A. Cecil Snyder

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A. Cecil Snyder
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico
In office
Appointed byLuis Muñoz Marín
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico
In office
Appointed byFranklin D. Roosevelt
Personal details
BornAaron Cecil Snyder
(1907-09-14)September 14, 1907
Baltimore, Maryland
DiedJune 29, 1959(1959-06-29) (aged 51)
Alma mater

Aaron Cecil Snyder (September 14, 1907 – June 29, 1959) was an American lawyer who served as a prosecutor and judge in Puerto Rico.

Early life[edit]

Snyder was born in Baltimore, Maryland. After attending Baltimore City College and Johns Hopkins University as an undergraduate, he graduated from Harvard Law School in 1930.

Snyder practiced law briefly in New York City and Baltimore. In 1933, Maryland Senator Millard Tydings, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Territories, arranged for Snyder's appointment as United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. As U.S. Attorney, he prosecuted Puerto Rican independence activist Pedro Albizu Campos and defended then-Senate President Luis Muñoz Marín at U.S. Senate hearings on Muñoz's allegedly communist leanings.

Supreme Court of Puerto Rico[edit]

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Snyder as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. Snyder became the last non-Puerto Rican appointed to that court. As Associate Justice, he appeared before the United States House of Representatives' Committee on Public Lands in 1950 in support of a bill allowing Puerto Rico to draft a local constitution. The bill was passed, and Snyder contributed to the drafting and translation of the Constitution of Puerto Rico.

In 1953, Governor Luis Muñoz Marín, following a long-standing tradition of appointing the most senior Associate Justice as Chief Justice when a vacancy arose, appointed him Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, the first appointment that a Puerto Rican governor made to the court, addressing the nomination to "A. Cecilio Snyder". Snyder actually used the name "Cecilio" when sworn in as Chief Justice.


Four years later, in July 1957, after most of Puerto Rico's legal establishment had lost confidence in Snyder's leadership as Chief Justice, he resigned from the court effective September 15, 1957. He was succeeded as Chief Justice by Associate Justice Jaime Sifre Dávila. After his departure from the court, Snyder practiced law in San Juan, Puerto Rico until his death in 1959.

Preceded by
Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico
Succeeded by
Emilio Belaval Maldonado
Preceded by
Roberto H. Todd
Chief Justice of Puerto Rico
Succeeded by
Associate Justice Jaime Sifre Dávila

See also[edit]


  • La Justicia en sus Manos, by Luis Rafael Rivera, 2007, ISBN 1-57581-884-1