Judge John J. Parker

On this date in 1885, Judge John J. Parker was born in Monroe, North Carolina. After receiving both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Parker went on to practice law in the North Carolina cities of Greensboro, Monroe and Charolette from 1908 to 1922. During this time he was very active in Republican politics and ran unsuccessful campaigns for Congress, N.C. Attorney General, and Governor. In 1923, Parker began service as a Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General. In 1925, Parker was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit based out of Richmond, VA.

In 1930, President Herbert Hoover nominated Judge John Parker to serve as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court for the seat previously held by Justice Edward Sanford who had passed away. Judge Parker was the youngest person ever nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court at the age of 44. Soon after his nomination, the United Mine Workers union began a campaign against his nomination because of an opinion he had written regarding the union and “yellow dog contracts”. The NAACP also registered opposition because of remarks he made when he had run for Governor concerning African American’s participation in the electoral process. After heated debate, the U.S. Senate rejected the nomination by a vote of 41 to 39 on May 8, 1930.

After the rejection, Judge Parker continued to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit. He became Chief Judge of that Court in 1931 which was a post he held until his death. He also served as an alternate judge on the International Allied Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany from 1945-46. In 1954, Judge Parker served on the United Nations International Law Commission. Judge Parker died on March 17, 1958 in Washington, D.C. where he was there to attend the Spring Meeting of the Judicial Conference of the United States. At the conference, he was set to deliver an address entitled “Law and the World Community”.