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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

M.O. Litz (1874-1955)
M.O. Litz (1874-1955)

Moroni Orson Litz (sometimes spelled Maroni, usually presented as M.O. Litz, born Tazewell County, Virginia, August 13, 1874; died Huntington, West Virginia, December 1, 1955) was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia from his appointment on January 1, 1923 to December 31, 1936.

M. O. Litz was the one of fourteen children (including ten sons) of John T. Litz (1834-1901) and his wife Elizabeth Thompson (1839-1898). His father was a Mormon and named him "Moroni" after the Angel Moroni, but Litz appears to have used his initials for most of his life. His birthplace in Tazewell County is on the Virginia-West Virginia border, where his grandfather Peter Gose Litz owned a large plantation.[1]

After studying at Tazewell College, Litz spent some years teaching, including two years as the principal of a high school in Graham, Virginia. In 1900 he entered the University of Virginia and received a law degree in 1902.[1] After being admitted to the Virginia and West Virginia bars, he set up practice in Welch, West Virginia, also in 1902.[2]

Litz was a Republican. In December 1922 he was appointed to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals,[2] by Republican governor Ephraim F. Morgan; in 1924 he gained election to a twelve year term, which he served in full. After being defeated for re-election in a Democratic wave in 1938,[3][2] he returned to private practice, this time in Charleston.

In 1928 Litz wrote the decision in a case known, coincidentally, as Brown vs. Board of Education, declaring that the City of Charleston could not segregate its public library by placing it under the control of the school board and claiming it was a school library.[4]


Litz married Judith Effler on October 27, 1908; they had five children. Judith died June 20, 1920. Litz married Mabel F. Cain April 26, 1922.


  1. ^ a b History of Peter Gose Litz and Sarah Gose, Excerpt on Litz family from Annals of Tazewell County by John Newman Harman.
  2. ^ a b c "Ex-West Virginia Judge's Rites Set", The Evening Review (December 2, 1955), p. 26.
  3. ^ "Court's Staff Faces Changes", The Charleston Daily Mail (November 11, 1936), p. 4.
  4. ^ Negroes Have Right to Use Local Library, Is Supreme Court Ruling, West Virginia Archives and History page on the case.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
George Poffenbarger
Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Fred L. Fox
This page was last edited on 29 April 2020, at 02:03
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