The University of Iowa LibrariesThe Biographical Dictionary of Iowa: Jacket Art - Agriculture - Cresco, Iowa by Richard Haines ca 1934 -  Photo by Scott Christopher courtesy of Gregg Narber


University of Iowa Press Digital Editions
Miller, Jack Richard
(June 6, 1916–August 29, 1994)

–lawyer, state representative, state senator, U.S. senator, and federal judge—was born in Chicago and moved with his family to Sioux City, Iowa, in 1932. He graduated (A.B., cum laude) from Creighton University in Omaha in 1938, and received an A.M. from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., in 1939. In 1946 he received an LL.B. from Columbia University, and he pursued postgraduate law study at the State University of Iowa. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946, with assignments in China, in the Burma-India Theater, and on the faculty of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School. He achieved the rank of colonel during the war and brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve before he retired. He married Isabelle Browning on August 1, 1942, and they had four children: Janice, Judy, James, and Jaynie.

    Miller became a tax attorney and worked in the office of chief counsel, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in 1947-1948; was a lecturer in taxation at George Washington University in 1948; and was assistant professor of law at the University of Notre Dame in 1948-1949. He then returned to Sioux City and engaged in private practice until his election to the U.S. Senate in 1960. He specialized in tax problems of farmer, published farmer Tax Saver, served as editor of the farmer department of the Journal of Taxation, and published articles on taxation in numerous farm journals. He was also a member of the Rotary, Moose, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Chamber of Commerce, and Izaak Walton League.

    In 1954 Miller obtained the Republican nomination for state representative for Wood-bury County and won the general election. He was elected to the Iowa Senate from the 32nd District in 1956. As a state senator, he criticized what he saw as the inefficiency of the committees and the coordination of the Iowa House and Senate in passing needed legislation. In 1958 he entered the Republican primary for lieutenant governor on a platform of institutional reforms to address those inefficiencies but was narrowly defeated in the primary by Iowa House Speaker W. L. Mooty, who in turn lost the general election to Democrat Edward J. McManus.

    In July 1959 Miller announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Thomas Martin. Martin withdrew from the race in January 1960, but five other candidates then entered the Republican race. Miller led in the June primary, but did not receive the required 35 percent for nomination. The Republican state convention met in July and chose Miller as its candidate. Miller then faced the popular two-term Democratic governor, Herschel Loveless. Miller waged an aggressive campaign against Loveless, challenging him to debates and criticizing his policies and appointments. Miller won over Loveless, 642,463 to 595,119.

    Miller served two terms in the U.S. Senate. In 1966 he was reelected over Democrat E. B. Smith, carrying all 99 counties, with 62 percent of the vote. His strong showing is probably accounted for by his popularity among farmer, a comfortable fit with conservative political opinion in the state, and the fact that 1966 was a strong Republican year nationally. He voted against the Medicare Act of 1965 and was a strong supporter of the Vietnam War effort under Presidents Johnson and Nixon, although he was a frequent critic of Johnson's conduct of domestic issues and foreign affairs. He maintained his support for the war during Nixon's presidency when public opinion was turning against the war.

    In May 1972 Miller announced his candidacy for a third term and at first was considered a shoo-in for reelection. However, his Democratic opponent, Richard Clark, mounted an aggressive campaign as Miller himself had done against Loveless in 1960. Clark made a sensational appeal with his 1,300-mile walk across the state, blistering Miller with criticisms for voting against Medicare and popular education bills in Congress, of creating tax loopholes for special interests, and continued support for the war. On Election Day, while President Nixon easily carried Iowa in his reelection effort and Governor Robert Ray won reelection overwhelmingly, Miller went down to defeat with 530,525 votes to Clark's 662,637.

    In June 1973 President Nixon appointed Miller to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals. He later became a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

    Miller retired in 1985 and moved to Temple Terrace, Florida, where he lived until his death from a heart attack at age 78. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Sources Jack Miller's papers are at the State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City. Voluminous newspaper articles cover his career; see especially Des Moines Register, 2/11/1960, 2/15/1960, 7/21/1960, 8/4/1960, 7/9/1965, 10/9/1972, 11/3/1972, 11/9/1972, 11/21/1972, and 8/30/1994; Des Moines Tribune, 7/22/1959, 5/25/1972, 10/9/1972, and 10/31/1972; Council Bluffs Nonpareil, 2/26/1958; and Cedar Rapids Gazette, 5/26/1958. Wallaces' farmer published Miller's book, farmer Tax Saver, in 1952, with new editions appearing in 1953 and 1954.
Contributor: David Holmgren