A Eulogy to Judge Lemmon
by Hon. Louis Goodman

In the District Court of the United States, for the Northern District of California, Northern Division, Sacramento, California.
Monday, June 9, 1958 - 2:30 p.m.
The Honorable Louis E. Goodman, Chief Judge

Members of the Bench and Bar who are here, and friends of Judge Lemmon, I deem it an especial personal privilege to speak on behalf of the Court here today.

Dal Lemmon was the fourteenth judge of this court. He was appointed on February 7, 1947, by President Truman and served as a member of our court for over seven years, with his official residence at Sacramento, but giving his judicial service frequently in San Francisco and elsewhere in the district.

On April 29, 1954, he was appointed by President Eisenhower to the Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit, and served that court until his death on April 26, 1958.

Before his appointment on the Federal Bench he served for furteen years as a judge of the Superior Court of Sacramento County.

Thus he encompassed 25 years of judicial service to the people of his State and his country.

Tody we pay our solemn tribute in memory of both the man and the judge. Primarily we record our respect and esteem for the man and his devotion to his beloved wife and children and for their affection and loyalty to him; a beautiful and dedicated family unit, a symbol of the backbone of our American way of life.

But we also must set in permanent frame the picture of the part he played in a great American institution, the judicial system.

There comes to my mind today some words of prophesy I claim the honor to have said on February 17, 1947, when I administered the oath of office to him in this very courtroom. They were: "There is no doubt in my mind that Judge Lemmon possesses the prime qualification of a Federal judge. He has in his heart a compelling passion to accomplish justice. He also possesses another indispensable qualification, namely, the energy, both physical and mental, to translate that passion for justice into the actuality of fair and righteous judgments."

The years since have indisputably proven the accuracy of that prophesy.

I know of no judge who showed his passion for justice so courageously, so steadfastly, and so indominatably as our late colleague. He revered and honored the bench. He took no shortcuts, he made no detours. He always made the full journey necessary to accomplish justice. He inspired respect in his colleagues and in the bar. Not an artificial or a grudging respect, but a respect springing from the spirit.

Such was my own deep feeling for him. Judge Lemmon never sought popular acclaim or the plaudits of others. These are not too difficult of attainment in high position. His eye was ever on the ball, never on its flight, during all of his busy and interesting years on the bench.

My friend Judge Lemmon had a deep awareness of the importance of the Federal Judiciary and what it meant to the lives and the welfare of the people of our country. His nature was such that there was no room in his mind for any course that entailed evasion of responsibility, and this irrespective of difficulty of task or problem, or the personalities or status of those whose controversies were to be resolved.

He had knowledge and learning, as you all know. Commencing with the 77th volume of the Federal Supplement and the 214th volume of the Federal Reporter, 2d Edition, these volumes contain a great many of his opinions. They show and will be a record of his understanding and discernment in matters of law, and are replete with literary and classical references.

The late Judge St. Sure once appraised the quality required of a judge as follows: He said, "To have the power of forgetting for the time self, friends, interests and relationships, and to think of doing right toward another, a stranger, an enemy perhaps, is to have that which men can share only with the angels and with Him who is above both men and angels."

It is no exaggeration for me to say here today with humility that these words are a fitting description of our friend and Colleague, Dal Lemmon.

When we adjourn today it will be in respectful memory of the loving husband and father, the stalwart guardian of the cause of justice, and the loyal and devoted citizen of his state and country, the Honorable Dal M. Lemmon.

Today's memorial, brief as it has been, will be transcribed into the records of this court, and copies thereof, suitably exemplified, will be delivered to the family of Judge Lemmon.

We will now adjourn.

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2003 United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Historical Society.