John Forrest Dillon

John Forrest Dillon

John Forrest Dillon

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John Forrest Dillon (December 25, 1831 – May 6, 1914) was an American jurist who served on both federal and Iowa state courts, and who authored a highly influential treatise on the power of states over municipal governments.

Early life and career

Dillon was born in Northampton, Montgomery County, New York (now part of Fulton County, New York). He studied medicine at the University of Iowa at the age of 19. Shortly after beginning his practice, he abandoned it to read law, and was admitted to the Iowa bar in 1852. He was elected as the Scott County prosecutor after a brief private practice in 1853, and was then elected to a judgeship in Iowa's 7th Judicial Circuit in 1858. He was elevated to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1862 and served until 1869, when he was appointed by President Grant to the United States Circuit Court which became the Eighth Circuit.

Federal judgeship and scholarly work

While on the federal bench, Dillon wrote Municipal Corporations (1872), which was one of the earliest treatises to systematically study the subject, and which remains highly influential to the present. He was also the author of Removal of Cases from State Courts to Federal Courts and Municipal Bonds, both in 1876. On February 17, 1876, Justice Dillon ruled Ulysses S. Grant's deposition for Orville E. Babcock was admissible in court during the Whiskey Ring graft prosecutions. After leaving the Circuit Court, Dillon was a professor at Columbia Law School...
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