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American West Working Group: Judge M. Margaret McKeown

Citizen Justice and Environmental Advocate—The Environmental Politics of Justice William O. Douglas
Friday, February 21, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Y2E2 101

Join us in welcoming Judge M. Margaret McKeown to Stanford!

Discussion on Justice William O. Douglas

Although Justice William O. Douglas is often remembered for his four wives and his landmark decisions in privacy, civil rights, and criminal law, perhaps his greatest legacy is his conservation advocacy.  To a degree unthinkable today, Justice Douglas ran a one-man lobby shop from his chambers, cajoling presidents, cabinet secretaries, and members of Congress to intervene to protect wilderness and the environment.

Justice Douglas’s protest hikes—ranging from the C & O Canal in Washington, DC to a beach on the Pacific coast—launched a behind-the-scenes effort to directly influence local and national decisionmakers.  As the author of more than 50 books and hundreds of articles, Justice Douglas saw his role as a “public teacher.”  On the Court, he was a champion dissenter, ultimately concluding that he was “ready to bend the law in favor of the environment and against the corporations.”  His most famous conservation dissent came in Sierra Club v. Morton, where he promoted the idea that trees have standing.

Judge McKeown, who is writing a book on Justice Douglas’s environmental legacy, will explore the politics and ethics of advocacy by a Supreme Court Justice.

About Judge McKeown

Judge M. Margaret McKeown has been a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for more than twenty years.  She is jurist-in-residence at the University of San Diego Law School and has taught at Northwestern and Georgetown law schools.  Recent articles related to Justice Douglas include “The Trees are Still Standing:  The Backstory of Sierra Club v. Morton,” published in the Journal of Supreme Court History, and an article highlighting the 60th anniversary of Justice Douglas’s protest hike on the Pacific Coast.  She is also widely published on other subjects, such as constitutional law, ethics, and intellectual property.

Judge McKeown is the recipient of many awards, including the ABA John Marshall Award, the ABA Margaret Brent Women of Achievement Award, and the Girl Scouts Cool Woman Award.  A graduate of Georgetown Law School, Judge McKeown also hold an honorary doctorate from Georgetown.  A Wyoming native, she is an avid hiker and was a member of the first American mountain climbing expedition to Mt. Shishapangma in Tibet.




Event Sponsor: 
The Bill Lane Center for the American West
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