Hugo Lafayette Black (February 27, 1886-September 25, 1971) was an American politician and jurist. A member of the Democratic Party, Black represented the state of Alabama in the United States Senate from 1926 to 1937, and served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1937 to 1971. Widely regarded as one of the most influential Supreme Court justices in the 20th century, he was nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 63 to 13.
The second longest-serving justice in Supreme Court history, (after William O. Douglas) Black is noted for his advocacy of a literal reading of the United States Constitution and of the position that the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights were imposed on the states ("incorporated") by 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 in the United States. On the one hand, his literal reading of the Bill of Rights and his theory of incorporation often translated into support for strengthening civil rights and civil liberties. On the other hand, Black consistently opposed the doctrine of substantive due process and believed that there was no constitutionally-protected right to privacy.