Elbert Parr Tuttle (July 17, 1897 – June 23, 1996) was the Chief United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1960 to 1967, when that court became known for a series of decisions crucial in advancing the civil rights of African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. A Republican from Georgia, he was among the judges that became known as the “Fifth Circuit Four“. At that time, the Fifth Circuit included not only Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas (its jurisdiction as of 2012[update]), but also Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and the Panama Canal Zone.
Tuttle graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in 1918 with an Artium Baccalaureus degree. Tuttle was editor in chief of The Cornell Daily Sun. He was also the founder of the Beta Theta chapter of Pi Kappa AlphaFraternity at Cornell and was a member of the Sphinx Head Society. He then fought in World War I in the United States Army Air Service from 1918 to 1919.
Tuttle received a Bachelor of Laws from Cornell Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Cornell Law Quarterly, in 1923. He was a reporter for the New York Evening World for several years while attending law school.
After graduating from law school, he moved to the capital city of Atlanta, Georgia, to practice law with the law firm of Sutherland, Tuttle & Brennan from 1923 to 1953 (the firm is now Eversheds Sutherland). Tuttle worked on tax litigation and also did pro bono work, including with the American Civil Liberties Union, and took on numerous civil rights cases.
Tuttle served as a colonel in the United States Army from 1941 to 1946, in World War II, declining a desk job. He was severely injured after engaging in hand-to-hand combat in Okinawa on the island of Ie Shima. He was awarded numerous medals for his service including the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and the Bronze Service Arrowhead. Tuttle retired as a brigadier general and was often called “The General” by those who worked closely with him. After the War, Tuttle became more involved in politics, working with the Republican Party because of his opposition to segregation, which he associated mostly with southern Democrats. He was a general counsel for the United States Department of the Treasury from 1953 to 1954.