Justice William J. Brennan

Justice William J. Brennan

General | Newark (1908-1997)

The son of Irish Immigrants, William Brennan attended public school in Newark graduating from Barringer High school. Upon earning a Harvard law degree, Brennan returned to New Jersey and entered private practice at the firm of Pitney Hardin. After military service during World War II, he again headed back to the Garden State where he was appointed first to the Superior Court and then to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Although a Democrat, he was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by a Republican President in 1956 where he served until his retirement in 1990. An outspoken liberal, Justice Brennan wrote more than 1300 opinions, many of which championed individual rights and expanded the right of free speech. His success in forging consensus on divisive issues speaks not only to his intellect, but also to him as a person. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom is now also a member of the New Jersey Hall of Fame and we are proud to include him.

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