John Warren Davis

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J. Warren Davis
John Warren Davis.jpg
Davis as seen in Scannell's New Jersey First Citizens: Biographies and Portraits of the Notable Living Men and Women of New Jersey
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
In office
June 2, 1920 – November 24, 1939
Nominated by Woodrow Wilson
Preceded by Thomas Griffith Haight
Succeeded by Charles Alvin Jones
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
In office
May 15, 1916 – June 12, 1920
Nominated by Woodrow Wilson
Preceded by New Seat
Succeeded by Joseph Lamb Bodine
United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey
In office
1913–1916
Appointed by Woodrow Wilson
Preceded by John B. Vreeland
Succeeded by Charles F. Lynch
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the Salem County district
In office
1912–1913
Preceded by William Plummer, Jr.
Succeeded by Isaac S. Smick
Personal details
Born John Warren Davis
(1867-03-04)March 4, 1867
Elizabeth City, North Carolina, USA
Died February 21, 1945(1945-02-21) (aged 77)
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marguerite Noble Gay (1913–1945)
Children John Warren Jr., USMC, Robert M., USA[1] Mary Seagrave [2]
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania Law School
Occupation Judge, lawyer, politician
Profession Law

John Warren Davis (commonly known as J. Warren Davis) (March 4, 1867 – February 21, 1945) was a New Jersey politician and federal judge.

Early life and education[edit]

Davis was born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He attended Bucknell University, attaining a B.A. degree in 1896 at the unusual age of 29. He then earned a Baccalaureate in Divinity from Crozer Theological Seminary (1899), where he subsequently taught Hebrew and Greek for three years.[3]

After Crozer, Davis traveled, briefly studying at the Universities of Chicago and Leipzig.[3] Upon his return from Germany, Davis studied law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, receiving a degree in 1906.

Professional career and government service[edit]

After law school, Davis practiced law privately in Philadelphia and Camden. In 1911 he was elected to the New Jersey State Senate from Salem County, where he served less than one term. In the Senate Davis was aligned with then-Governor Woodrow Wilson.

In 1913 Wilson began his tenure as President of the United States. He appointed Davis as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey from 1913 to 1916.[4]

On May 6, 1916 Wilson nominated Davis to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Davis was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 15 and received his commission the same day.

On May 28, 1920, Wilson once again nominated Davis, this time to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated by Thomas Griffith Haight. Davis was confirmed and commissioned on June 2.

Scandal and indictment[edit]

In March 1939 Davis was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and defraud the United States, stemming from an allegation that he was bribed by the famous film producer William Fox.[1] Fox pleaded guilty on March 28, prompting Davis to step down from the bench two weeks thereafter.[1] Davis and a co-conspirator were tried twice by U.S. Attorney Francis Biddle, each trial resulting in a hung jury.[1]

Later life[edit]

In the late 1930s Davis served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of his alma mater Bucknell, in addition the Davis Gymnasium was named in his honour.[5]

Davis assumed senior status on April 15, 1939 in response to the Fox scandal[1] and retired on November 24, 1941. At the end of his life, Davis lived on his farm in Princess Anne County, Virginia.[1] He died on February 21, 1945.

Personal life[edit]

Davis married Marguerite Noble Gay on June 14, 1913, just two days after receiving his commission as United States Attorney.[6]

He was survived by two sons, John Warren Jr., USMC, and Robert M., USA[1] Judge Davis was predeceased by his daughter Mary, who died in childbirth in 1943.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g John W. Davis Sr., Retired U.S. Judge, Obituary, The New York Times, February 22, 1945, p. 25
  2. ^ a b Mrs. Roger S. Firestone; Daughter-in-Law of Late Rubber Manufacturer Dies Here at 28, The New York Times, December 2, 1943, p.27
  3. ^ a b Scannell's New Jersey First Citizens: Biographies and Portraits of the Notable Living Men and Women of New Jersey, p. 118
  4. ^ U.S. Attorney's Office District of New Jersey, A Rich History of Service
  5. ^ "Marts,Roberts & Davis". Bucknell University. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  6. ^ Senator Davis Marries. Flowers and Congratulation Sent from the White House, The New York Times, June 15, 1913

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Newly created seat
Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
May 15, 1916 – June 12, 1920
Succeeded by
Joseph Lamb Bodine
Preceded by
Thomas Griffith Haight
Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
June 2, 1920 – April 15, 1939
Succeeded by
Charles Alvin Jones