Justice Byron White

On this date in 1993, Justice Byron White retired as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court. Born on June 8, 1917 in Fort Collins, Colorado, Byron White was raised near the town of Wellington, Colorado. After graduated the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1938, White won a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford. However, White, who was an All-American College football halfback (he was nicknamed “Whizzer” which was a nickname which he was stuck with throughout his life), deferred admission one year to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National Football League where he led the league in rushing in the 1938 season. After attending Oxford, White returned to the United States, White resumed his professional football career with the Detroit Lions whom he played for three seasons from 1940 to 1941. After the United States entry into World War II, White enlisted in the United States Navy where he served as an intellegence officer stationed in the Pacific Theatre. After the war, White attended Yale Law School where he graduated in 1946. White served for a year as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Vinson before entering private practice in Denver, Colorado. After 15 years in private practice, White assisted Senator John F. Kennedy in his successful election campaign of 1960 to become U.S. President. White then served as U.S. Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General Robert Kennedy from 1961 to 1962. In 1962, President Kennedy nominated Byron White to serve as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court for the seat vacated by Justice Charles Whittaker who resigned citing exhaustion. While on the high court, Justice White was known for his fairly conservative rulings in most area, especially in criminal procedure, but consistently ruled with liberal justices in the area of civil rights. After serving over 30 productive years on the Court, Justice White retired in 1993. After retirement, White moved back to Denver where continued to hear occassional cases on lower federal courts and served on the Commission on Structural Alternatives for the Federal Courts of Appeals. Justice Byron White died in Denver, Colorado on April 15, 2002 at age 84.