Poff, Richard H. (Richard Harding), 1923-2011

Alternative names
Birth 1923-10-19
Death 2011-06-28

Biographical notes:

U.S. Representative from Virginia's 6th District and Virginia Supreme Court justice.

From the description of Papers of Richard Harding Poff, 1935-1972. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647880493

From the description of Richard Harding Poff collection [manuscript], 1950-1950. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647999481

Theodore Roosevelt Dalton was born 3 July 1901 in Carroll County, Virginia, the son of Currell and Lodoska Maritn Dalton. he received his B.A. from the College of William and Mary as well as his law degree. Dalton was Commonwealth's Attorney for Radford, Virginia and state senator from 1944-1960. He was the Republican Party candidate for governor in 1953 and 1957. Dalton was appointed federal judge for the Western District of Virginia. His adopted son was John N. Dalton who served as governor of Virginia. Ted Dalton died 30 October 1989.

From the guide to the Ted Dalton Papers, 1933-1978, 1952-1959., (Special Collections, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary)

Richard Harding Poff was born in Radford, Virginia, October 19, 1923. His father was a railroad man. He grew up in Christiansburg and attended Roanoke College in 1942 and 1943 before joining the Army Air Corps. Poff was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying 35 missions as a bomber pilot in Europe during World War II. In 1948, Poff received his law degree from the University of Virginia.

In 1952, Poff was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives representing the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia. He served for ten consecutive terms and was the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon administration. When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black died in September 1971, Poff was widely viewed as President Nixon's first choice to replace Black. His nomination drew opposition from liberals because of his opposition to school desegregation in 1956, and he took his name out of consideration for personal reasons. In 1972, Poff was appointed to the Supreme Court of Virginia by Governor Linwood Holton and became the first Republican to serve on the Court in the twentieth century. Poff retired from the Court in 1988 and served as Senior Justice from 1989 to 2002.

From the guide to the Justice Richard H. Poff Papers, 1972-2002; 2011, (Supreme Court of Virginia Archives, Virginia State Law Library)


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  • Segregation in education--Virginia
  • Insurance, Automobile--Virginia
  • Postal service--Law and legislation
  • Obscenity (law)
  • Roads--Virginia
  • College of William and Mary--History--20th century
  • Film strips
  • Labor unions
  • Transportation--Law and legislation
  • States' rights (American politics)
  • Railroads--Employees--hours of service
  • Patronage, Political--United States
  • Firearms--Law and legislation
  • Right to labor
  • Judges--Virginia--20th century
  • Water--Law and legislation
  • Presidents--Elections--1968
  • Wages--Railroad
  • Social security
  • Audio tape
  • Agricultural laws and legislation
  • Judicial records--Virginia--20th century
  • Congressmen--Virginia--20th century
  • Federal aid to education
  • Patronage, Political
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
  • Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )
  • Civil rights
  • Antitrust law
  • Judicial opinions--Virginia--20th century
  • Bills, Legislative
  • Criminal procedure--United States
  • Criminal law


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  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)