Hugo LaFayette Black (February 27, 1886 September 25, 1971) was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1937 - 1971). He is noted for his advocacy of a "literal" reading of the United States Constitution, and for his advocacy of the position that the guarantees of liberties in the U.S. Bill of Rights were imposed on the states via their incorporation in the Fourteenth Amendment. His jurisprudence has been the focus of much discussion. Because of his insistence on a strict textual analysis of Constitutional issues, as opposed to the process-oriented jurisprudence of many of his colleagues, it is difficult to characterize Black as a "liberal" or a "conservative" as those terms are generally understood. Yet his theory of "incorporation" often translated into support for strengthening civil liberties. In the 1920's, Black (like Chief Justice Edward Douglass White) was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and in 1921 he defended Klansmen accused of the murder of priest James Coyle. However, he later publicly disavowed the Klan, and his record on the Supreme Court bench contained some indications of support for the Civil Rights Movement..
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