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Robert E. Woodside

Robert Elmer Woodside, Jr. (June 4, 1904 – March 18, 1998) was an American politician and judge. He served four terms as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, one term as Attorney General, and one term on the Superior Court.[1][2]

Robert E. Woodside, Jr.
Robert E. Woodside, Jr., 1904-1998.jpg
Circa 1951
Justice of the Pennsylvania Superior Court
In office
Pennsylvania Attorney General
In office
March 7, 1951 – October 1, 1953
GovernorJohn S. Fine
Preceded byCharles J. Margiotti
Succeeded byFrank Truscott
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1904-06-04)June 4, 1904
Millersburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania
DiedMarch 18, 1998(1998-03-18) (aged 93)
Sun City, Maricopa County, Arizona
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)F. Fairlee Habbart
Alma materDickinson College


Early lifeEdit

Woodside was born in Millersburg, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert E. and Ella Neitz Woodside. He attended Dickinson College, where he was a member of the Raven's Claw Society, graduating in 1926. He received a law degree from Dickinson School of Law in 1928. He married F. Fairlee Habbart in 1931, and they would have three children.[3]

Political careerEdit

Early political careerEdit

He was first elected to the State House of Representatives in 1932 and served four terms, until 1941. From 1939 to 1941, he was Republican Floor Leader.[1] He was then appointed a judge on the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, where he served until he was appointed state Attorney General in 1951. He was appointed in 1953 to fill a vacancy on the state Superior Court. He was elected to a full ten-year term in 1954 and lost his 1964 bid for re-election.

Slot machine raidsEdit

Slot machines were illegal in Pennsylvania under an 1805 law, prohibiting mechanical gambling devices. Still, slot machines were popular at political clubs as fundraisers.

In 1951, President Harry Truman signed legislation banning the interstate transportation of slot machines in violation of state law.[4] Woodside, with Pennsylvania Governor John S. Fine's encouragement, undertook an enforcement campaign against the machines. The first state Attorney General to do so, Woodside sent the State Police on thousands of raids when local district attorneys refused to co-operate. Over 700 clubs folded after their slot machines had been destroyed. In Erie, the mayor, the police chief, and twelve others would be found guilty in 1954 of bribery and conspiracy regarding the machines.[5]

Later political careerEdit

Woodside was appointed in 1953 to fill a vacancy on the state Superior Court. He was elected to a full ten-year term in 1954 but lost his 1964 bid for re-election.

In 1962, Woodside had been drafted to run for state governor. US Senator Hugh Scott strongly opposed Woodside and ran in opposition but withdrew when party leaders backed William Scranton, then relatively unknown.[6]

Later careerEdit

Woodside was an adjunct professor at Dickinson School of Law (1970-1990). He was a partner in the law firm Mette, Evans & Woodside.


He died on vacation in Sun City, Arizona.[1][2]


  • My Life and Town. Millersburg. 1979.
  • Pennsylvania Constitutional Law. Sayre, Pa: Murelle Printing Company. 1985.


  1. ^ a b c "Robert E. Woodside, Jr". Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  2. ^ a b "Robert Woodside, 93, Ex-Pennsylvania Judge And State House Leader". The Morning Call. March 22, 1998.
  3. ^ Allen, Alice, ed. (1952). The Pennsylvania Manual (1951–52). 90. p. 643.
  4. ^ Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1951. 7. p. 201.
  5. ^ Beers, Paul B. (2010). Pennsylvania Politics Today and Yesterday: The Tolerable Accommodation. Penn State Press. p. 176.
  6. ^ Klein, Philip Shriver; Hoogenboom, Ari Arthur (1980). A History of Pennsylvania. Penn State Press. p. 513.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles J. Margiotti
Attorney General of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Frank Truscott