Judge Matthew J. Perry served as a judge on the Court of Military Appeals from February 1976 through September 1979, when he left the court to become a United States District Judge in South Carolina. By the time of his death in July 2011, the Columbia, South Carolina federal courthouse in which he worked as a senior judge was named for him.
The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces will hold a memorial session in honor of Judge Perry next Thursday, 12 January, at 1100. The memorial session is open to the public. The keynote speaker will be South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal.
In addition to serving as a judge for 35 years, Judge Perry is remembered as a leading advocate in the legal battle for civil rights. As noted by the Courthouse News Service here, he litigated cases that led to the integration of South Carolina beaches, parks, restaurants, public schools, and Clemson University. Clemson later hired him to represent the university in connection with NCAA rules violations. That’s an example of what this article calls his ability to make “friends of his enemies even as he compelled resistant whites to open public parks and university classrooms to black South Carolinians.”
Judge Perry served in the Army from 1942 to 1946.