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SideBar Podcast on The Legal Talk Network Welcomes Author and Judge Margaret McKeown

Judge Margaret McKeown

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Judge Margaret McKeown, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, is the recent author of "Citizen Justice: The Environmental Legacy of William O. Douglas".

Justice William O. Douglas was a powerful leader in forging the ambitious goals of today’s environmental movement and the spiritual heir to conservation pioneers such as Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir.”
— Author and Judge Margaret McKeown
MONTEREY/SANTA BARBARA, CA, UNITED STATES, April 18, 2023/ -- SideBar podcast on The Legal Talk Network welcomes federal judge and author M. Margaret McKeown to the program with a new episode Tuesday, April 18, 2023. McKeown has served almost twenty-five years as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. However, she has added “author” to her experience, recently publishing "Citizen Justice: The Environmental Legacy of William O. Douglas - Public Advocate and Conservation Champion".

According to Judge McKeown, “U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas was a giant in the legal world, often remembered for his four wives, as a potential vice-presidential nominee, as a target of impeachment proceedings, and for his tenure as the longest-serving justice from 1939 to 1975.”

Co-host Jackie Gardina noted, “What I did not realize prior to reading Judge McKeown's book was that one of Justice Douglas’ most enduring legacies was his advocacy for the environment. Many of the environmental protections he advocated are as important in current environmental policy discussions as they were decades ago.”

Judge McKeown recounts that in a manner that would likely be controversial today as well, “Douglas ran a one-man lobby shop from his chambers at the U.S. Supreme Court, lobbying politicians and policymakers.” He was also a prolific writer and public speaker on controversial topics, including topics that were before the Court or potential issues that the Court would be hearing, raising ethical questions, and even sparking two impeachment hearings during his long tenure as a Justice.

Cohost Mitchel Winick points out that two of the ethical questions regarding Douglas “have parallels to current questions being raised about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.” Both Justices reportedly received significant financial benefits from outside private interests while serving on the Court and both were questioned about failing to recuse themselves from cases in which there were potential claims of conflict of interest. “Although there are almost two decades between the end of Justice Douglas’ tenure and the start of Justice Thomas’ service on the Supreme Court, it is amazing that some of the same questions regarding the need for a Supreme Court Code of Ethics are being raised today,” said Winick.

Judge McKeown is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an affiliated scholar at the Center for the American West at Stanford University, and jurist-in-residence at the University of San Diego School of Law. As a former White House Fellow, she served as special assistant at the White House and as special assistant to the Secretary of the Interior. A Wyoming native, she serves on the board of Teton Science Schools and was a member of the first American expedition to Mt. Shishapangma in Tibet.

Judge McKeown graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and holds an honorary doctorate from Georgetown University. Before her appointment to the federal bench, she was the first woman partner at Perkins Coie in Seattle and Washington, D.C.

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