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James G. Day (1870-1883)

Chief Justice

James G. Day

Served on the Iowa Supreme Court from September 1, 1870, when he was appointed to fill the vacancy occasioned by the retirement of George C. Wright, until December 31, 1883, For three years he was Chief Justice.

Born in Jefferson County, Ohio, in 1832. He was graduated from Richmond College, Ohio, and later from the Cincinnati Law School in 1857. Soon thereafter he came to Afton, in Union County, later moving to Sidney, in Fremont County. He enlisted in the Union Army in the Civil War and was promoted to the rank of captain. He was severely wounded at the battle of Shiloh.

Justice Day's most famous decision was the rehearing opinion on the constitutionality of the prohibitionary amendment to the Iowa Constitution. His independence of thought, as to the inviolability of that document, is well exemplified by this decision, declared in spite of the strong popular feeling which he probably foresaw would retire him from the bench at the coming election.

He died in Des Moines in 1898.

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