Carroll O. Switzer

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Carroll O. Switzer (May 23, 1908 – May 30, 1960) was an unsuccessful candidate for Iowa's governorship who later served as a state court judge and (briefly) as a United States federal judge.

Born in Pilot Mound, Iowa, Switzer received an LL.B. from Drake University in 1931. Following graduate work at Northwestern University, he entered private practice in 1932 in Des Moines, Iowa. He was an assistant city solicitor for Des Moines from 1936 to 1938. While serving as Polk County Attorney from 1946 to 1948,[1] he was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Iowa in 1948, losing in the general election to William S. Beardsley.

In early 1949, President Harry S. Truman announced his plan to nominate Switzer to fill a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa vacated by Charles A. Dewey. Although supported by the state Democratic Party chair, Switzer was not among the two choices suggested to Truman by Iowa's only Democratic U.S. Senator, Guy M. Gillette, and was opposed by bar associations in the District's largest counties.[2] Gillette, who considered Truman's nomination of Switzer a "personal affront," held up the nomination in the Senate until that body adjourned in 1949.[3] On October 21, 1949, Switzer received a recess appointment from President Truman,[3] and began to serve soon thereafter. Formally re-nominated on January 5, 1950, in the face of Gillette's continued opposition, Switzer was not confirmed by the Senate. When the Senate unanimously rejected Switzer's appointment on August 9, 1950, Switzer continued to serve but without pay.[4] Truman then nominated William F. Riley, one of the two candidates on Gillette's original list. Riley was easily confirmed by a lame-duck Democratic Senate, and sworn in as 1950 ended.

In 1957, Iowa Governor Herschel Loveless appointed him to the state district court bench in Des Moines.[1] He was elected to that position the following year. While preparing to preside as chairman of the 1960 Democratic State Convention in Des Moines, Switzer was hospitalized after suffering from chest pains. While hospitalized, he suffered a fatal heart attack.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Riley Sworn In As New Federal Judge," Council Bluffs Nonpariel, 1950-12-30 at p. 9.
  2. ^ "Compromise is Suggested in Iowa Judgship," and "Republican Dominated County Bar Set to Adopt Resolution Opposing Switzer for Judge," Davenport Democrat and Leader, 1949-06-16, p.2.
  3. ^ a b "Switzer Appointed," Postville Herald, 1949-11-02 p.1.
  4. ^ "Truman May Name Switzer Successor Next January," Burlington Hawk-Eye, 1950-11-22 at p.1.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles Almon Dewey
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa
Succeeded by
William F. Riley