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William Albert Norris (August 30, 1927 – January 21, 2017) was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

William Albert Norris
Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In office
July 7, 1994 – October 24, 1997
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In office
June 18, 1980 – July 7, 1994
Appointed byJimmy Carter
Preceded byWalter Raleigh Ely Jr.
Succeeded byWilliam A. Fletcher
Personal details
Born
William Albert Norris

(1927-08-30)August 30, 1927
Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania
DiedJanuary 21, 2017(2017-01-21) (aged 89)
Los Angeles, California
EducationPrinceton University (B.A.)
Stanford Law School (J.D.)

Norris was nominated by President Jimmy Carter on February 27, 1980, to a seat vacated by Walter Raleigh Ely, Jr.. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 18, 1980, and received commission the same day. Assumed senior status on July 7, 1994. Norris's service was terminated on October 24, 1997, due to retirement.

Contents

Education and careerEdit

Born in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, Norris served in the United States Navy from 1945 to 1947. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University in 1951. He received a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School in 1954. He was in private practice in Washington, D.C. from 1954 to 1955. He served as a law clerk for Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1955 to 1956. He returned to private practice in Los Angeles, California from 1956 to 1980.[1]

Federal judicial serviceEdit

Norris was nominated by President Jimmy Carter on February 27, 1980, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated by Judge Walter Raleigh Ely Jr. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 18, 1980, and received his commission on June 18, 1980. He assumed senior status on July 7, 1994.[1] His service terminated on October 24, 1997, due to retirement.[2]

Notable caseEdit

Norris was known for his 1989 concurring opinion in Watkins v. U.S. Army, a case challenging the Army's policy of refusing to allow openly gay members. Judge Norris' view in that case, that sexual orientation is a suspect classification deserving of heightened scrutiny under the Constitution's Equal Protection clause, did not carry the day, but it has proven influential in many state court and lower federal court opinions striking down bans on gay marriage in the 2000s and 2010s.

DeathEdit

Norris died on January 21, 2017 at his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California.[3]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b William Albert Norris at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ Armstrong, A.C.; Vitale, S.A.; Who's Who Historical Society (Calif.). Who's who in California. 13. Who's Who Historical Society. ISSN 0511-8948. Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  3. ^ "Federal judge who wrote landmark 1988 gay rights decision dies at 89" Portland Press Herald, January 27, 2017
Legal offices
Preceded by
Walter Raleigh Ely Jr.
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
1980–1994
Succeeded by
William A. Fletcher