The Storied Third Branch

The Storied Third Branch Archive

The Storied Third Branch

A rich tradition of honorable service seen through the eyes of judges

February 2014

 
Avern Cohn"Being Like Boehm":

By Richard C. Wesley, Circuit Judge,
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit


"In 1986, I was elected to the New York Supreme Court, New York's highest trial court. I was to be Judge Boehm's colleague and immediately set a goal that I would 'Be Like Boehm.'..."

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October 2013

 
Avern Cohn"A Pilgrimage":
Commemorating the Magna Carta

By Avern Cohn, U.S. District Judge,
Eastern District of Michigan


"The 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, justly regarded as the foundation of constitutional liberty in the English speaking world, will be celebrated in 2015. Awareness of the anniversary recalls to me my visit to Runnymede..."

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Tommy E. Miller"A Leader of Judges":
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Collings

By Tommy E. Miller, U.S. Magistrate Judge,
Eastern District of Virginia


"When Judge Collings retires in 2014, he will have served as a magistrate judge for the District of Massachusetts for 32 years. Judge Collings has written many published opinions clarifying or explaining the law. One could write at length about his contributions to the development of law. However, as important as these contributions are, his greater contribution has been his leadership in the judiciary. Judge Collings's leadership style is one of patience and persistence. He has led from a wide variety of positions...."

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September 2013

 
James C. Francis"From Advocate to Jurist—Robert L. Carter's
Commitment to Justice":

U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
Judge Robert L. Carter

By James C. Francis, U.S. Magistrate Judge,
Southern District of New York


"As an NAACP lawyer, Robert L. Carter litigated countless milestone cases, including Brown v. Board of Education. He was such a passionate voice for civil rights that it might appear incongruous that he could settle into the role of a neutral arbiter. Yet, he ultimately devoted nearly forty years to serving as a United States District Judge in the Southern District of New York..."

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JULY 2013

 
Stanwood R. Duval, Jr."Solomon on the Bayou":
Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, LA
Seventeenth Judicial District
Judge Leonard Greenburg


By Stanwood R. Duval, Jr.
U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of Louisiana


"I was born and reared in Houma, Louisiana, a relatively small community south of New Orleans. After graduating from law school, I returned home to begin my odyssey as a lawyer. Like many graduates of that period, I was well attuned to the Socratic method but knew very little about practicing law. Leonard Greenburg was a friend of my family and was an esteemed lawyer in our area. When I was in law school, he was elected as District Attorney and shortly after I began practicing law, he was elected as a District Judge. This short essay pays tribute to him—a splendid jurist and an even more splendid human being..."

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MAY 2013

 
Robert C. Hunter"The Honorable Albion Winegar Tourgée":
North Carolina Superior Court Judge
Albion Winegar Tourgée


By Robert N. Hunter, Jr.
North Carolina Court of Appeals


"As an American history buff and avid reader, I am always pleasantly surprised when I discover an American judicial hero whose life's story enjoys periodic popular revivals. Albion Winegar Tourgée is my choice for a "storied" judge. Not only is his own narrative compelling history, but he gave American literature a wealth of narratives of new American citizens, who were confronting freedom after a long night of slavery...."

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Donna S. Stroud"Setting the Standard":
North Carolina Court of Appeals
Chief Judge John C. Martin


By Donna S. Stroud
North Carolina Court of Appeals


"One of the very best things about being a judge is getting to know the other judges. I have been fortunate to meet many other judges from many jurisdictions, from both trial and appellate courts, and without exaggeration I can say that all have been kind, intelligent, and interesting people who truly care about making our system of law and justice work better for everyone. Many of the judges I have worked with, both when I was practicing as an attorney before them and then with them as colleagues, have taught me so much. But one of these judges stands out as someone who exemplifies what a judge should be: Chief Judge John Martin of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In addition to excelling at the usual duties of deciding cases and preparing opinions, he has also excelled at the administrative duties of being Chief Judge as well as improving our courts and legal system in many ways that may not be obvious to those outside of North Carolina's judicial system....."

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APRIL 2013

 
Marilyn L. Huff"A Passion for Justice, Integrity, Professionalism, and Service":
U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
Judge Rudi M. Brewster


By Marilyn L. Huff
U.S. District Judge, Southern District of California


"The Honorable Rudi M. Brewster dedicated his life to justice, integrity, professionalism, and service. I had the privilege of working with him for 37 years. He permitted me, a new lawyer, to try jury cases on my own. He encouraged me, a junior partner, to apply for the federal bench. He supported me, a young chief judge, with his willingness to help. Over this time, I witnessed his eternal optimism, infectious enthusiasm, and commitment to public service. I am honored to share his story...."

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MARCH 2013

 
Eugene R. Wedoff"John Schwartz and Chief Judging":
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois
Chief Judge John D. Schwartz


By Eugene R. Wedoff
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Northern District of Illinois


"There is a difference between being a good judge and being a good chief judge. John Schwartz, who served on the bankruptcy court in Chicago from 1984 to 2010, was certainly a good judge. He ran an effective courtroom, and he issued solid opinions... But—of much more significance to me—John was a great chief judge..."

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FEBRUARY 2013

 
Michael M. Baylson"Remembering the Private Life of Judge Edward R. Becker":
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Circuit Judge Edward R. Becker


By Michael M. Baylson
U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of Pennsylvania


"Edward R. Becker was a most distinguished federal jurist and winner of the Devitt Award. This short essay is about Ed Becker as a person, incidental to his many accomplishments as a judge.."

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Paul S. Diamond"The Remarkable Life and Career of Judge Louis Pollak":
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Judge Louis H. Pollak


By Paul S. Diamond
U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of Pennsylvania


"I first met Lou Pollak in 1974, when I was a student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Lou had just left Yale Law School, where he had earlier served as Dean. Shortly after Lou's arrival in Philadelphia, Penn's Dean announced his resignation. The law faculty was deeply divided as to who would replace him—disagreeing over every candidate but Lou, who did not seek the job. As the consensus choice, he was appointed in 1975 and served as Dean until 1978, when he was appointed to the federal bench...."

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Timothy R. Rice"Greatness by Any Measure":
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Circuit Judge Anthony J. Scirica


By Timothy R. Rice
U.S. Magistrate Judge, Eastern District of Pennsylvania


"Judging is a unique and peculiar art.

It is more learned than taught. And it demands a delicate blend of patience, fairness, judgment, compassion, confidence, and legal brilliance. Some judges achieve greatness by demonstrated excellence in one, or perhaps two, of these attributes. Few do so in all. Fewer still are capable of achieving this type of greatness while also passing on to others the elusive art of judging.

Third Circuit Judge Anthony J. Scirica is such a jurist...”

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DECEMBER 2012

 
"A Great Judge from the Greatest Generation":
U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky
Judge Edward H. Johnstone


By Thomas B. Russell
U.S District Judge, Western District of Kentucky


"I am uncertain as to whether leaders are born or made. The same may be said with those we selectively call great. I do believe we recognize greatness when we see it. Judge Edward Huggins Johnstone is a great judge and a great person. I had the privilege of observing him when he was a practicing lawyer, appearing before him when he was a Circuit Judge in Kentucky and a District Judge for the Western District of Kentucky, and succeeding him in that position after he had taken senior status in 1993. "

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"Protecting Constitutional Rights":
Supreme Court of California
Associate Justice Stanley Mosk


By Richard M. Mosk
Associate Justice, California Court of Appeals, Second District


"My father, Justice Stanley Mosk, is well known for being the longest serving member of the California Supreme Court and for rendering landmark decisions, many of which are in law school textbooks. But prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, he rendered decisions as a trial judge and as California Attorney General that did much to advance civil rights...'"

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"Tribute to Judge John M. Roll":
U.S. District Court, District of Arizona
Chief Judge John M. Roll


By James A. Teilborg
U.S. District Judge, District of Arizona


"In some professions, death is a constant companion. But not in ours. Nothing prepared me for the phone message from our U.S. Marshal on Saturday, January 8, 2011. Before I could return his call, my colleague, Judge Mary Murguia reached me with the news that our beloved friend and District of Arizona Chief Judge John Roll had been fatally wounded in the Tucson massacre, a killing spree that left six dead and many seriously wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. It does not surprise those of us who knew John that his last hours on earth reflected the very essence of his life: faith, family, friends, and the work of the Court. That Saturday started out no differently than most. He attended an early Mass. He was a man of faith who lived out his faith every day and in every way, including regularly attending Mass. By virtue of that faith, he was prepared for what happened, even if we were not...'

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NOVEMBER 2012

 
"Gentleman Judge and Magnificent Man":
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Judge J. William Ditter, Jr.


By Gene E. K. Pratter
U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of Pennsylvania


"The Eastern District of Pennsylvania is a large, collegial trial court where quick humor and timely touches of humanity are as highly valued as intelligence and integrity. Even though this court is one where these characteristics abound, most of our 31 currently serving judges would name J. William Ditter, Jr. as first among equals with the qualities that practitioners and the public place high on the list for exemplary judges and human beings. But there is another reason to shine a light on Bill Ditter. "

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"A Judge's Judge":
Circuit Judge Eugene A. Wright


By Richard C. Tallman
Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


"On September 24, 1969, the judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit convened at the U.S. Courthouse in Seattle for a special session: the investiture of Judge Eugene A. Wright. Locally, the occasion was bittersweet; the Washington state bar was giving away one of its own, and one of its best at that. Judge Wright had served as a respected practitioner and state court judge for 12 years, and he had been, as local attorney William H. Gates, Sr., said at the time, 'the most active and effective member of the organized bar...'"

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"Remembering Justice Weltner":
Supreme Court of Georgia
Justice Charles L. Weltner


By Thomas W. Thrash, Jr.,
U.S. District Judge, Northern District of Georgia


"I approach the task of writing a remembrance of Charles Weltner with a sense of great humility and considerable inadequacy. But the opportunity to write such a remembrance is one that I could not refuse. Charles Weltner was to me – like so many others – a source of inspiration by word and example, and a seminal influence upon my life. The highest compliment that I ever received was that Charles Weltner thought that I should eventually devote myself to public service. ...'

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OCTOBER 2012

 
"Remembering Irving Goldberg":
Judge Irving L. Goldberg


by Diane P. Wood
Federal Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit


"The basic facts about Irving L. Goldberg, who served for 31 years on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, are easy to summarize. Born in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1906, he received his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1926 and his LLB from Harvard Law School in 1929. Upon his graduation, he practiced in several cities in Texas until World War II broke out. Finding himself in Washington, D.C., as a Navy Lieutenant, Goldberg worked with the Committee on Naval Affairs, on which then-Congressman Lyndon Johnson was serving. Another Texan was also serving in Congress at that time – the legendary Sam Rayburn, who became Speaker of the House in 1940. As Judge Goldberg told the story over coffee and donuts, “Lyndon,” “Sam,” and Irving often carpooled around Washington during those days. Their friendship was cemented. ..."

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"Always His Own Man":
Supreme Court of Texas Chief Justice
Andrew Jackson "Jack" Pope, Jr.


by Nathan Hecht
Justice, Supreme Court of Texas


"I’m going to retire, I want you to take my seat, and the Governor agrees,” Texas district judge Allen Wood told the 33-year-old Corpus Christi lawyer.  Jack Pope could hardly believe his ears, and his wife, Allene, was even more incredulous.  Jack had been born and raised in Abilene, and after graduating Abilene Christian College and the University of Texas Law School, had moved to Corpus Christi to practice law with his uncle.  When news broke that he was being considered for the bench, opposition quickly arose ..."

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"Reflections on Judge Edward Weinfeld":
Judge Edward Weinfeld


by John G. Koeltl
U.S. District Judge, Southern District of New York


"Judge Edward Weinfeld was a judge of the Southern District of New York from 1950 until his death in January 1988 at the age of eighty–six.  He remained an active trial judge until his death, never taking senior status. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. described the Judge as 'a day-by-day living example of what we want our judges to be.' The Justice continued: 'There is general agreement on bench and bar throughout this nation that there is no better judge on any court. ...'”

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"A Member of the Greatest Generation":
Judge Glen M. Williams

 

by James P. Jones
U.S. District Judge, Western District of Virginia


"In 2010, U.S. District Judge Glen M. Williams, at the age of 91, announced that he would become inactive after 47 years with the federal court system.  It’s a pleasure for me to recall for others the life of this extraordinary person and judge. I first met Judge Williams in 1968 when I began the practice of law in the mountains of southwest Virginia and he was then a leading member of the bar.  He had served as a part-time U.S. Commissioner for the Western District of Virginia since 1963 and in 1976, when Judge Williams was 56 years old, President Gerald Ford appointed him as a district judge. ..."

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SEPTEMBER 2012

 
The Honorable Patricia Timmons-GoodsonOne In A Generation Kind of Judge:
Chief District Court Judge Anna Elizabeth Keever

by Patricia Timmons-Goodson
Associate Justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina


"Like their counterparts in the federal judiciary, state trial court judges 'handle the bulk of judicial business.' State courts decide ninety-five percent of the cases and controversies filed in our nation, less than one percent of which are heard by the states’ appellate courts. Thus, state trial judges loom large in the application of the rule of law and the stability of the nation. Much of the peace and prosperity we enjoy as a nation, but take for granted, is protected by those state court judges. …"

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J. Garvan Murtha"Vermont's Finest":
Judge James L. Oakes

by J. Garvan Murtha
U.S. District Judge, District of Vermont


"In 1947, Judge Oakes graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, and instead of heading off to a major metropolitan law firm, came to Brattleboro, Vermont, to clerk for the Honorable Harrie Brigham Chase, Vermont’s first member of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Thereafter, he decided to become a trial lawyer. In an unfinished essay he states: "Harvard Law School taught me absolutely zero about being a trial lawyer . . ." and that he developed his talents by reading compilations of British and American trials. I had the pleasure of sharing the courthouse in Brattleboro, Vermont, with Judge Oakes for almost 13 years until his passing away in 2007. He was a close friend, mentor and a brilliant and thoughtful jurist. ..."

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Harris L .Hartz"Frontier Justice":
New Mexico Federal Judges H. Vearle Payne, Edwin Mechem, and Howard Bratton

by Harris L Hartz
U.S. Court of Appeals Judge, Tenth Circuit


"I consider myself most fortunate to have started my legal career in 1972 in federal district court in New Mexico. I was an assistant United States attorney for three years, so all my cases were before the three members of the district court: Judges H. Vearle Payne, Edwin Mechem, and Howard Bratton. They were very different people, but I came to respect, admire, and grow fond of all of them. ..." 

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