James V. Allred of Texas: A judicial biography
Tidwell, Patricia A. Levee
Master of Arts
James V. Allred, Governor of Texas during the New Deal, illustrates the paradoxes of Southwestern political/legal history. Allred was a liberal who followed President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policies, but was simultaneously a Southern demagogue with implicit beliefs in white superiority that characterized most southern politicians of that age of segregation. Allred influenced law and society with his blend of Populist, New Deal, and regional beliefs. After his governorship, Allred remained in Texas on the United States District Court, Southern District. As a judge, Allred employed a reflexive, intuitive style reminiscent of the chancellor of an equity court. He maintained strict control over his courtroom and his docket and wrote workmanlike opinions. Allred resigned his lifetime position on the federal bench to run for the U.S. Senate, but narrowly lost to Senator William L. "Pappy" O'Daniel. President Roosevelt re-appointed Allred to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, but political repercussions blocked that nomination. Allred was finally returned to the Southern District bench by President Truman.