Spottswood William Robinson III
|Spottswood William Robinson III|
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit|
October 20, 1966 – September 1, 1989
|Nominated by||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Preceded by||George Thomas Washington|
|Succeeded by||Arthur Raymond Randolph|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia|
July 2, 1964 – November 8, 1966
|Nominated by||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Preceded by||James Ward Morris|
|Succeeded by||Gerhard Gesell|
July 26, 1916|
October 11, 1998 (aged 82)|
|Cause of death||heart failure|
Nina Robinson Govan|
Spottswood W. Robinson IV
|Parents||Spottswood William Robinson II|
Virginia Union University|
Howard University School of Law (1939)
|Known for||civil rights litigation|
In the early 1950s, Robinson and his law-partner Oliver Hill litigated several civil rights lawsuits in Virginia. In 1951, Robinson and Hill took up the cause of the African-American students at the segregated R.R. Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia who had walked out of their dilapidated school. The subsequent lawsuit, Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, was consolidated with four other cases decided under Brown v. Board of Education by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954. In his arguments before the Court, Robinson made the first argument on behalf of the plaintiffs.
In 1966, Robinson was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the first African-American so appointed and, later, became the first African-American to serve as chief judge of the District of Columbia Circuit.
Early life and education
Robinson was born in Richmond, Virginia, on 26 July 1916, the son of Spottswood William Robinson II [1893-1954], a lawyer, and Inez Irene Clements [1893-1994], a homemaker. He received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Union University. In 1939, he received his law degree from Howard University, graduating first in his class and achieving the highest scholastic average in the history of the Howard University Law School.
He was a faculty member of the Howard University School of Law from his graduation in 1939 until 1947, and was one of the core attorneys of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) from 1948 to 1960. Through the NAACP Legal Defense Fund he worked on cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, which ended segregation in public schools, and Chance v. Lambeth, which invalidated carrier-enforced racial segregation in interstate transportation.
Robinson was named dean of the Howard University School of Law in 1960, remaining in that position through 1963. He also served as a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights from 1961 to 1963. In 1964, he became the first African-American to be appointed the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
In 1966, Robinson became the first African-American on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, when he was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson. His opinion in Canterbury v. Spence (1972) is credited with requiring medical doctors to secure informed consent and as the beginning of a more litigious medical culture. On May 7, 1981, he became the first African-American to serve as chief judge of the District of Columbia Circuit Court. Robinson took senior status in 1989 and later retired.
- U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, 1961–1963
- Howard University School of Law, professor/dean, 1960–1963
- NAACP, southeast regional counsel, 1951–1960
- Virginia NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, counsel/representative, 1948–1950
- Richmond, Virginia, private practice, 1943–1960
- Howard University School of Law, faculty, 1939–1948
- "Brown@50: Fulfilling the Promise". Howard University School of Law. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- "Brown vs. Board of Education: "The Case of the Century."" (PDF).
- Pace, Eric (13 October 1998). "Spottswood W. Robinson 3d, Civil Rights Lawyer, Dies at 82". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
Spottswood W. Robinson 3d, a Virginia civil rights lawyer who argued one of the five cases that led to the Supreme Court's 1954 desegregation ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, died on Sunday at his home in Richmond. He was 82.
- "Fighter for Civil Rights. Spottswood William Robinson 3d". New York Times. 1961. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
The highest scholastic average in the history of the Howard University Law School is held by Spottswood William Robinson 3d. 'Intellectual' is the word people use to describe him.
- "Judge Spottswood W. Robinson III". Brown University. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
- Roberts, Sam (17 May 2017). "Jerry Canterbury, Whose Paralysis Led to Informed Consent Laws, Is Dead at 78". The New York Times. p. B5. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
James Ward Morris
| Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
George Thomas Washington
| Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Arthur Raymond Randolph