Glen Morgan Williams

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Glen Morgan Williams (February 17, 1920 – November 4, 2012) was a United States federal judge.

Born in Jonesville, Virginia, Williams received an A.B. from Milligan College in 1940, and enrolled in the fall of 1941 at the University of Virginia School of Law. After the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the United States Navy, having never seen the ocean. During his officer training, he was a roommate of Herman Wouk, who told of their experiences in the opening chapter of The Caine Mutiny. Williams was a Lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II, from 1942 to 1946. After his discharge, he returned to law school and received a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1948. Before his graduation, he was elected Commonwealth's attorney of Lee County, Virginia in 1948, and served in that position until 1952. He was in private practice in Jonesville, Virginia from 1952 to 1976. He was a member of the Virginia State Senate from 1953 to 1955.

Williams was a part-time United States Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, 1963-1975.

In 1964, Williams ran as the Republican nominee for Congress in Virginia's Ninth District but lost to the incumbent, W. Pat Jennings.

Williams was a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Williams was nominated by President Gerald Ford on September 8, 1976, to a seat vacated by Ted Dalton, after Senator William L. Scott derailed the nomination of the President's first choice.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 17, 1976, and received his commission the same day. He assumed senior status on November 21, 1988. Judge Williams' former law clerks include Cynthia D. Kinser, the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia; George Allen, who served as Governor of Virginia and a member of the United States Senate; Karen Gould, the first woman to serve as Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar; Virginia Circuit Court judges Randall Lowe and John Kilgore; United State Magistrate Judge Cynthia Eddy of the Western District of Pennsylvania; United States Bankruptcy Judge Trish Brown of the District of Oregon.

Judge Williams' most famous cases involved the coal mining industry. He wrote an opinion addressing the constitutionality of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. The Supreme Court agreed in part and disagreed in part with his conclusions.[2] He dealt with the civil disobedience of the United Mine Workers of America in connection with the Pittston Coal strike in 1989-1990.[3] He enjoined the members of the Bituminous Coal Operators Association to pay more for the health care of 100,000 retired and disabled miners, in a case that led to the passage of the Coal Act, 26 U.S.C. 9701, et seq.[4]

Williams retired from the bench in February 2010. He donated his papers to the Appalachian School of Law.[5]

He died November 4, 2012 at the age of 92.[6]


  1. ^ Goldman, Sheldon (1997). Picking Federal Judges: Lower Court Selection from Roosevelt through Reagan. Yale University Press (accessed via Google Books). ISBN 0-300-08073-5. 
  2. ^ Hodel v. Virginia Surface Mining, 452 U.S. 264 (1981).
  3. ^ Clark v. International Union, United Mine Workers of America, 714 F. Supp. 791 (W.D. Va. 1989).
  4. ^ McGlothlin v. Connors, 142 F.R.D. 626 (W.D. Va. 1992), cited by the Supreme Court in Barnhart v. Sigmon Coal Co., 534 U.S. 438 (2002).
  5. ^ "Williams honored at reception". Appalachian School of Law. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Glen M. Williams". Johnson City Press. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 

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