshall Sounds Critical Note on Bicentenial". The New York Times.
  32. "Profile Louis Seidman". Georgetown Law. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  33. "Retirement of Justice Marshall" . Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  34. Lee Epstein; Jeffrey Allan Segal (2005). Advice and Consent: the politics of judicial appointments . Oxford University Press US. p.  39. ISBN   978-0-19-530021-5 . Retrieved August 13, 2009.
  35. Higgins, Tucker (December 5, 2018). "George HW Bush was president for only 4 years, but he shaped the Supreme Court for decades". CNBC. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  36. See generally, "Christensen, George A. (1983) Here Lies the Supreme Court: Gravesites of the Justices, Yearbook". Archived from the original on September 3, 2005. Retrieved April 26, 2010. Supreme Court Historical Society.
  37. Lewis, Neil A. (May 26, 1993). "Chief Justice Assails Library on Release of Marshall Papers". The New York Times. Retrieved December 17, 2007.
  38. "Conservation OnLine – CoOL" . Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  39. Marshall, Thurgood. "Thurgood Marshall papers, 1949–1991" . Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  40. "Kamala Harris sworn in using Thurgood Marshall's Bible to honor personal hero". Newsweek. January 20, 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  41. "Thurgood Marshall Memorial". Maryland Archives. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
  42. "About Texas Southern University and Thurgood Marshall School of Law" Archived June 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  43. Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland School of Law
  44. NEW YORK: St. Philip's celebrates Thurgood Marshall feast day, .
  45. "Thurgood Marshall Monument". Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Nu Chapter. 2012. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  46. Schmidt, Steve (October 3, 1993). "UCSD ceremony dedicates Marshall College". U-T San Diego . p. B.1.5.7. Retrieved November 1, 2010.
  47. "Separate But Equal (TV 1991) – IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved 2010-10-13
  48. Rizzo, Frank (May 14, 2006). "Thurgood". Variety. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  49. BWW (October 24, 2007). "Laurence Fishburne is 'Thurgood' on Broadway Spring 2008". Retrieved March 9, 2008.
  50. Zurawik, David (February 18, 2011). "HBO's 'Thurgood' is an exceptional look at race and the law". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  51. White House (February 24, 2011). "White House Screening of "Thurgood"". . Retrieved January 2, 2012 via National Archives.
  52. McPeak, Joaquin (February 16, 2011). "City of Sacramento Press Release" (PDF). Office of Mayor Kevin Johnson, City of Sacramento. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 4, 2012. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  53. Akers, Mary Ann (September 24, 2008). "Artist Paints Portrait of 'President Obama'". The Washington Post.
  54. Rothman, Lily (October 13, 2017). "What to Know About the Real Case That Inspired the Movie Marshall". Time . Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  55. Idasetima, Courtney (October 13, 2017). "'Marshall': 8 of the Film's Stars and Their Real-Life Inspirations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  56. "Marshall marries Cecilia 'Cissy' Suyat". American Radio Works. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  57. "Sistema de Información de Trámite Legislativo" . Retrieved December 18, 2016.

Further reading

Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 75 Stat. 80
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Succeeded by
Preceded by Solicitor General of the United States
Succeeded by
Preceded by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Succeeded by

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