Michigan State University

April 15, 2002 : Byron Ramond "Whizzer" White Dies, Supreme Court Justice and Detroit Lion

Jon Harrison

On April 15, 2002, Supreme Court Justice Byron Raymond "Whizzer" White died.  It's not every day that a Detroit Lion goes on to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice!

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 Pirates 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. 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, and the 4th longest in the 20th century..

Byron White wikipedia entry.



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