United States Court of Appeals For The Second Circuit - Chief Judges

Chief Judges

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless the circuit justice (i.e., the Supreme Court justice responsible for the circuit) is also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the circuit judges. To be chief, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position.

When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

Chief Judge
L. Hand 1948–1951
Swan 1951–1953
Chase 1953–1954
Clark 1954–1959
Lumbard 1959–1971
Friendly 1971–1973
Kaufman 1973–1980
Feinberg 1980–1988
Oakes 1988–1992
Meskill 1992–1993
Newman 1993–1997
Winter 1997–2000
Walker 2000–2006
Jacobs 2006–present


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