Law Library Recognizes Judge Charles R. Richey

Judge Richey display in law library

The Ben C. Green Law Library was gifted the Judge Charles R. Richey papers in the late 1990s. The gift had a twenty-five-year moratorium placed on his papers, which was lifted during the pandemic. The law library is now organizing the documents and digitizing the most essential case files. Three of these case files are currently digitized in our Scholarly Commons.

Judge Richey grew up in Middleburg, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan in 1945 after serving one year in the United States Corp of Engineers during WWII in 1944. He then went to Case Western Reserve University School of Law, graduating in 1948. Judge Richey practiced law for over twenty years in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and was general counsel to the Maryland Public Service Commission. He was very active in the Republican Party. In 1971, President Nixon appointed Richey to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, where he resided until 1997, when he died of cancer.

Judge Richey presided over many notable cases throughout his career, including several Watergate cases. Some were favorable to the White House. Some were not. In a series of cases that began in 1989, Judge Richey sought to compel the government to preserve records for use by historians and the public. In 1992, Judge Richey ordered the Federal Election Commission to withhold funds from the Republican National Committee until the latter changed its rules to provide greater representation of minorities. In 1993, he once again stood up to the White House, infuriating the Clinton administration by ordering the administration to create an environmental impact statement covering NAFTA. 

Oct. 16, 2023, marks his 100th birthday. In recognition, the law library will welcome students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, Oct. 18, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Davis Room. Some of the Richey papers will be displayed and staff will be on hand to answer questions regarding Judge Charles R. Richey and his career.