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Bruce J. Terris


1933 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Bruce J. Terris Obituary
Bruce J Terris

Washington, DC

Bruce J. Terris, 83, died on February 3, 2017, at his home in Washington DC. Mr. Terris was born in Detroit, MI, on August 3, 1933, the son of Charles Terris, M.D. and Ruth Terris, both deceased. He was the husband of native Memphian Sally Gillespie.

Mr. Terris graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1954 and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1957. He joined the Justice Department in 1958, working in the Solicitor General's office, where he argued 16 cases before the Supreme Court, including the landmark Wesberry v. Cox ("One Man, One Vote"). He was proud to have prepared Attorney General Robert Kennedy for his only Supreme Court appearance.

After leaving the Solicitor General's office, Mr. Terris was co-chairman of the Conference on Law and Poverty, which resulted in the later formation of the Legal Services Corporation providing legal services to the poor throughout the country.

In 1968, he co-founded the Center for Law and Social Policy, one of the first public-interest law firms in the country.

In 1971, Mr. Terris formed the Law Offices of Bruce J. Terris, later to become Terris Pravlik & Millian (TPM). From his sickbed, he was practicing law at TPM until a few days before his death. One week after his death, the Ninth Circuit Appellate Court cited two of Mr. Terris' victories in the Supreme Court, Abel v. United States and Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw, as precedent in its decision to reject President Trump's travel ban on Muslims.

Mr. Terris is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years and his four children and ten grandchildren. Services have previously been held.
Published in The Commercial Appeal on Feb. 19, 2017
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