John F. Davis
|John F. Davis|
July 11, 1907|
|Died||July 18, 2000(aged 93)|
|Alma mater||Harvard Law School|
|Occupation||Lawyer, law professor|
|Employer||Securities and Exchange Commission, United States Department of the Interior, United States Coast Guard, Supreme Court of the United States, Georgetown University, University of Maryland School of Law.|
|Known for||Defence attorney of Alger Hiss|
|Term||Clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States|
|Predecessor||James R. Browning|
|Successor||E. Robert Seaver|
|Spouse(s)||Valre (?-1978), Jane Mason Davis|
Prior to World War II, Davis spent several years as a government attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Department of the Interior. During the war, he worked as counsel for the United States Coast Guard.
As a lawyer
Following World War II, Davis spent several years as a lawyer in private practice in Washington, D.C.. He is best remembered as one of the defense attorneys who represented accused Soviet espionage agent Alger Hiss before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1948 and at Hiss's two 1949-50 trials for perjury in the Southern District of New York.
During the 1950s, as an assistant Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice, Davis argued more than 50 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including the government's antitrust case against the DuPont Company.
As Clerk of the Supreme Court
In 1961, Davis was appointed Clerk of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren, succeeding James R. Browning, who had been appointed to a federal judgeship by President Kennedy. As Clerk, Davis was responsible for maintaining the Court's docket and files. He also administered the oath of office to several new Justices, including Thurgood Marshall, the Court's first African American member, and Chief Justice Warren E. Burger.
Davis served as Clerk of the Supreme Court until 1970, when he returned to private practice in Washington, also serving during the 1970s as a Special Master for the Supreme Court in two cases within the Court's original jurisdiction and co-authoring a law review article on the precedential effect of Supreme Court opinions approved by only a plurality (as opposed to a majority) of the Justices.
As a law professor
Davis died in 2000 leaving his survivors: Jane Mason Davis, son Marcus and daughter Susan, stepchildren Clint and Timothy Keeney Jr., five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
- "Recent Passings - John F. Davis". Bates Magazine. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- Statement on Davis's retirement as Clerk by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, 398 U.S. vii (1970).
- Oscar H. Davis et al., "Tributes to Professor John F. Davis", 47 Md. L. Rev. 613 (Spring 1988).