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Byron White

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Byron Raymond “Whizzer” White (June 8, 1917 – April 15, 2002) was an American lawyer and professional football player who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1962 to 1993. Born and raised in Colorado, he played college football, basketball, and baseball for the University of Colorado, finishing as the runner up for the Heisman Trophy in 1937. He was selected in the first round of the 1938 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers and led the National Football League in rushing yards in his rookie season. White was admitted to Yale Law School in 1939 and played for the Detroit Lions in the 1940 and 1941 seasons. During World War II, he served as an intelligence officer with the United States Navy in the Pacific. After the war, he graduated from Yale and clerked for Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson.
White entered private practice in Denver, Colorado, working primarily as a transactional attorney. He served as the Colorado state chair of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign and accepted appointment as the United States Deputy Attorney General in 1961. In 1962, President Kennedy successfully nominated White to the Supreme Court, making White the first Supreme Court Justice from Colorado. He retired in 1993 and was succeeded by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. White is the twelfth longest-serving justice in Supreme Court history.
White viewed his own court decisions as based on the facts of each case rather than as representative of a specific legal philosophy. He wrote the majority opinion in cases including Coker v. Georgia, Washington v. Davis and Bowers v. Hardwick. He wrote dissenting opinions in notable cases such as Miranda v. Arizona, Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, and Roe v. Wade.