Robert James McNichols

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Robert James McNichols (April 19, 1922 – December 20, 1992) was a United States federal judge in Spokane, Washington.[1]

Born in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, McNichols was in the U.S. Army during World War II, from 1940 to 1941 and from 1943 to 1946. He attended Washington State College in Pullman and the Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane. Following his first year as a law student in 1949, he worked for the Spokane Stock Exchange as a quotation clerk,[2] and received an LL.B. from Gonzaga in 1952.

McNichols was a law clerk to state supreme court justice Edward Schaellenback in 1952. He was a deputy prosecuting attorney of Spokane County from 1953 to 1954,[3] and was in private practice in Spokane with the firm of Winston and Cashatt for 24 years, from 1955 to 1979.[4]

McNichols was a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. McNichols was nominated by President Jimmy Carter on November 6, 1979, to a new seat created earlier that year by 92 Stat. 1629.[5][6] He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 5 and received his commission on December 10, 1979, and was sworn in on January 4, 1980.[7] He was chief judge from 1980 to 1989, and assumed senior status in 1991 on April 20. He served in that capacity for twenty months, until his death from lung cancer in Spokane in late 1992.[1] He is buried in Idaho at the St. Thomas Cemetery in Coeur d'Alene.

His older brother Ray McNichols (1914–85) was also a federal judge, in Idaho.[8][9] During his investiture to the federal bench in January 1980, the elder swore the younger in.[7]


  1. ^ a b Morlin, Bill (December 22, 1992). "District Court Judge Robert McNichols dies". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. B1. 
  2. ^ "Exchange hires quotation clerk". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. July 11, 1949. p. 17. 
  3. ^ "Potratz quits as Evans' aide". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. December 20, 1952. p. 1. 
  4. ^ Levenson, Bob (November 30, 1979). "Confirmation expected". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Medill News Service. p. 13. 
  5. ^ Harrison, John (November 6, 1979). "McNichols named federal judge". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. p. 1. 
  6. ^ Harrison, John (November 7, 1979). "McNichols named judge". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. p. 48. 
  7. ^ a b Sallquist, Bill (January 5, 1980). "McNichols on federal bench". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. p. 3. 
  8. ^ "A tale of two judges, brothers under robes". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. July 11, 1981. p. 3. 
  9. ^ "Judge takes over case from brother who died". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. June 5, 1986. p. A12. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
new seat
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
Succeeded by
William Fremming Nielsen