Elmer Jacob Schnackenberg

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Elmer Jacob Schnackenberg (August 22, 1889 – September 15, 1968) was a United States federal judge.

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Schnackenberg attended local public schools before moving to Chicago, Illinois. There he worked as a stenographer and taught school for two years. He received an LL.B. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1912 and began a private law practice in Chicago from 1912 to 1945. He represented the South Park Commissioners of Chicago from 1925 to 1930.

He ran successfully for the Illinois House of Representatives as a Progressive candidate from Cook County in 1912, but he lost re-election two years later. Elected to the House as a Republican in 1922, he served eleven consecutive terms and was named Speaker of the House for the 1941 and 1943 sessions. While in the post, Schnackenberg earned a reputation for fairness and impartiality. He repeatedly declined offers to run for mayor of Chicago, state's attorney, governor of Illinois, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1945 and 1951, Schnackenberg was elected as a judge on the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois and served until 1954. On November 17, 1953, Schnackenberg received a recess appointment from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit vacated by Otto Kerner, Sr.. Formally nominated on January 11, 1954, Schnackenberg was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 9, 1954, and received his commission the same day.

Schnackenberg was a key judge in re-apportioning state Senate districts in 1965 to conform with the U.S Supreme Court's decision in Baker v. Carr. He also declared a guilty verdict in the 1965 Sam Giancana organized crime case despite receiving death threats, and he issued a restraining order on the Chicago Police Department after they interfered with reporters during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Schnackenberg still sat on the bench when he died on September 15, 1968, at age 79.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Otto Kerner, Sr.
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Succeeded by
John Paul Stevens