Robert Wodrow Archbald

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Robert W. Archbald)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Robert Wodrow Archbald
Robert W. Archbald cph.3a03594.jpg
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
In office
January 31, 1911 – January 13, 1913
Appointed byWilliam Howard Taft
Preceded bySeat established by 36 Stat. 539
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Judge of the United States Circuit Courts for the Third Circuit
In office
January 31, 1911 – December 31, 1911
Appointed byWilliam Howard Taft
Preceded bySeat established by 36 Stat. 539
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Judge of the United States Commerce Court
In office
January 31, 1911 – January 13, 1913
Appointed byWilliam Howard Taft
Preceded bySeat established by 36 Stat. 539
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
In office
March 29, 1901 – February 1, 1911
Appointed byWilliam McKinley (recess)
Theodore Roosevelt (commission)
Preceded bySeat established by 31 Stat. 880
Succeeded byCharles B. Witmer
Personal details
Born
Robert Wodrow Archbald

(1848-09-10)September 10, 1848
Carbondale, Pennsylvania
DiedAugust 19, 1926(1926-08-19) (aged 77)
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
EducationYale University (A.B.)
read law

Robert Wodrow Archbald (September 10, 1848 – August 19, 1926) was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Commerce Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the United States Circuit Courts for the Third Circuit and previously was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. He was the ninth federal official on whom Articles of Impeachment were served, and only the third to be convicted and removed from office.

Education and career[edit]

Born in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, of James Archbald and Sarah Augusta Frothingham Archbald (born 1805), Archbald attended Yale University, graduating with an Artium Baccalaureus degree in 1871. He read law in 1873, and was admitted to the bar, entering private practice until 1884. That year, Archbald was appointed as a Judge of the Lackawanna County (45th Judicial District) Court of Common Pleas. In 1888, Archbald became President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Lackawanna County in 1888.[1]

Federal judge[edit]

Archbald received a recess appointment from President William McKinley on March 29, 1901, to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, to a new seat authorized by 31 Stat. 880. He was nominated to the same position by President Theodore Roosevelt on December 5, 1901. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 17, 1901, and received his commission the same day. His service terminated on February 1, 1911, due to his elevation to the Commerce Court and Third Circuit.[1]

Archbald was nominated by President William Howard Taft on December 12, 1910, to the United States Commerce Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the United States Circuit Courts for the Third Circuit, to a new joint seat authorized by 36 Stat. 539. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on January 31, 1911, and received his commission the same day. On December 31, 1911, the Circuit Courts were abolished and he thereafter served on the Commerce Court and Court of Appeals. His service terminated on January 13, 1913, due to his impeachment, conviction and removal from office.[1]

Impeachment[edit]

After Wrisley Brown investigated charges that Judge Archbald bought coal lands at cheap prices for his personal benefit from railroads and real estate interests involved in litigation before his federal court, and also took a European trip in 1910 paid for by those frequent litigants, the House Judiciary Committee recommended to the United States House of Representatives that he be impeached. The railroads alleged to be shaken down included the Erie Railroad, Lehigh Railroad and the Reading Railroad.[2]

The United States House of Representatives voted to send 13 articles of impeachment against Archbald to the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 223 to 1 on July 13, 1912; only Scranton's U.S. Congressman, John R. Farr, who sat on the Committee, voted in Archbald's favor. Articles I, II, III and VI alleged that Archbald had entered into agreements with litigants at a substantial benefit to himself, Article IV alleged a wrongful communication with litigants, Articles V, VII, VIII, IX and X alleged that he had improperly solicited and accepted gifts from litigants, Article XI alleged he had improperly solicited and accepted gifts from attorneys, Article XII alleged he allowed corrupt practices during jury selection and Article XIII alleged a general charge of bringing the judiciary into disrepute.

On July 16, 1912, the Senate began Archbald's trial. Judge Archbald took the witness stand in his own defense on January 6, 1913, claiming that the gifts and favorable deals were the result of longstanding friendships, and his wife also testified for the defense. The Senate convicted him of five of the 13 articles on January 13, 1913.

The exact voting division on each article is as follows:

Article Yeas Nays Result
Article I 68 5 Convicted
Article II 46 25 Acquitted
Article III 60 11 Convicted
Article IV 52 20 Convicted
Article V 66 6 Convicted
Article VI 24 45 Acquitted
Article VII 29 36 Acquitted
Article VIII 22 42 Acquitted
Article IX 23 39 Acquitted
Article X 1 65 Acquitted
Article XI 11 51 Acquitted
Article XII 19 46 Acquitted
Article XIII 42 20 Convicted

Archbald was convicted on Articles I, III, IV, V and XIII and was accordingly removed from office (Article II gained a majority of votes, but not the two-thirds necessary under the U.S. Constitution to convict), and the Senate subsequently voted, by 39 to 35, to order that Archbald be forever disqualified from holding any office under the United States. Pennsylvania's two Republican Senators, Boies Penrose of Philadelphia, and George T. Oliver of Pittsburgh, had voted against impeachment and lifetime disqualification.[2]

Despite the outcome, Archbald continued to declare his innocence. "I have always known that I have done no wrong and the vote of no one makes it otherwise," he said before leaving for Scranton with his family. "Judge Archbald came as near being an ideal common pleas judge as one can hope to find," one judicial colleague said upon his death. Lawyers eulogized him as a "discriminating practitioner" whose influence "made a deeper impression than any other judge in the history" of Lackawanna County.[2]

Death[edit]

Archbald died on August 19, 1926, in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Robert Wodrow Archbald at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ a b c Leffler, Pete (September 18, 1998). "Pennsylvania Judge Took Walk Up Impeachment Hill: Robert Archbald's Financial Dealings Got Him Booted from Office". The Morning Call.

Sources[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 31 Stat. 880
Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
1901–1911
Succeeded by
Charles B. Witmer
Preceded by
Seat established by 36 Stat. 539
Judge of the United States Commerce Court
1911–1913
Succeeded by
Seat abolished
Preceded by
Seat established by 36 Stat. 539
Judge of the United States Circuit Courts for the Third Circuit
1911
Succeeded by
Seat abolished
Preceded by
Seat established by 36 Stat. 539
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
1911–1913
Succeeded by
Seat abolished