Monday, October 29, 2007

Two other interesting W.D. Va. judges

I wrote the Wikipedia pages on Judges Dobie and Barksdale.

And, they are as interesting as the rest.

Judge Dobie got the District Court position because FDR owed him a favor, plus he wanted to put up someone so well-qualified that Virginia's Senators Glass and Byrd wouldn't have the nerve to oppose him. Dobie gave a speech at the 1940 convocation at William & Mary, about which the Flat Hat records: "Typical of Judge Dobie's address was the manner in which he brought it to a close. He said that as Lady Godiva had said as she was nearing the end of her famous bareback ride, 'I am nearing my close,' that he too was ending his talk." When Dobie went on the Fourth Circuit, the Court consisted of the three judges, Dobie, John J. Parker, and Morris Soper, whose decisions in desegregation cases belied their backgrounds. Dobie was the son of a Norfolk school official, but he joined in when the Court held that the Norfolk schools could not pay less to black teachers.

Judge Barksdale won a Distinguished Service Cross in France. The VMI website has a picture of him in uniform. As the New York Times reported, at the 100th anniversary of the University of Virginia in 1921, Barksdale was part of the ceremony, presenting a plaque with the names of 80 U.Va. men who had died in World War I. Thereafter, he became a Byrd man during a short term in the General Assembly. Barksdale held the Circuit Court position previously held by his father. After Dobie went on the Fourth Circuit, Roosevelt put Barksdale on the District Court, with the approval of Glass and Byrd.

No comments: