The Honorable Mary E. Fairhurst & Andrew T. Braff, William O. Douglas: The Gadfly of Washington, 40 Gonz. L. Rev. 259 (2005).
Socrates believed his destiny involved a great calling, and Julia Fisk Douglas, William Orville Douglas’s mother, thought the same of “her little Treasure.” Having single-handedly nursed her ailing twenty-two-month-old son back to health by massaging his atrophied legs, she believed God had spared her tiny Orville for some noble purpose, which in her mind was to be President of the United States. Little did she know how close he would come, or that his libertarian philosophy, born in the foothills of the Cascades and nurtured by the worldview she created for him, would guide this “modern gadfly” to become the longest serving and most prolific dissenter in the history of the Supreme Court. Douglas was a voice for populist reform from Wall Street to the streets of Birmingham, and a rich target for those who would use impeachment instead of hemlock to prevent the so-called “corruption” of an institution.