Homer Stille Cummings

Homer Stille Cummings ( born April 30, 1870 in Stamford, Connecticut, † September 10, 1956 in Greenwich, Connecticut ) was an American lawyer, politician and Minister of Justice.

Studies and career

Cummings first earned a degree in philosophy at Yale University, where he graduated in 1891 with a Bachelor of Philosophy ( Ph.B. ). He then studied at Yale Law School Law and acquired in 1893 with a Bachelor of Laws ( LL.B. ). Initially he worked as a lawyer in Stamford, where he was in 1909 with a partner, the firm Cummings & Lockwood founded, in which he was until 1933 partners.

Between 1914 and 1924 he was District Attorney of Fairfield County. During his last year in office, it was attributed to spectacular murder trial in which a tramp of the murder of a popular parish priest was accused in the street in Bridgeport. Despite overwhelming evidence that even included an admission of guilt of the tramp, Cummings conducted a thorough investigation of the case, which ultimately found that the tramp was actually innocent. 1931 lifted a commission to the former Minister of Justice, George W. Wickersham, this determination services produced, which ultimately led to 1947 that the director Elia Kazan, the story under the title Boomerang! filmed with Dana Andrews as a performer of Cummings.

When he resigned as minister of justice from the government in 1939, he again worked as a lawyer.

Political life

Democratic politicians, campaigners and an unsuccessful candidate for Congress

Only three years after his admission to the bar he began his political career with the support of the unsuccessful campaign democratic candidate in the presidential election of 1896, William Jennings Bryan.

In 1900, he ran successfully for the first time as mayor of Stamford. As such, he was re-elected in 1901 and 1904. During his tenure as mayor, he began extensive building of roads and sewers, the reorganization of the police and fire departments as well as the creation of a park, which was later named after him. In 1900 he was also first elected in the Democratic National Committee as delegate from Connecticut, where he remained until 1925.

In 1902 he ran as a member of the House of Representatives as well as 1910 and 1916 as a U.S. Senator, but was defeated in all three elections.

During the campaign for the presidential election in 1912, he was head of the office of Chairman of the Democratic Party in Washington. Subsequently, he was from 1913 to 1919, first Deputy Chairman and then to 1921, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and practically Chairman of the Democratic Party. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, which nominated the respective Democratic presidential candidate next in 1900, 1904, 1924, 1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944.

In the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in 1924 he sought the delegates to a compromise because of the different views on the Ku Klux Klan to move. However, unlike many other delegates from the North East, he supported instead of Alfred E. Smith the former Minister of Finance William Gibbs McAdoo. Ultimately, however, after the 103rd ballot, the choice fell on the underdog John W. Davis, who campaigned for voting rights of African Americans.

After his resignation as Minister of Justice in 1939, he belonged until 1951 to the Board of the Democratic Town Committee of Greenwich.

Minister of Justice under President Roosevelt

Cummings returned in 1932 again returned to political life as he moved several senators and congressmen by a resounding speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in support of Democratic presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt.

After the election of Roosevelt as President, he was actually intended as a successor to Theodore Roosevelt Jr. as Governor General of the Philippines. However, two days before his swearing died, the designated Minister of Justice, Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana.

For this reason, President Roosevelt appointed him on March 4, 1933 as Attorney General in his cabinet.

As Minister of Justice he initiated a comprehensive internal reform of the Ministry of Justice and in particular the process of the federal courts. In addition, he brought a number of laws which strengthened the law for the punishment of kidnapping ( Lindbergh Law ), regarded robbery as a federal offense and introduced nationwide regulations on firearms. He also strengthened the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and introduced a National Crime Conference. Cummings also supported the expansion of the island of Alcatraz as a federal prison for felons.

In his capacity as Minister of Justice, he was on the other hand also the main supporter of the New Deal programs of Roosevelt. During his tenure there came here frequently to litigation before the United States Supreme Court on the validity of New Deal legislation. Frustrated with the conservative composition of the Supreme Court, he was commissioned by Roosevelt just after the presidential election of 1936, the draft law to reform the composition of the Supreme Court.

On 5 February 1939, he resigned as Minister of Justice and was replaced as such by Frank Murphy. With his six-year tenure, he was after William Wirt Minister of Justice with the second longest tenure.

Later, he also organized a golf tournament named after him, which was attended by personalities from politics, administration and jurisdiction.

Publications and speeches

  • We can preventDefault Crime. 1937
  • Federal Justice. 1937
  • The Selected Papers of Homer Cummings. 1939