Early life, education, and career
Born in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, Devitt graduated from St. John's College Preparatory High School in Collegeville, Minnesota in 1930, and attended St. John's University from 1930 to 1932 before receiving an LL.B. from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1935, and a B.S. from that institution in 1938. Devitt was in private practice in East Grand Forks, Minnesota from 1935 to 1939, serving at the same time as a municipal judge of the Minnesota Municipal Court in East Grand Forks. He was an assistant state attorney general of Minnesota from 1939 to 1942. He served in the United States Navy during World War II, as a Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander from 1942 to 1946.
Federal judicial service
Devitt returned to private practice in St. Paul from 1949 to 1950, and was a judge of the Minnesota Probate Court for Ramsey County from 1950 to 1954. On December 10, 1954, Devitt received a recess appointment from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota vacated by Matthew M. Joyce. Formally nominated on January 10, 1955, Devitt was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 4, 1955, and received his commission on February 7, 1955. He served as chief judge of the district from 1959 to 1981, assuming senior status on May 1, 1981. Devitt served in that capacity until his death, in St. Paul, in 1992, aged 80. The American Judicature Society has awarded the Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award each year since 1983 to an Article III judge. The first recipient was Albert Branson Maris.
- United States Congress. "Edward Devitt (id: D000280)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Edward Devitt at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- American Judicature Society awards page
|United States House of Representatives|
|U.S. Representative from Minnesota's 4th congressional district
1947 – 1949
Matthew M. Joyce
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota
Paul A. Magnuson