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George MacKinnon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George MacKinnon
George Edward MacKinnon.jpg
Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
In office
May 20, 1983 – May 1, 1995
Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review
In office
May 19, 1979 – May 18, 1982
Preceded bySeat established
Succeeded byJohn A. Field Jr.
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
In office
May 6, 1969 – May 20, 1983
Appointed byRichard Nixon
Preceded byCharles Fahy
Succeeded byKen Starr
United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota
In office
Appointed byDwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded byFallon Kelly
Succeeded byPhilip Neville
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1949
Preceded byWilliam Gallagher
Succeeded byRoy Wier
Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives
from the 29th district
In office
January 8, 1935 – January 4, 1943
Preceded byBurton Kingsley
Succeeded byCarl Wegner
Personal details
George Edwards MacKinnon

(1906-04-22)April 22, 1906
Saint Paul, Minnesota
DiedMay 1, 1995(1995-05-01) (aged 89)
Potomac, Maryland
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Minnesota Law School (LLB)

George Edward MacKinnon (April 22, 1906 – May 1, 1995) was an American politician, attorney, and judge who variously served as a United States Representative and United States Attorney for Minnesota, and as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He is also the father of feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon.

Education and career

Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, MacKinnon received a Bachelor of Laws from University of Minnesota Law School in 1929. MacKinnon was a member of the editorial board of the Minnesota Law Review and played as a center on the Golden Gophers football team.[1] He was an assistant counsel for Investors Syndicate (now a component of Ameriprise Financial) of Minneapolis, Minnesota from 1929 to 1942. He was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1935 to 1942.[2] He was in the United States Navy as a Commander from 1942 to 1946. MacKinnon was elected as a Republican to serve as a United States Representative for the Third District of Minnesota to the 80th congress (January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1949), but was defeated when he sought re-election. He served on the Education and Labor Committee. He was in private practice of law in Minneapolis from 1949 to 1953. He was the United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota from 1953 to 1958. In 1958, he ran as the Republican nominee for Governor of Minnesota and lost the general election to Orville Freeman. He was in private practice of law in Minneapolis from 1958 to 1960. He was a Special Assistant United States Attorney General from 1960 to 1961. He was general counsel and vice president for Investors Mutual Funds of Minneapolis from 1961 to 1969.[3]

Notable cases

During his service as United States attorney, MacKinnon successfully prosecuted the first labor case under the Taft-Hartley Act against Archer Daniels Midland, Gerald Connelly, and Sidney Brennan in United States v. Gerald Connelly.[citation needed] During his service as Special Assistant United States Attorney General in 1960, MacKinnon focused on labor racketeering investigations involving James Hoffa. MacKinnon started the Test Fleet investigation that led to James Hoffa's conviction for perjury.[citation needed]

Federal judicial service

MacKinnon was nominated by President Richard Nixon on April 23, 1969, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated by Judge Charles Fahy. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 5, 1969, and received his commission on May 6, 1969. He served as a Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review from 1979 to 1982. He served on the United States Sentencing Commission from 1985 to 1991. He assumed senior status on May 20, 1983. His service was terminated on May 1, 1995, due to his death in Potomac, Maryland.[3]


MacKinnon as a U.S. Representative
MacKinnon as a U.S. Representative

MacKinnon was also known as a conservative and once described as "so far right he makes Goldwater look like George McGovern," although this may have been hyperbole.[4] According to Judge Harry T. Edwards, Judge MacKinnon was "a real character: he was someone who was not easily dissuaded from his positions, who always aimed to get his way, and, yet, who always enjoyed his colleagues and fostered collegiality on the court."[5] Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, a fellow Minnesotan who appointed MacKinnon to the United States Sentencing Commission and the special court division that selected independent counsel, said, "He's a man who can't be frightened or pushed by anybody" when describing him.[6] Thomas J. Campbell, who once worked as a clerk for Judge MacKinnon, has written:

Judge MacKinnon inspired by words. He inspired by his life's deeds. But he inspired most of all by what came to him, naturally. That he'd always introduce himself as George, not Judge. That he would call his wife on his private phone line, so that the government would not have to pay whatever marginal cost one phone call might represent. That he would answer his own phone with such alacrity that clerk or secretary would have to scramble to pick it up on the first ring. That he presided at the marriage, in chambers, of a man he had once prosecuted, convicted, and sent away to prison as U.S. Attorney. That he was loved by Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, and sought the approval of neither to find his own sense of worth.[5]


  1. ^ Official Congressional Directory. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1979.
  2. ^ "Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit". Retrieved 2017-12-23.
  3. ^ a b George Edward MacKinnon at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  4. ^ Donald Dale Jackson, Judges 313 (1974).
  5. ^ a b Harry T. Edwards, In Memoriam: George E. MacKinnon, 64 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 819, 820-21 (1996)
  6. ^ Ann Pelham, "Judge MacKinnon Works Two Odd Jobs at the Edges of Constitutionality," Legal Times at 15 (May 7, 1990).

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William Gallagher
Member of the United States House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Roy Wier
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ancher Nelsen
Republican nominee for Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Elmer L. Andersen
Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles Fahy
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Succeeded by
Ken Starr
Preceded by
Seat established
Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review
Succeeded by
John A. Field Jr.
This page was last edited on 9 November 2020, at 01:21
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