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Kenneth C. Davis, 94; Legal Scholar, Pioneer on Administrative Law

September 23, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Kenneth Culp Davis, a legal scholar who pioneered the field of administrative law half a century ago, has died. He was 94.

Davis, whose 1951 book "Administrative Law" and supplemental 1958 treatise on the topic continue to guide 21st century lawyers, died Aug. 30 in San Diego of causes related to aging.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday September 25, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Kenneth C. Davis -- In Tuesday's California section, the obituary of Kenneth C. Davis incorrectly stated that he taught at UC San Diego from 1976 until 1994. Davis taught at the University of San Diego.

By pulling together information scattered through works on constitutional, procedural and evidence law, Davis virtually created a guidebook for the thousands of lawyers who practice before governmental administrative agencies and the judges who review agency decisions. More than 4,500 judicial citations refer to Davis' books.

"Davis' shadow falls over virtually all that administrative lawyers do," Bill Funk, chairman of the American Bar Assn.'s administrative law section, said in a statement issued by UC San Diego. "To say he was a giant in his field is like saying Mt. Everest is a big mountain."

Davis, who taught law at UC San Diego from 1976 until his retirement in 1994, also helped draft the federal 1946 Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the relations between federal administrative agencies and the businesses and people they oversee.

Among Davis' other influential writings were the 1969 monograph "Discretionary Justice," about how policy can vary under individual administrators, and the related "Police Discretion" in 1975.

Born in Leeton, Mo., Davis earned his bachelor's degree at Whitman College and law degree at Harvard University. He practiced briefly in Cleveland before turning to legal education, teaching at the universities of West Virginia, Texas, Minnesota, Chicago and Harvard, before moving to San Diego.

Davis was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1979.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Inger; two children from his previous marriage, Malcolm Davis and Margaret Davis Galanti; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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