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About Elbert Parr Tuttle
Elbert Parr Tuttle (July 17, 1897 – June 23, 1996), one of the "Fifth Circuit Four", and a liberal Republican from Georgia, was chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1960 to 1967, when that court became known for a series of decisions crucial in advancing the civil rights of African-Americans. At that time, the Fifth Circuit included not only Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas (its jurisdiction as of 2012), but also Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and the Panama Canal Zone.
Tuttle was born in Pasadena, California. In 1906, his family moved to Hawaii where he attended high school. In October 1910 together with his brother Malcolm he built and flew the first glider in Hawaii. Tuttle then attended Cornell University (graduating in 1918), and fought in World War I, serving as a United States Army Air Service Private from 1918 to 1919. Tuttle was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and the Sphinx Head Society.
Tuttle received an LL.B. from Cornell Law School in 1923. He was a reporter for the New York Evening World for several years while going though law school. After graduating from law school, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia to practice law with the law firm of Sutherland, Tuttle & Brennan from 1923 to 1953. (The firm is today named Sutherland Asbill & Brennan.)
Tuttle mainly worked on tax litigation, but also did pro bono work and worked with the American Civil Liberties Union, including doing numerous civil rights cases. Tuttle served as a Colonel in the United States Army Colonel from 1941 to 1946, in World War II, engaging in hand to hand combat in Okinawa. He was awarded numerous medals for his service including the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and the Bronze Service Arrowhead.
After the War, Tuttle became more involved in politics, working with the Republican Party due to his opposition to segregation. He was a General counsel, U.S. Treasury Department from 1953 to 1954. He was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 7, 1954, to a new Fifth Circuit seat created by 68 Stat. 871; he was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 3, 1954, and received commission on August 4, 1954. He served as chief judge, 1960–67, and then assumed senior status. On October 1, 1981, Tuttle was transferred to the new Eleventh Circuit, and continued to serve as a senior judge until his death on June 23, 1996. The Elbert P. Tuttle U.S. Court of Appeals Building was named in his honor in 1989.
During his tenure, Tuttle had a role in many cases involving the enforcement of civil rights in the South. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981. The Honorable Elbert Tuttle also has a star on Atlanta's Civil Rights Walk of Fame.