1906 – Born on April 25th in Newark, New Jersey. William Joseph Brennan Jr. was the first Roman Catholic appointed to the Supreme Court.
1928 – Brennan received his early education in Newark public schools, and attended the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his bachelor of science degree, cum laude.
– He earned a scholarship to Harvard University Law School, where he studied under Felix Frankfurter, who would later be his colleague on the Supreme Court.
1931 – Brennan graduated near the top of his class.
1932 – He began his legal career with the Newark law firm of Pitney, Hardin, and Skinner.
– Brennan served in the U.S. Army and eventually became the labor branch chief, Civilian Personnel Division of Army Ordnance. He rose to the rank of colonel and was awarded the Legion of Merit for services to the Army and Army Air Forces procurement programs.
1949 – He was tapped by New Jersey’s Republican governor to serve on the state’s superior court.
1952 – He was appointed to the New Jersey Supreme Court, and took his seat on March 24th.
1956 – President Eisenhower appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he took an active role in the ‘liberal’ decisions it handed down under the chief justiceship of Earl Warren.
1990 – Brennan retired from the Court in July, after 34 years as an associate justice.
1995 – As a tribute to Brennan’s legacy, a number of former law clerks, along with family and friends created the Brennan Center. The center, which is housed at New York University’s School of Law, pursues an ambitious agenda of litigation, teaching, research, and advocacy in public policy areas, including democracy, poverty, and criminal justice.
1997 – Died on July 24th in Arlington, Virginia, at the age of 91.