Alfred P. Murrah

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Alfred P. Murrah
Born Alfred Paul Murrah
October 27, 1904 (1904-10-27)
Tishomingo, Oklahoma
Died October 30, 1975 (1975-10-31) (aged 71)
Nationality American
Other names Alfred Murrah
Occupation Judge, attorney
Known for Being the namesake of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building

Alfred Paul Murrah (October 27, 1904 – October 30, 1975) was an American attorney and judge, best known for being the namesake of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which was destroyed in the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, Murrah ran away from home at the age of 13, riding freight trains until he was dropped in the community of Tuttle, Oklahoma. A local family took him in and housed him, in exchange for labor on their farm. Murrah worked his way through high school and college, where he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. He earned his LL.B. from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1928.

Murrah was an extremely active member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Harlan Chapter, and served as the fraternity's Supreme Justice from 1962 to 1964.


U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Murrah to the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Northern District of Oklahoma, and Eastern District of Oklahoma, on February 8, 1937. Confirmed by the Senate on February 25, 1937, he received his commission on March 3, 1937, becoming at the age of 32 one of the youngest federal judges in history.

On August 5, 1940, Roosevelt nominated Murrah to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, to the seat vacated by Robert E. Lewis. Confirmed by the Senate on August 29, 1940, he received his commission on September 4, 1940. Murrah served on the court until his retirement in 1970 and was chief judge from 1959 to 1970. From 1969 to 1974, he directed the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C.

Chief Justice of the United States Warren Burger referred to Murrah as "one of the foremost figures in the American judiciary." He is noted for having pioneered the practices of pretrial conferences and of litigation panels with judges from multiple judicial districts.

Personal life[edit]

Murrah identified politically with the Democratic Party. A Methodist, Murrah taught Sunday School classes at Oklahoma City's Crown Heights Methodist Church, of which he was a major financial supporter. Murrah was also a Freemason.


  • Franks, Kenny Arthur; Bob Burke; Odie B. Faulk; Von Russell Creel (1996). American Jurist: The Life of Judge Alfred P. Murrah. Oklahoma Heritage Association. ISBN 978-0-86546-090-4. 

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