Alabama Academy of Honor


Frank Minis Johnson, Jr.

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1979.



Frank Minis Johnson, Jr., has served as Chief Judge, United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama from 1955 to the present, and was recently nominated to a judgeship on the Fifth Circuit, United States Court of Appeals.

Born October 30,1918, in Winston County, he attended Gulf Coast Military Academy and then Massey Business College in Birmingham. He received his law degree from the University of Alabama in 1943 and immediately entered military service as a private, attended Officers' Candidate School, and served overseas with Patton's Third Army as a combat officer, was wounded twice and was awarded a Bronze Star in the Normandy invasion. Later he was sent to England as a legal officer.

After being discharged in 1946 as a captain, he joined the Jasper law firm of Curtis, Maddox and Johnson where he remained until 1953 when he was appointed by President Eisenhower to sene as United States Attorney of the Northern District of Alabama.

Judge Johnson is noted for issuing landmark civil rights rulings in Alabama. He has served on the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals of the United States from 1972 to the present; the Judicial Conference Committee on Administration of Probation System, 1963-1966; Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules, 1968-1972; Board of Certification for Circuit Executives, 1971-1972; Judicial Conference Review Committee, 1969-1978; Special Committee on Habeas Corpus,1971-1978; Judicial Ethics Committee 1978 to the present; annd the Joint Committee on the Code of Judicial Conduct for Federal Judges.

Judge Johnson is a member of Tau Kappa Alpha, National Honorary Forensic Society, and Omicron Delta Kappa. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Notre Dame University in 1973, from Princeton University in 1974, and from the University of Alabama in 1977, and an Honorary Doctorate of Jurisprudence from St. Michael's College in Vermont in 1975.

Other honors include a Citation by the University of Alabama "for outstanding contributions to the field of human services through constructive leadership in our nation's judiciary and in the legal profession" in 1975, the University of Alabama School of Law Daniel J. Meador Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1976 and induction into the American Academy of Achievement in 1978. He has also received the Mississippi State University Distinguished Jurist Award in 1978 and the President's Award for Distinguished Public Service from the University of Montevallo in 1978.

Judge Johnson was chosen by President Carter in 1977 to be FBI Director, but he declined because of a health problem at that time.

His articles have been widely published in law reviews throughout the nation. He is a member of the Montgomery County and Alabama Bar Associations and the American Bar Association.

He married Ruth Jenkins, January 16,1939.