View Header


Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release March 4, 1999


Justice Blackmun was one of the greatest Jurist of our century. Justice Blackmun's story was really the American story; he came from a small town, but rose up to become a giant in American history. When he came to the Supreme Court he was unknown to most Americans; he was President Nixon's third choice for the job.

But in his twenty-four years on the court, he was a towering defender of individual rights. He ensured that even in the mightiest of decisions, the court never lost sight of its impact on people and, of course, he is best known as the author of Roe V. Wade, a decision he described as an indispensable part of our effort to ensure that women are treated equally and fairly in our society.

It was a decision of such strength and power that it has survived two decades of criticism and assault, and now stands as a bedrock of constitutional law. We are better off because of it, and we are better off because of the leadership and service of Justice Blackmun.