Justice Byron White

How good of you to remind us of the contributions of Supreme Court Justice Byron White (“Restoring Balance to a Controversial Court,” editorial, March 20).

We especially appreciate your pointing out Justice White’s maturation from " . . . a smart, progressive liberal . . . " appointed by a Democratic President, " . . . siding with the Warren Court majority . . . " then adding:

“But as the years passed White moved sharply away from liberalism, strongly opposing abortion rights for women and a right of privacy for homosexuals, voting in support of voluntary prayer in public schools and against remedies for racial discrimination.”

In answer to your query, “Do the passing of time and shifts in public opinion inevitably recast moderates as conservatives?”


We are not so sure about the “shift in public opinion” causing the recantation of the moderate/liberal, but the normal, healthy course of maturation and enlightenment more often than not does bring about that very metamorphosis as it did in White.


Port Hueneme