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Buell Nesbett was born in New Mexico in 1910, worked as a radio operator in the Merchant Marines, earned his law degree from the University of San Francisco in 1940, won the Bronze Star while serving in the Navy in World War II, and came to Alaska in September 1945 to work as a private attorney. Nesbett was one of the first justices to serve on the Alaska Supreme Court when it was established in 1959. He was named Chief Justice of Alaska's highest court in 1959 by Gov. William A. Egan, and served on the court from August 1959 until March 1970, when he retired after he was injured in an airplane accident. Despite many months of recovery after the accident, Nesbett continued to wear a patch over his right eye. He also served as a magistrate in 1946 and 1947, and a bankruptcy court referee from 1948 to 1952. The state courthouse in Anchorage, Alaska is named in Chief Justice Nesbett's honor.
In addition to the interview with Buell Nesbett in the Judges of Alaska Project Jukebox by Claus Naske, he was also interviewed on June 16, 1983. This interview is available at the Joint Archives of the Alaska Court System and the Alaska Bar Association, Alaska State Court Law Library, Boney Courthouse, Anchorage, Alaska (907) 264-0585/(888) 282-2082 and at the Oral History Collection, Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks, (907) 474-6773.