Judges

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Entries - Entry Category: Judges - Starting with M

Mansfield, William Walker

William Walker Mansfield was a lawyer, legislator, circuit judge, and associate justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. The Sebastian County town of Mansfield is believed to be named in his honor. William Walker Mansfield was born on January 16, 1830, in Scottsville, Kentucky, the son of Colonel George Washington Mansfield and Frances Cockrill Mansfield. Mansfield received a “common-school” education before studying law under Judge William V. Loving in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1852. A short time later, Mansfield corresponded with fellow Kentucky native and noted Arkansas politician and attorney David Walker in Fayetteville (Washington County) about possible opportunities in the legal field within the state. Despite Walker’s encouragement to consider a practice in …

Mays, Richard Leon

Richard Leon Mays was an early civil rights attorney during the struggles to integrate public facilities and end bias in Arkansas courts and law enforcement. He was in the first group of African Americans to be elected to the Arkansas General Assembly in the twentieth century and became the second African American to be a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Governor Bill Clinton appointed him to the court in 1979. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2016. Richard L. Mays was born on August 5, 1943, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the younger of two sons of Barnett G. Mays and Dorothy Mae Greenlee Mays. Although the family lived in an integrated neighborhood on …

McCulloch, Edgar Allen

Edgar Allen McCulloch was a lawyer in eastern Arkansas who achieved renown in a long career that included twenty-four years as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, nineteen of them as chief justice, and a critical span of six years as chairman or member of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where he established important law in the regulation of public utilities in the United States. At the FTC, he personally took on an extensive investigation of public-utility holding companies in America requested by Congress, which resulted in a raft of energy regulation laws during the New Deal. Edgar McCulloch was born in Trenton, Tennessee, on August 1, 1861, to Dr. Phillip Doddridge McCulloch and Lucy Virginia Burrus McCulloch. McCulloch’s …

McFaddin, Edward Fitzgerald (Ed)

Edward Fitzgerald McFaddin was a lawyer who for twenty-four years was a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, where he always anchored the conservative wing. After retiring from the court, McFaddin led the opposition to the proposed constitution of 1970, a set of constitutional reforms that voters defeated in the general election that year. He challenged nearly all the changes proposed in the new charter, claiming that it would raise taxes, increase government, and do away with sacred customs. Both of the candidates for governor in that election, Winthrop Rockefeller and Dale Bumpers, had urged voters to ratify it, to no avail. Ed McFaddin was born on December 30, 1894, in Hope (Hempstead County), the son of Edward McFaddin and …

McHaney, Edgar Lafayette

Edgar McHaney contributed to legal proceedings that changed constitutional law in the United States. With co-counsel Scipio Africanus Jones, he appealed the convictions of twelve men convicted of murder after the 1919 Elaine Massacre. The case of six of the men, Moore v. Dempsey, was eventually heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a precedent-setting decision allowed federal courts to override state appellate courts if constitutional rights were denied. McHaney also served for a short time in the Arkansas House of Representatives before a long tenure on the Arkansas Supreme Court. Born on November 6, 1876, in Gibson, Tennessee, Edgar Lafayette McHaney was one of nine children of William W. McHaney and Mary Ellen Hicks McHaney. He grew up on …

Mehaffy, Thomas Miller (Tom)

Tom Mehaffy was a self-educated schoolteacher, lawyer, and politician whose life at the age of sixty-seven was transformed by family tragedy into a distinguished career on the Arkansas Supreme Court. After fifteen years on the court during the Great Depression and the early stages of World War II, the aged and ailing justice retired in 1942, having earned the sobriquet “the Chief Dissenter” for his frequent disagreements with the other justices over the value that should be given to precedents. Mehaffy also founded what became Arkansas’s largest law firm, known in the twenty-first century as the Friday Law Firm in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Thomas Miller Mehaffy was born on October 3, 1859, in Ripley, Mississippi, to Thomas Langley Mehaffy …

Miller, John Elvis

John Elvis Miller, the son of a Confederate veteran, had a distinguished career in the law, sandwiched around a political career that took him to the U.S. Senate in one of the most startling Arkansas elections of the twentieth century. He was a prosecuting attorney, a congressman, and a senator, resigning the last position in 1941 when President Franklin Roosevelt appointed him U.S. judge for the Western District of Arkansas. John E. Miller was born on May 15, 1888, in Stoddard County, Missouri, the son of John A. and Mary Harper Miller. As a child, he helped his parents and seven siblings raise cotton and corn on their Missouri bootheel farm. When he finished the ninth grade, he took an …

Millwee, Minor Wallace

Minor Wallace Millwee was a distinguished justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court who was the first political victim of the surge of racism that followed the showdown over school desegregation at Little Rock Central High School in 1957. After Governor Orval E. Faubus dispatched National Guardsmen to stop nine Black students from entering the high school, and President Dwight Eisenhower nationalized the guard and sent federal troops to protect the Black students in school, former state senator James D. Johnson, Arkansas’s most determined segregationist, ran against Justice Millwee in 1958, calling him “a pawn of integration,” although the judge had never expressed an opinion publicly about the issue. Johnson posited that his own election, rather than Millwee’s, would show the …