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Reynaldo Guerra Garza Edit Profile

federal judge

Reynaldo G. Garza, American Federal judge. Bar: Texas 1939. Recipient Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal Pope Pius XII, 1952; decorated knight Order St. Gregory the Great, Pius XII, 1954.


Garza, Reynaldo Guerra was born on July 7, 1915 in Brownsville, Texas, United States. Son of Ygnacio and Zoila (Guerra) Garza.


Associate of Arts, Brownsville Junior College, 1935. Bachelor, University Texas, 1937. Bachelor of Laws, University Texas School of Law, 1939.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), University St. Edwards, Austin, Texas, 1965.


He was the first Mexican-American appointed to a federal court when he was appointed to the U.S. District Court, and would later become the first Mexican-American, as well as the first Latin American, appointed to any circuit of the U. S. Court of Appeals. Born in Brownsville, Texas, Garza received an A.A. from Brownsville Junior College in 1935 and a B.A. from the University of Texas, Austin in 1937. He earned his LL.B. from the University of Texas School of Law in 1939.

He was in private practice of law in Brownsville from 1939 to 1942. He served in the United States Army Air Forces from 1942 to 1945, after which he returned to his law practice in Brownsville, where he remained until 1961. Garza was nominated to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas by President John F. Kennedy on March 24, 1961, to a seat vacated by James V. Allred.

He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 13, 1961, and received commission on April 14, 1961. He served as chief judge from 1974 to 1979, when his service on the district court was terminated on August 1, 1979, due to appointment to another judicial position. Garza was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by President Jimmy Carter on April 30, 1979, to a seat vacated by William Homer Thornberry.

President Jimmy Carter originally asked Garza to serve as the Attorney General of the United States, which he turned down. Had he accepted and been confirmed by the Senate, Garza would have become the first Hispanic Attorney General of the United States. He was confirmed to the Fifth Circuit by the United States Senate on July 12, 1979, and received commission on July 13, 1979.

Garza assumed senior status on July 7, 1982. Garza died on September 14, 2004, in his hometown of Brownsville.


  • Bar: Texas 1939.


Treasurer Cameron County Child Welfare Board, 1950-1952. Member Texas Good Neighbor Commission, 1957-1961. Commissioner City of Brownsville, 1947-1949.

Trustee Brownsville Indiana School District, 1941-1942. Served with United States Army Air Force, 1942-1945. Member Cameron County Bar Association, State Bar Texas.


Married Bertha Champion, June 9, 1943. Children: Reynaldo G., David C., Ygnacio Daniel, Bertha Victoria, Monica Bernadette.

Ygnacio Garza

Zoila (Guerra) Garza

Bertha Champion

Reynaldo G. Garza

David C. Garza

Ygnacio Daniel Garza

Bertha Victoria Garza

Monica Bernadette Garza