Charles E. Wiggins

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Charles E. Wiggins

Charles Edward Wiggins (December 3, 1927 – March 2, 2000) was a U.S. Representative from California, and later a United States federal judge. He was initially elected to California's 25th congressional district. The district was renumbered as California's 39th congressional district prior to the 1974 election.


Born in El Monte, California, Wiggins attended the public schools in El Monte. He was a First Lieutenant in the United States Army during World War II, from 1945 to 1948 and again from 1950 to 1952, thereafter receiving a B.S. from the University of Southern California in 1953 and an LL.B. from the University of Southern California Law School in 1956. He was a law clerk to Judge Swain of the Appellate Division, Los Angeles Superior Court. Wiggins then served as a member of the El Monte, California, Planning Commission from 1954 to 1960, entering private practice in El Monte in 1957. He was an El Monte Councilman from 1960 to 1964, and mayor of El Monte from 1964 to 1966.

Nixon Oval Office meeting with H.R. Haldeman "Smoking Gun" Conversation June 23, 1972 Full Transcript

Wiggins was elected as a Republican to the Ninetieth and to the five succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1979). He was a fierce defender of Richard M. Nixon until shortly before the latter's resignation from the Presidency; Wiggins dropped his support after the revelation of the so-called "Smoking Gun" tape.[1] Wiggins's advocacy for Nixon almost cost him reelection in 1974.[2] Re-elected in 1976, he was not a candidate for reelection to the Ninety-sixth Congress in 1978, instead returning to private practice in Los Angeles, California from 1979 to 1982, in Washington, D.C. from 1982 to 1984, and in San Francisco, California in 1984.

On August 1, 1984, Wiggins was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a new seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit created by 98 Stat. 333. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 3, 1984, and received his commission on October 11, 1984. Wiggins assumed senior status on December 31, 1996, serving in that capacity until his death.

Wiggins died on March 2, 2000, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


  1. ^ Pace, Eric (March 8, 2000). "Charles Wiggins, 72, Dies; Led Nixon's Defense in Hearings". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  2. ^ "Voters Turn Backs on Nixon Supporters". Milwaukee Journal. November 6, 1974. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ronald B. Cameron
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 25th congressional district

Succeeded by
Edward R. Roybal
Preceded by
Andrew J. Hinshaw
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 39th congressional district

Succeeded by
William E. Dannemeyer
Legal offices
Preceded by
New seat
Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
October 11, 1984 – March 2, 2000
Succeeded by
Carlos Bea

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website