Paul Peek (politician)

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Paul Peek
Paul peek.jpg
Associate Justice of the
California Supreme Court
In office
December 2, 1962 – December 16, 1966
Preceded byThomas P. White
Succeeded byRaymond L. Sullivan
Presiding Justice of the
California Third District Court of Appeal
In office
October 1961 – December 2, 1962
Preceded byBenjamin F. Van Dyke
Succeeded byFred R. Pierce
Associate Justice of the
California Third District Court of Appeal
In office
January 4, 1943 – October 1961
Preceded byRaglan Tuttle
Succeeded byFred R. Pierce
21st California Secretary of State
In office
March 1, 1940 – January 4, 1943
GovernorCulbert Olson
Preceded byFrank C. Jordan
Succeeded byFrank M. Jordan
47th Speaker of the California State Assembly
In office
January 1939 – June 1939
Preceded byWilliam Moseley Jones
Succeeded byGordon Hickman Garland
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 71st district
In office
January 4, 1937 – March 1, 1940
Preceded byHarry B. Riley
Succeeded byFrederick N. Howser
Personal details
Born(1904-06-05)June 5, 1904
West Union, Iowa
DiedApril 7, 1987(1987-04-07) (aged 82)
Sacramento, California
Political partyDemocratic
Children2 (1 daughter, 1 son)
Residence(s)Long Beach and Sacramento, California

Paul Peek (June 5, 1904 – April 7, 1987) was an American attorney, Democratic politician and jurist. Peek practiced law in southern California prior to his election in 1936 to the California Assembly, where he served as Speaker during the 1939 session. He was appointed Secretary of State in 1940 and then to the Court of Appeal, in December 1942, where he served for 20 years. In 1962, Governor Pat Brown appointed Peek to the California Supreme Court. Justice Peek retired from the bench in 1966, but continued to work as a consulting attorney and teacher. He died in Sacramento.[1][2]


Early years[edit]

Born in West Union, Iowa, Peek moved to California at age 6. He attended Oregon State University and the University of Oregon before obtaining his legal education at Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles.

Peek was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1930. He practiced law in Long Beach and Los Angeles and was a member of the Long Beach Junior Chamber of Commerce (president, 1935) and the State Junior Chamber of Commerce (vice-president, 1936).[3]


In 1936, Peek was elected to the California State Assembly from the 71st district, in Los Angeles County, where he served until 1940.[4] (Speaker, 1939 session) He worked with Senator Culbert Olson to oppose legislation sponsored by the administration of Republican Governor Frank Merriam to treat oil on state lands in Long Beach and Huntington Beach in a manner favored by the oil industry. "It looks very much like we're turning the oil pool over to private interests lock, stock and barrel," Peek said.[5]

At the start of his second term in the State Assembly, the Democratic-majority State Assembly elected Peek as Speaker (replacing William Moseley Jones who hadn't sought reelection in 1938). Peek's candidacy was strongly supported by his friend and patron, Governor Culbert L. Olson. As Speaker, Peek promoted a variety of liberal policies to lessen the impact of the Depression on Californians. His close alliance with the Governor alienated a number of moderate and conservative Democrats, who allied themselves with Republicans to elect [Gordon Hickman Garland] as Speaker in 1940.

Peek was appointed Secretary of State by Democratic Governor Culbert L. Olson in 1940, after the death of the long-time Republican incumbent, Frank C. Jordan. He did not win the general election in 1942, when Republican Frank M. Jordan won back the office that his father had held.[6][7]

After Jordan won the 1942 election, Governor Olson appointed Peek to the California Court of Appeal's Third Appellate District in Sacramento.[8] He served as associate justice from January 1943 to October 1961 and as Presiding Justice from October 1961 to December 1962.

Peek was the author of the 1951 appellate decision overturning California's loyalty oath. According to the Daily Bruin, the Court ruled that The Regents' action to require faculty members to sign an affirmation of non-membership in any subversive organization was a violation of the State Constitution and "That the pledge is the highest loyalty that can be demonstrated by any citizen, and that the exacting of any other test of loyalty would be antithetical to our fundamental concept of freedom.... [any other decision would] approve that which from the beginning of our government has been denounced as the most effective means by which one special brand of political or economic philosophy can entrench and perpetuate itself to the eventual exclusion of all others . . ." Any "more inclusive" test of loyalty would be the "forerunner of tyranny and oppression," the document added.[9]

Peek was appointed Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court by Governor Pat Brown in 1962. He retired from the bench in 1966. After retiring from the Supreme Court, Peek practiced law in Sacramento, with the firm of Wilke & Fleury.[10]

Appointments, boards and memberships[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ State of California Courts official site, accessed 10/07/2006
  2. ^ Social Security Death Index Search, accessed 02/25/2006
  3. ^ a b c Regents of the University of California Biographies, accessed 10/07/2006.
  4. ^ California's State Capitol Museum, Legislative History, accessed 02/25/2006
  5. ^ US Department of the Interior, "Public Policy, Oil Production, and Energy Consumption in Twentieth-Century California", page 139, accessed 10/7/2006
  6. ^ Frank C. Jordan was Secretary of State from 01/01/1911 and his son, Frank M. Jordan held the office from 01/01/1943 until 04/03/1970--a run of 15 consecutive electoral victories for "Frank Jordan." Both died in office.
  7. ^ California Secretary of State, History of California State Office Holders, accessed 10/07/2006
  8. ^ "Peek Named to Appeals Court". San Bernardino Sun. No. 49. California Digital Newspaper Collection. Associated Press. 24 December 1942. p. 3. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  9. ^ Daily Bruin, University of California at Los Angeles student newspaper, Vol. 39, Winter-Spring 1951, Issue No. 41, Apr. 9, 1951, "Oath declared invalid: Decision reinstates instructor", accessed August 27, 2017.
  10. ^ Wilke & Fleury, "Looking Back with Sherman C. Wilke", accessed 02/25/2006, page has a 1999 copyright date: "... Wilke met Paul Peek, former Speaker of the Assembly, Secretary of State, Justice of the Third District Court of Appeal and Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, when both had sons in the Boy Scouts. Upon Peek's retirement from the court, he practiced with Wilke at Wilke & Fleury...."
  11. ^ UC Berkeley history site, accessed 10/07/2006
  12. ^ The Political Graveyard, accessed 10/07/2006

External links[edit]

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
December 2, 1962 – December 16, 1966
Succeeded by
Preceded by Presiding Justice of the California Court of Appeal
Third District

October 1961 – December 2, 1962
Succeeded by
Preceded by Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal
Third District

January 4, 1943 – October 1961
Political offices
Preceded by California Secretary of State
March 1, 1940 – January 4, 1943
Succeeded by
Preceded by Speaker of the California State Assembly
January 1939 – June 1939
Succeeded by
Preceded by California State Assemblyman
71st District

January 4, 1937 – March 1, 1940
Succeeded by