Edward Clayton Eicher Edit Profile
Edward Eicher attended public schools, Washington Academy in Washington, Iowa, and Morgan Park Academy in Morgan Park, Chicago. In 1904 he graduated from the University of Chicago. He studied law was admitted to the bar in 1906 and briefly practiced in Washington, Iowa.
He was considered a consummate New Deal liberal. He returned to the University of Chicago to serve as its assistant registrar. In 1909, he returned to Burlington, Iowa and served as an assistant attorney for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad until 1918.
In 1918, he resumed private practice as a partner in Livingston and Eicher in Washington, Iowa. In 1932 Eicher was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives from Iowa's 1st congressional district. Twice re-elected, he served from March 4, 1933, until December 2, 1938.
He had withdrawn from the 1938 race for the Democratic nomination for his own seat. As his final congressional term ended, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. New Dealers inside the Roosevelt Administration supported Eicher's wish to be chosen to fill one of two new seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, but Iowa Senator Guy M. Gillette, who resented Eicher and Roosevelt for their unsuccessful efforts to purge him from in 1938, stood in the way.
Instead, no Iowan received either judgeship. Eicher was eventually nominated on December 30, 1941, to be Chief Justice of the District Court of the District of Columbia. He was confirmed on January 20, 1942.
Eicher filled a seat vacated by Alfred A. Wheat. He died of a heart attack in Alexandria, Virginia, at age 65. At the time of his death, Eicher had presided for over seven months at the trial of 30 suspected Axis conspirators and sympathizers.
Time magazine characterized the trial as "biggest and noisiest sedition trial in U.S. history," and reported that "no one in Washington doubted that a ludicrously undignified trial had hastened the death of a scrupulously dignified judge." Eicher's death caused a mistrial. After the war ended, the government chose not to prosecute again, and Judge Bolitha Laws dismissed the charges against the defendants.
When his congressional career ended, Time magazine described him as "a wheelhorse in a pasture of mavericks," explaining that "he worked on the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, defended the Court Plan, was the most ardent New Dealer among the Monopoly Investigation Committee's men.".
Member 73d to 75th Congresses (1933-1939), 1st Iowa District. Member Temporary National Economics Committee, 1938. Member bars Iowa, Illinois State and Supreme Court of the United States Court, Alpha Delta Phi, Phi Delta Phi.
Married Hazel Mount, August 19, 1908.