- Davis, John William
- (1873-1955)Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia, John Davis qualified in law in 1895 and went into practice with his father. Although a conservative on issues like women’s suffrage, he supported Woodrow Wilson and was appointed solicitor general in 1913. He held the position until 1918, when he became ambassador to Great Britain. He returned to legal practice on Wall Street in 1921.In 1924, because of the deadlock between Senator William McAdoo and Governor Alfred E. Smith, Davis was nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate on the 103rd ballot. In the election, Davis received less than 8 million votes, while the Republican Calvin Coolidge won 16 million. In 1928, Davis supported Smith’s campaign, and in 1932 he backed Franklin D. Roosevelt. However, he opposed much of the New Deal and joined Smith and other conservatives in forming the American Liberty League. After the war, he also opposed Harry S. Truman’s Fair Deal program. A successful appellate lawyer, he argued 141 cases before the Supreme Court, most notably in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer in 1952, when he argued against President Truman’s takeover of the steel industry. He also served as counsel to J. Robert Oppenheimer when he was accused of being a security risk in 1954.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.