Julius Waties Waring

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Julius Waties Waring
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
In office
October 7, 1965 – January 11, 1968
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina
In office
February 15, 1952 – October 7, 1965
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina
In office
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byGeorge Bell Timmerman Sr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina
In office
January 23, 1942 – February 15, 1952
Appointed byFranklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byFrancis Kerschner Myers
Succeeded byAshton Hilliard Williams
Personal details
Born(1880-07-27)July 27, 1880
Charleston, South Carolina
DiedJanuary 11, 1968(1968-01-11) (aged 87)
New York City, New York
Resting placeMagnolia Cemetery
Charleston, South Carolina
EducationCollege of Charleston (A.B.)
read law

Julius Waties Waring (July 27, 1880 – January 11, 1968) was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina who played an important role in the early legal battles of the American Civil Rights Movement.

Education and career[edit]

Judge Waring lived at 61 Meeting Street from 1915 until being driven[citation needed] out of Charleston. While residing in the house (a former carriage house of the Branford-Horry House), crosses were burned near the house and a brick was thrown through a window.

Waring was born in Charleston, South Carolina,[1] to Edward Perry Waring and Anna Thomasine Waties.[citation needed] He graduated second in his class with an Artium Baccalaureus degree from the College of Charleston in 1900.[1] He married his first wife, Annie Gammel, in 1913. Their only daughter was Anne Waring Warren, who died without children. The couple moved into a house at 61 Meeting St. in 1915.[2] Waring read law in 1901 and passed the South Carolina bar exam in 1902.[1] He was in private practice of law in Charleston from 1902 to 1942 and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of South Carolina from 1914 to 1921.[1] He served as the city attorney for Charleston from 1933 to 1942, under Mayor Burnet R. Maybank.[2]. In 1938, he served as the campaign manager for Democratic Senator Ellison D. "Cotton Ed" Smith. Waring founded a law firm with D. A. Brockington.[2]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Waring was nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 18, 1941, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina vacated by Judge Francis Kerschner Myers.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on January 20, 1942, and received his commission on January 23, 1942.[1] He served as Chief Judge from 1948 to 1952.[1] As Chief Judge, Waring ended segregated seating in the courtroom and chose a black bailiff, John Fleming.[citation needed] He assumed senior status on February 15, 1952.[1] He was reassigned by operation of law to the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina on October 7, 1965, pursuant to 79 Stat. 951.[1] His service terminated on January 11, 1968, due to his death in New York City, New York.[1] He was buried in the Waring family plot at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston.[3]

Judicial philosophy and move to New York[edit]

Waring had been initially supported by the establishment of Charleston.[2] After divorcing his first wife and marrying the Northern socialite Elizabeth Avery, Judge Waring quickly transitioned from a racial moderate to a proponent of radical change.[4] Speaking at a Harlem church, he proclaimed: "The cancer of segregation will never be cured by the sedative of gradualism."[4] Political, editorial and social leaders in South Carolina criticized and shunned Judge Waring and his wife[5] to the point where, in 1952, he assumed senior status,[1] left Charleston altogether, and moved to New York City.

Isaac Woodard case[edit]

In 1946, Chief of Police Linwood Shull of Batesburg, South Carolina, and several other officers beat Isaac Woodard, a black man on his way home after serving over three years in the army, including repeatedly striking him in the eyes, blinding him. After it became clear that the state authorities of South Carolina would take no action against Shull, President Harry S. Truman himself initiated a case, brought to the federal level on the grounds that the beating had occurred at a bus stop on federal property, and that at the time of the assault, Woodard was in uniform.

The case was presided over by Waring, but by all accounts the trial was a travesty. The local United States Attorney charged with handling the case failed to interview anyone except the bus driver, a decision that Waring believed was a gross dereliction of duty. The behavior of the defense was no better. The defense attorney at one point told the jury that "if you rule against Shull, then let this South Carolina secede again",[6] and he later shouted racial epithets at Woodard. The jury found Shull not guilty on all charges.

The failure to convict Shull was perceived as a political failure on the part of the Truman administration and Waring would later write of his disgust of the way the case was handled commenting, "I was shocked by the hypocrisy of my government...in submitting that disgraceful case..."[7]

Further race-based cases[edit]

In several other cases he ruled in favor of those who had challenged racist practices of the time:

  • In Duvall v. School Board, he ruled that equal pay must be guaranteed for otherwise equally qualified school teachers, regardless of their race. That ruling was made from the bench, so there is no written opinion. However, Judge Waring referred to his earlier decision when he decided a related case in 1947, Thompson v. Gibbes, 60 F. Supp. 872 (E.D.S.C. 1947).[8]
  • In his 1946 ruling he held that "a Negro resident of South Carolina was entitled to the same opportunity and facilities afforded to white residents for obtaining a legal education by and in the state" and gave the state of South Carolina three options: that the University of South Carolina admit the plaintiff John H. Wrighten,[9] that the state open a black law school or that the white law school at USC be closed. His ruling was not novel, but merely in accordance with the United States Supreme Court's 1938 decision in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada. Rather than integrate the University of South Carolina or close it down, the South Carolina General Assembly] authorized the establishment of a law school at South Carolina State - South Carolina State University School of Law.
  • Judge Waring opened the all-white Democratic Primary in South Carolina with his rulings in Elmore v. Rice[10] and Brown v. Baskin.[11]

Briggs v. Elliott[edit]

In 1951 Waring was one of three judges to hear a school desegregation test case known as Briggs v. Elliott. Thurgood Marshall represented the plaintiffs against the Clarendon County, South Carolina public schools which were described as separate but not at all equal. Though the plaintiffs lost the case before the three judge panel which voted 2-1 for the defendants, Waring's eloquent dissent, and his phrase, "Segregation is per se inequality"[12] formed the legal foundation for the United States Supreme Court in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.


In October 2015, the Hollings Judicial Center in Charleston was renamed the J. Waties Waring Judicial Center.[13]

Rich Fulcher portrayed him in a second season episode of Comedy Central's Drunk History.[citation needed]

Further reading[edit]

  • Mays, Benjamin Elijah (2003). Born to Rebel: An Autobiography. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. p. 380. ISBN 0-8203252-3-6.
  • Yarborough, Tinsley E. (2001). A Passion for Justice: J. Waties Waring and Civil Rights. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 282. ISBN 0195147154.
  • Shoemaker, Don (1957). With All Deliberate Speed: Segregation-Desegregation in Southern Schools. New York: Harper and Brothers. p. 206. ALIBRIS: 9022539968 ISBN unknown.
  • Kluger, Richard (1975). Simple Justice: The history of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's struggle for equality. New York: Random House. p. 865. ISBN 1-4000-3061-7.
  • Unexampled Courage:The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of President Harry S. Truman and Judge J. Waties Waring. Gergel, Richard. Publisher Farrah, Straus and Giroux NY, NY. ISBN 9780374107895.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Julius Waties Waring at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ a b c d Rosen, Robert N. (April 10, 2014). "Judge J. Waties Waring: Charleston's inside agitator". Post & Courier. Charleston, South Carolina. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  3. ^ "Julius Waties Waring (1880-1968)". Find a Grave. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  4. ^ a b David Southern, "Beyond Jim Crow Liberalism: Judge Waring's Fight Against Segregation in South Carolina, 1942-52", Journal of Negro History 66:3 (Fall, 1981) 209-27.
  5. ^ Prior to April 15, 1949, divorce was not permitted in South Carolina for any reason, see S.C. Const. art. XVII, s. 3 (prior to 1949 amendment), and even after its legalization, remained socially unacceptable to many.
  6. ^ The Stan Iverson Memorial Library, Infoshop & Anarchist Archives Archived 2005-03-10 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ http://www.wvu.edu/~lawfac/jelkins/tkam/community4.html[dead link]
  8. ^ "Thompson v. Gibbes". Google Scholar. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  9. ^ "John H. Wrighten, 75, Black Legal Figure" (obituary), NY Times, October 5, 1996.
  10. ^ Elmore v. Rice 72 F. Supp. 516
  11. ^ Brown v. Baskin 78 F. Supp. 933
  12. ^ Briggs v. Elliott 98 F. Supp. 529
  13. ^ "Courthouse Renamed for Civil Rights Hero".


External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Francis Kerschner Myers
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Ashton Hilliard Williams
Preceded by
Office established
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina
Succeeded by
George Bell Timmerman Sr.