SAN FRANCISCO – Retired federal appeals court judge William Norris, who wrote a concurring opinion in 1988 calling the U.S. Army's ban on gay soldiers unconstitutional, died Saturday. He was 89.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced his death Friday. Norris served 17 years on the San Francisco-based court before retiring in 1997.
His concurring opinion in the Army case was one of more than 400 rulings Norris wrote while a judge. He also wrote the 1990 majority opinion overturning singer Wayne Newton's $5.2 million libel damage award against NBC. Norris concluded that the singer failed to prove NBC television journalists purposely lied when they reported Newton had ties to organized crime.
Norris earned an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and law degree from Stanford University.