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Charles E. Wiggins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charles E. Wiggins
Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In office
December 31, 1996 – March 2, 2000
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In office
October 11, 1984 – December 31, 1996
Appointed byRonald Reagan
Preceded bySeat established by 98 Stat. 333
Succeeded byCarlos Bea
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California
In office
January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1979
Preceded byRonald B. Cameron (25th)
Andrew J. Hinshaw (39th)
Succeeded byEdward R. Roybal (25th)
William E. Dannemeyer (39th)
Constituency25th district (1967–75)
39th district (1975–79)
Personal details
Charles Edward Wiggins

(1927-12-03)December 3, 1927
El Monte, California
DiedMarch 2, 2000(2000-03-02) (aged 72)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Southern California (B.S.)
USC Gould School of Law (LL.B.)

Charles Edward Wiggins (December 3, 1927 – March 2, 2000) was a United States Representative from California, and later a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He was initially elected to California's 25th congressional district. The district was renumbered as California's 39th congressional district prior to the 1974 election.

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Education and career

Born in El Monte, California, Wiggins attended the public schools in El Monte. He was a First Lieutenant in the United States Army during World War II, from 1945 to 1948 and again from 1950 to 1952, thereafter receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern California in 1953 and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Southern California Law School in 1956. He was a law clerk to Judge Swain of the Appellate Division, Los Angeles Superior Court. Wiggins then served as a member of the El Monte Planning Commission from 1954 to 1960, entering private practice in El Monte in 1957. He was an El Monte Councilman from 1960 to 1964, and mayor of El Monte from 1964 to 1966.[1]

Congressional service

Nixon Oval Office meeting with H.R. Haldeman "Smoking Gun" Conversation June 23, 1972

Wiggins was elected as a Republican to the Ninetieth and to the five succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1979). He was a fierce defender of Richard Nixon during debate on the House Judiciary Committee over Nixon's impeachment.[2] However, Wiggins dropped his support after the revelation of the so-called "Smoking Gun" tape.[3][4] Saying that "the facts then known to me now have changed," Wiggins said that it was now obvious Nixon had a "plan of action" to cover up the break-in, and that alone would be "legally sufficient" to justify voting to impeach Nixon for obstructing justice. Several other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee followed his lead, a fact emphasized by The New York Times in its headline, "Wiggins for Impeachment; Others in G.O.P. Join Him."[5]

Wiggins's earlier advocacy for Nixon saw his margin of victory reduced in the congressional elections of 1974.[6] Re-elected in 1976, he was not a candidate for reelection to the Ninety-sixth Congress in 1978, instead returning to private practice in Los Angeles California from 1979 to 1982, in Washington, D.C. from 1982 to 1984, and in San Francisco, California in 1984.[1]

Federal judicial service

On August 1, 1984, Wiggins was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a new seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit created by 98 Stat. 333. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 3, 1984, and received his commission on October 11, 1984. Wiggins assumed senior status on December 31, 1996, serving in that capacity until his death.[1]


Wiggins died of cardiac arrest on March 2, 2000, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Wiggins, Charles Edward - Federal Judicial Center".
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Full Transcript" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-07-29.
  4. ^ Pace, Eric (March 8, 2000). "Charles Wiggins, 72, Dies; Led Nixon's Defense in Hearings". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
  5. ^ Rosenbaum, David E. (August 6, 1974). "Wiggins for Impeachment; Others in G.O.P. Join Him". The New York Times. p. 1.
  6. ^ "Voters Turn Backs on Nixon Supporters". Milwaukee Journal. November 6, 1974. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
  7. ^ "Charles Wiggins, 72, Dies; Led Nixon's Defense in Hearings". The New York Times. 8 March 2000.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ronald B. Cameron
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 25th congressional district

Succeeded by
Edward R. Roybal
Preceded by
Andrew J. Hinshaw
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 39th congressional district

Succeeded by
William E. Dannemeyer
Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 98 Stat. 333
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Succeeded by
Carlos Bea
This page was last edited on 21 May 2019, at 10:05
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