David Chávez, Jr. (1947-1950)

David Chavez, Jr.  (1947-1950)Judge David Chávez, Jr.'s parents, David and Paz (Sánchez) were members of families that had lived for generations in Los Chávez, Valencia County, New Mexico, then a United States territory. In 1895, the family moved to the Barelas section near Albuquerque. Judge Chávez was born on November 12, 1897 in Albuquerque, and attended elementary and secondary schools there. As a young boy, he sold newspapers on the street to help his family's finances. He attended the University of New Mexico, but interrupted his studies to serve in the Army during World War I.

After World War I ended and he completed his university studies, Judge Chávez worked in the Land Division of the United States Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., until 1922, when he received his law degree from Georgetown Law School. He then returned to New Mexico to practice law, and married Geneviève Trovilion in 1926. They had one daughter, Caroline.

Judge Chávez held several government positions in New Mexico. From 1932 to 1934 he was the Mayor of Santa Fe, the Capital of New Mexico. He was elected a state judge in 1936 and reelected in 1942.

He resigned to re-join the Army when World War II broke out, and fought in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany, and participated in the processing of prisoners at the Dachau Concentration Camp. He received eight medals for his Army service during the two world wars, and was discharged a Colonel after World War II. He returned to New Mexico and was appointed to the District Court of New Mexico, Judicial District of Santa Fe, the same court in which he had been a judge before World War II.

Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, Judge Robert A. Cooper had announced his retirement from the bench. Judge Chávez's brother, United States Senator Dennis (Dionisio) Chávez, advocated for, and then endorsed Judge Chávez's nomination to succeed Judge Cooper. He received the endorsement of the other (Republican) Senator from New Mexico, the State's Representative, Antonio Fernández, and the New Mexico Bar Association to become the federal judge in Puerto Rico. He was appointed on June 2, 1947 and served for three years, until May 5, 1950, when he resigned to run in the Democratic primaries for Governor of New Mexico.

After losing in the primary election, he requested to be re-appointed as the federal judge in Puerto Rico. Although he had the endorsement of his brother the Senator, and the support of New Mexico's Representative in Congress and of Irwin Silverman, who worked in the Territories and Possessions Division of the Department of the Interior, he was not re-nominated. President Harry S. Truman had already nominated Thomas Hogan Roberts to succeed him.

He returned to the private practice of law in New Mexico. On January 11, 1960, he was appointed to be a Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, and served until he retired on December 31, 1968.

Judge Chávez died on November 3, 1984 in Las Vegas, New Mexico, a few days shy of his eighty-seventh birthday.