Robert Y. Thornton

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Robert Y. Thornton
Robert Thornton.jpg
Judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals
In office
Preceded by Edward H. Branchfield
Succeeded by Jonathan Uhry Newman
Oregon Attorney General
In office
January 5, 1953 – May 20, 1969
Governor Paul L. Patterson
Elmo Smith
Robert D. Holmes
Mark Hatfield
Tom McCall
Preceded by George Neuner (R)
Succeeded by Lee Johnson (R)
Oregon State Representative
3rd District, Tillamook
In office
Preceded by Edward A. Geary (R)
Succeeded by Harry C. Elliott (R)
Personal details
Born (1910-01-28)January 28, 1910
Portland, Oregon
Died November 29, 2003(2003-11-29) (aged 93)
Salem, Oregon[1]
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Dorothy Marie Haberbach
Children 1 son
Occupation Attorney, Jurist

Robert Y. Thornton (January 28, 1910 – November 29, 2003) was an American attorney, politician, and jurist in the U.S. state of Oregon.[2] A Democrat, he was the second-longest serving Oregon Attorney General in the state's history, holding that office from 1953 to 1969. His 16-year tenure was second only to Republican Isaac Homer Van Winkle, who bested him by seven years, serving from 1920 to 1943.[3] Thornton was the Democratic nominee for Oregon Governor in 1962, losing in the general election to incumbent Mark Hatfield.[4]

His ultimate defeat by Republican Lee Johnson, who garnered some 80,000 more votes than Thornton in the 1968 general election, became a matter for the courts. Thornton challenged the outcome by bringing a suit charging that Johnson had violated campaign spending limits and falsified a report by signing the blank form. Johnson admitted he had done so in anticipation of being out of the country when the report was to be filed. A three-judge panel in Marion County ruled in favor of Thornton, invalidating the election results and awarding Thornton an additional term. The Oregon Supreme Court overturned that decision and awarded the office to Johnson, on the grounds that neither violation was deliberate and that both had occurred after the election.[3]




  • Thornton, Robert Y. (March–April 1956). "Organized Crime in the Field of Prostitution". Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science. 46 (6): 775–779. doi:10.2307/1139977. JSTOR 1139977.


  1. ^ "Lewiston Morning Tribune - Google News Archive Search".
  2. ^ a b c "Robert Y. Thornton". Marquis Who's Who, 2006. Marquis Who's Who. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-08.
  3. ^ a b "Ex-attorney general, judge dies at 93". The Register Guard. Eugene, Oregon: Register-Guard. December 4, 2003. pp. 10A.
  4. ^ Balmer, Donald G. “The 1962 Election in Oregon”. The Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 2, A Symposium: The 1962 Elections in the West (Jun., 1963), Western Political Science Association. pp. 453-459.
  5. ^ "Oregon Legislative Assembly (46th) 1951 Regular Session" (PDF). Oregon State Archives Division (Official website). Oregon Secretary of State. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-08.
Legal offices
Preceded by
George Neuner
Oregon Attorney General
Succeeded by
Lee Johnson
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert D. Holmes
Democratic nominee for Governor of Oregon
Succeeded by
Robert W. Straub
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