skip to content
Primary navigation

John P. Devaney

Chief Justice

John P. Devaney was the 14th Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, serving from September 7, 1933 to February 14, 1937 (3 years, 4 months, 14 days).

Born near Lake Mills, Iowa, on June 30, 1883, John P. Devaney came to Minnesota in 1901 to study at the University of Minnesota. He received three degrees from University: a B.A. from the College of Liberal Arts in 1905, and an LL.B. and LL.M from the College of Law in 1907 and 1908, respectively. 

Devaney was admitted to practice in 1907 and began his legal career at the Minneapolis firm of George B. Leonard. Devaney later became the junior partner of Stiles & Devaney which was dissolved in 1916. He was then senior partner of Devaney & Edwards until 1930 when he entered into solo practice. 

On September 7, 1933, Governor Floyd B. Olson appointed Devaney Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. He was then elected to that office in November, 1934. Justice Devaney served on the Court for just over three years, resigning in 1937. 

Justice Devaney returned to private practice after his time on the Court and remained active in the profession serving as the first president of the National Lawyers’ Guild. He also worked as a mediator to solve labor disputes, most notably as President Roosevelt’s appointment to the Emergency Board of Settlement as its Chairman.  

Justice Devaney died on Sunday, September 21, 1941. He was fifty-nine years old.  

You may read more about Justice Devaney in the resources, linked below, and the book Testimony: Remembering Minnesota’s Supreme Court Justices, which is the source of this brief biography. 

Video recording
Articles (accessible through HeinOnline or in print in the State Law Library)
John P. Devaney Portrait
back to top