Judging Nazis: John Parker's Nuremberg Journey

Dr. Joseph A. Ross examines the life and career of Judge John J. Parker, often considered to be a largely forgotten, but nonetheless important figure in both North Carolina and U.S. history.  Born in Monroe in 1885, John J. Parker joined the Republican Party at a time when the state was solidly Democratic.  Parker ran for governor in 1920, but an election loss led him to join the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals five years later.  Parker was almost confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1930, but instead served as the Senior Judge of the Fourth Circuit for the rest of his life. However, he took a leave of absence in 1945 to serve as the alternate U.S. judge for the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial.  In the aftermath of World War II, the Allied powers convened the War Crimes Trial in Nuremberg.  A first of its kind, the tribunal brought ranking members of the Nazi party and members of the German military to trial for planning, committing, or carrying out the Holocaust and additional war crimes.  The trial significantly affected Parker’s life, as well as his views on international law and the place of the United States in the international community.  Although an advocate for human rights abroad, Parker’s life reflects the challenges of applying human rights universally.

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