Northern District Judge Edward J. McManus (1920-2017): A half-century on the bench

By: Rox Laird on March 21st, 2017

U.S. District Judge Edward J. (“Nick”) McManus of Cedar Rapids died Monday. He was 97.

McManus, a native of Keokuk, attended St. Ambrose College in Davenport for two years before transferring to the University of Iowa where he earned bachelor’s and law degrees.

After serving in the U.S. Navy in World War II, McManus practiced law in Keokuk with his father and brothers and served as city attorney for 10 years. McManus served two terms in the Iowa Senate, one term as lieutenant governor and ran unsuccessfully for governor on the Democratic ticket in 1960.

Before McManus was appointed by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, only four men had served as district judge in the Northern District, Iowa’s first federal court established in 1849. McManus was the first native-born Iowan to be appointed there.

McManus continued to hear cases long after assumed senior status in 1985. With 55 years of service, according to a court press release from the District Court, “Judge McManus had the distinction of being the longest serving of any incumbent judge in the United States, serving longer than any federal judge in Iowa, the longest of any in the Eighth Circuit, and the third longest in the history of the United States.”

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On Brief is devoted to appellate litigation, with a focus on the Iowa Supreme Court, the Iowa Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
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