John A. Danaher; Ex-U.S. Senator

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

John A. Danaher, a former U.S. senator and federal appeals court judge, has died in a convalescent home here. A 15-year veteran of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Republican senator from Connecticut from 1939 to 1945, he was 91.

Danaher died Saturday of complications of old age.

Born to a prominent political family in Meriden in 1899, Danaher graduated from Yale University and Yale School of Law. From 1921 to 1933, he was an assistant U.S. attorney. In 1935, he was elected Connecticut's secretary of state.

In the Senate, he opposed President Franklin D. Roosevelt's programs that supplied goods and war materials to Britain before the United States entered World War II but became an active supporter of the war after Pearl Harbor.

After being defeated for reelection to the Senate by Democrat Brien McMahon, he practiced law with his own firm in Washington before being appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1954. He served until 1969 when he became a senior circuit judge and retired in 1980.

Danaher, who at 39 was the youngest senator ever elected in Connecticut, was prominently mentioned as a potential nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1956 and 1957 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower eventually nominated William J. Brennan Jr. and Charles E. Whittaker to the court.

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