George Clifton Edwards, Jr.
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|George Clifton Edwards, Jr.|
|Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit|
January 15, 1985 – April 8, 1995
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit|
December 19, 1963 – January 15, 1985
|Nominated by||John F. Kennedy|
|Preceded by||Thomas Francis McAllister|
|Succeeded by||James L. Ryan|
|Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court|
August 6, 1914|
|Died||April 8, 1995
|Alma mater||Southern Methodist University
Detroit College of Law
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1943–1946|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
George Clifton Edwards, Jr. (August 6, 1914 – April 8, 1995) was an American justice of the Michigan Supreme Court from 1956 until 1962 and judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from 1963 to 1995.
Early education and career
Born in Dallas, Texas, Edwards received a B.A. from Southern Methodist University in 1933 and an M.A. from Harvard University in 1934. Edwards moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1936 and became a United Automobile Workers union organizer. In 1939, Edwards was appointed director-secretary of the Detroit Housing Commission by Mayor Edward Jeffries. He was elected to the Detroit Common Council in 1941 at the age of 25. He was in the United States Army during World War II, from 1943 to 1946, primarily stationed in the Philippines. He received a Certificate of Completion from Detroit College of Law in 1944, and a J.D. from the same institution in 1949. Upon return from army duty, Edwards began his law practice and also returned to the common council and was elected president of the council that year. In 1949, Edwards ran for Mayor of Detroit but lost to Albert Cobo in a racially charged election in which Edwards stood up for equal rights for blacks and the protection of individual civil rights. Edwards continued serving as President of the Detroit Common Council from 1946 to 1950, and was also Chairman of the Detroit Election Commission from 1946 to 1950.
In 1951, Gov. G. Mennen Williams appointed Edwards as probate judge of the Wayne County Juvenile Court. In 1954, he was elected to the Wayne County Circuit Court. In 1956, he was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court to fill a vacancy, and was subsequently elected to this court for two more terms, serving until 1961. Edwards resigned from the Michigan Supreme Court in 1962 when he was appointed Detroit Police Commissioner by Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, in hopes that he could help ease the racial troubles in the city.
Court of appeals
On September 9, 1963, Edwards was nominated by President John F. Kennedy to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit vacated by Thomas Francis McAllister. His confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate commenced the day before President Kennedy was assassinated. Edwards was renominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and was confirmed on December 16, 1963, over the objections of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover. Edwards received his commission on December 19, 1963. He served as Chief Judge from January 16, 1979 to September 30, 1983, assuming senior status on January 15, 1985. Edwards served in that capacity until his death, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Edwards wrote Pioneer at Law: A Legacy in Pursuit of Justice, a biography of his father, George C. Edwards, a lawyer and activist on behalf of labor unions, the poor, and African Americans, in Dallas, Texas, during the first half of the 20th century, and an autobiographical account of his own early life; it was published in 1974.
- George Clifton Edwards, Jr. at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- bio of Edwards
- Edwards 6th circuit page
- Pioneer At Law book review
- Bridging the river of Hatred: The Pioneering Efforts of Detroit Police Commissioner George Edwards
Thomas Francis McAllister
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
James L. Ryan