William J. Brennan, Jr.  

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William Joseph Brennan, Jr. (April 25, 1906July 24, 1997) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Known for his outspoken liberal views, including opposition to the death penalty and support for abortion rights, he was considered to be among the Court's most influential members.

Warren Court

An outspoken liberal throughout his career, he played a leading role in the Warren Court's dramatic expansion of individual rights. Brennan played a large behind-the-scenes role during the Warren Court, coaxing more conservative colleagues to join the Court's decisions. Brennan's opinions with respect to voting (Baker v. Carr), criminal proceedings (Malloy v. Hogan), the free speech and establishment clauses of the First Amendment (Roth v. United States), and civil rights (Green v. School Board of New Kent County) were some of the most important opinions of the Warren Era. Brennan's role in expanding speech rights under the First Amendment is particularly notable, as he wrote the opinion of the court in 1964's New York Times v. Sullivan, which created constitutional restrictions on the law of libel. It was Brennan who coined the phrase "chilling effect", in 1965's Dombrowski v. Pfister. His close friendship with Chief Justice Warren who frequently assigned Brennan the task of writing the majority opinion, led to the other justices nicknaming him the "deputy Chief".

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