Arnold Wilson Cowen

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Arnold Wilson Cowen
Born (1905-12-20)December 20, 1905
Norse, Bosque County, Texas, United States
Died October 28, 2007(2007-10-28) (aged 101)
Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
Occupation Judge

Arnold Wilson Cowen (December 20, 1905 – October 28, 2007), also known as "Wilson Cowen", was successively a trial commissioner, a trial judge, and the chief judge of the appellate division of the United States Court of Claims. Subsequently, he became a senior circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Wilson Cowen was born in Norse, not far from Clifton, in Bosque County, Texas. He excelled in high school and won a scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin. In 1928 he received his LL.B. from the University of Texas School of Law. He was in private practice of law in Dalhart, Texas from 1928 to 1934. He won election as a county judge of Dallam County, Texas, as a Democrat in 1934. Dallam County was hard hit by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, and Cowen found himself involved in federal programs to ameliorate conditions in the region. He was appointed in 1938 to the Farm Security Administration and served with in several roles until 1942.

He became a trial commissioner at the Court of Claims in 1942, but took a leave of absence the following year to serve as Assistant War Food Administrator. He was a Special assistant to the U.S. secretary agriculture in 1945. He returned to the Court in 1945, and was appointed chief trial commissioner in 1959. President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated him in 1964 to take the place of Chief Judge Marvin Jones, who was retiring. He assumed the status of senior judge in 1977, and became a senior circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit by operation of the Federal Courts Improvement Act in 1982. He retired from active service in 1997.

Judge Cowen was interviewed to describe his experiences of the Dust Bowl for the television series The American Experience in a documentary entitled "Surviving the Dust Bowl", which aired in 1998.

He died in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Bibliography and references[edit]

  • The United States Court of Claims : a history / pt. 1. The judges, 1855-1976 / by Marion T. Bennett / pt. 2. Origin, development, jurisdiction, 1855-1978 / W. Cowen, P. Nichols, M.T. Bennett. Washington, D.C.: Committee on the Bicentennial of Independence and the Constitution of the Judicial Conference of the United States. 1976. 
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: A History: 1990–2002 / compiled by members of the Advisory Council to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in celebration of the court's twentieth anniversary. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 2004. 
  • Surviving the Dustbowl, at PBS's website, accessed on 3/12/2007.
  • "The American Experience" Surviving the Dust Bowl (1998) at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]