David M. Furches

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David Moffatt Furches (April 2, 1832, Davie County, North Carolina - June 7, 1908, Statesville, North Carolina)[1] was a North Carolina politician and jurist who served as an associate justice (1895–1901) and chief justice (1901–1903) of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Furches read law under Chief Justice Richmond M. Pearson and served in the state constitutional convention in 1865, representing Davie County. Furches practiced law in Davie and later Iredell County, North Carolina and became a prominent member of the North Carolina Republican Party. In 1875, he was appointed a state superior court judge, a position he held until 1879. He lost two races for the United States House of Representatives, one in 1872 and the other in 1880, and was his party's nominee for Governor of North Carolina in 1892, losing to Elias Carr. In 1894, Furches was elected to the state Supreme Court. In 1900 the justices, by a vote of four to one, declared unconstitutional important legislation enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly of 1899-1900, which was controlled by Democrats.[2] When Chief Justice William T. Faircloth died in December 1900, fellow Republican Gov. Daniel L. Russell appointed Furches to the post.

Impeachment[edit]

On February 18, 1901, the North Carolina House of Representatives (again controlled by Democrats) impeached Furches and Associate Justice Robert M. Douglas (who was also a Republican). The charges involved an obscure case in which the justices ordered the North Carolina State Treasurer to pay the salary of the state Shell Fish Inspector (a Republican), against the wishes of the General Assembly.[3][4] A majority of the North Carolina Senate voted to remove the justices, but not the two-thirds majority required. Among the lawyers defending Furches in the impeachment proceedings was former Gov. Thomas J. Jarvis, a Democrat.[5]

Furches lost in his bid for election as chief justice in 1902. As of 1906, he was a member of the state Republican Party's executive committee.[6]

Legal offices
Preceded by
William T. Faircloth
Chief Justice of North Carolina Supreme Court
1901 - 1903
Succeeded by
Walter Clark

References[edit]