Walter Nixon

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Walter Nixon
Walter Nixon in the 1990s
Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
In office
September 24, 1982 – November 3, 1989
Preceded by Dan M. Russell Jr.
Succeeded by William H. Barbour Jr.
Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
In office
June 7, 1968 – November 3, 1989
Nominated by Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by seat created (80 Stat. 75)
Succeeded by Charles W. Pickering
Personal details
Born Walter Louis Nixon Jr.
1928 (age 89–90)
Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S.
Alma mater Tulane University (LL.B.)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1953–1955
Unit J.A.G. Corps

Walter Louis Nixon Jr. (born 1928) is a former United States federal judge who in 1989 was impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office by the Senate.[1] Because Nixon's impeachment was for perjury, the case was cited as a precedent in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.[2][not in citation given][3] Despite his surname, Walter Nixon has no relation to the 37th U.S. President Richard Nixon.


Early life[edit]

Nixon was born in Biloxi, Mississippi.[1] He attended Tulane University Law School, graduating in 1951 and went into private practice in his hometown of Biloxi. He also served in the United States Air Force from 1953 to 1955.[1]

On May 29, 1968, Nixon was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson to a new seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, created by 80 Stat. 75.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 6, 1968, and received his commission on June 7, 1968.[1] In 1982, due to his length of tenure, he became Chief Judge of the same District Court.[1]


Nixon was convicted in 1986 on perjury charges and sentenced to 5 years in prison. The offense stemmed from his grand jury testimony and statements to federal officers concerning his intervention in the state drug prosecution of Drew Fairchild, the son of Wiley Fairchild, a business partner of Nixon. Although the case was assigned to a state court, Wiley Fairchild had asked Nixon to help out by speaking to the prosecutor. Nixon did so, and the prosecutor, a long-time friend, dropped the case. When Nixon was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice, he denied any involvement whatsoever. Subsequently, a federal grand jury was empaneled and he again denied his involvement. He was convicted of making false statements to a grand jury.

Nixon refused to resign and continued to both hold the title of Federal Judge and collect his judicial salary in prison. In 1989, he was impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the Senate, for committing perjury before a grand jury. Upon his conviction by the Senate, he was officially removed from office and permanently banned from the federal judiciary.[4]

Nixon appealed his impeachment and removal to the United States Supreme Court. In Nixon v. United States, handed down in 1993, the Court rejected his appeal as a nonjusticiable political question.[5]

Life after prison[edit]

He was disbarred in 1990. The State Supreme Court ruled in May 1993 that he could be readmitted to the state bar after passing the exam. As of September 2007 he lives and practices law in Biloxi and[vague] in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

See also[edit]


Legal offices
Preceded by
new seat
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
Succeeded by
Charles W. Pickering