Walter Smith Cox

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Walter Smith Cox (October 25, 1826 – June 25, 1902) was a United States federal judge.

Born in Georgetown, District of Columbia, Cox received a B.A. from Georgetown College in 1843, an M.A. from the same institution in 1844, and a B.L. from Harvard Law School in 1847. He was in private practice in Washington, D.C., from 1848 to 1879, and during that period was also a recorder for the City of Georgetown, an Alderman for the City of Georgetown, and an auditor of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. From 1874 to 1879, he was a professor of law at what was then called Columbian University, known today as The George Washington University, in Washington, D.C..

On February 26, 1879, Cox was nominated by President Rutherford B. Hayes to a new seat on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia created by 20 Stat. 320. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 1, 1879, and received his commission the same day. During his service, he presided over the trial of Charles J. Guiteau, the assassin of President James A. Garfield. Cox retired from the federal bench on July 1, 1899, and returned to his previous teaching position. He served as the first Dean of The George Washington University Law School until his death, in Washington, D.C., nearly three years later.


Legal offices
Preceded by
new seat
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Succeeded by
Job Barnard