Born July 6, 1898, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, William P. Murphy graduated from Cathedral High School (St. Cloud) in 1915. Murphy attended St. Thomas College (now the University of St. Thomas) and went on to earn a law degree from St. Paul College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law).
In 1922 Murphy returned to Saint Cloud where he practiced law until he was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1939, a position he held until 1951. Murphy returned to private practice briefly before being appointed Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1955 by Governor Orville L. Freeman. He was subsequently elected and continued on the Court until his retirement in 1972.
Justice Murphy issued 419 majority opinions, three concurring opinions, and 21 dissents during his time on the Court.
Justice Murphy died on April 22, 1986, in Hastings, Minnesota.
You may learn more about Justice Murphy’s jurisprudence from his opinions, available in print and electronically from our library and though Google Scholar. You may learn more details about his life from the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society's book: Testimony: Remembering Minnesota's Supreme Court Justices, which is the source of this brief biography.