George M. Cochran

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George Moffett Cochran was born in Staunton, Virginia on April 20, 1912. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1934 from the University of Virginia, and his LL. B. degree in 1936 from the University of Virginia Law School. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1948 to 1965, and was in the Senate of Virginia in 1966—67. He was president of the Virginia Bar Association and a member of the Constitutional Revision Commission of Virginia in 1968-69. In August 1969, he was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals. He retired from active service on the Court in 1987, but continued to sit as a retired Justice for many years.. Justice Cochran was a member of Beta Theta Pi. At the University of Virginia, Justice Cochran was a member of the Z Society and resided on The Lawn. He died at his home in Staunton on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at the age of 98.[1] At the City Council meeting of March 24, 2011, the City Court building was named the George M. Cochran Judicial Center in honor and memory of Justice Cochran.[2]

Cochran advocated for keeping schools open during Virginia's "Massive Resistance," the legal campaign by U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. to prevent public school desegregation after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954. Historian Katharine Brown told The News Leader of Staunton, Virginia, "He was one of just a small handful of people that had the courage to buck the dominant opinion in Virginia of massive resistance....That took courage and was a remarkable thing that he did." [3]


  1. ^ Obituary: George Moffett Cochran Richmond Times Dispatch, January 24, 2011.
  2. ^ City Court Building Named the George M. Cochran Judicial Center Staunton, Virginia City Council press release, March 24, 2011.
  3. ^ Obituaries of Note George M. Cochran... Washington Post, January 27, 2011.

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