Davis, John W. (1873–1955)

Author:David Gordon
Pages:748
 
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Page 748

One of the nation's most celebrated lawyers, John William Davis served as SOLICITOR GENERAL under WOODROW WILSON, winning WILSON V. NEW (1917) and the SELECTIVE DRAFT LAW CASES (1918). In 1924 he was the Democratic candidate for President. He remained prominent at the Supreme Court bar, successfully challenging NEW DEAL legislation, and in 1952 Davis attacked HARRY S. TRUMAN'S seizure of the steel mills as a "usurpation" of power "without parallel in American history." (See YOUNGSTOWN SHEET AND TUBE COMPANY V. SAWYER.) He won that case but would lose his last one: Briggs v. Elliott (1954). Arguing this companion case to BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION (1954), Davis dismissed arguments about SEGREGATION'S psychological harm and urged the continued validity of the SEPARATE BUT EQUAL rule.

DAVID GORDON

(1986)

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