Wesley E. Brown, 103, is Oldest Federal Judge

Posted: September 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

At 103, Judge Brown, of the United States District Court here, is old enough to have been unusually old when he enlisted during World War II. He is old enough to have witnessed a former law clerk’s appointment to serve beside him as a district judge — and, almost two decades later, the former clerk’s move to senior status. Judge Brown is so old, in fact, that in less than a year, should he survive, he will become the oldest practicing federal judge in the history of the United States.

Upon learning of the remarkable longevity of the man who was likely to sentence him to prison, Randy Hicks, like many defendants, became nervous. He worried whether Judge Brown was of sound enough mind to understand the legal issues of a complex wire fraud case and healthy enough to make it through what turned out to be two years of hearings. “And then,” he said, “I realized that people were probably thinking the same thing 20 years ago.”

“He might be up there another 20 years,” added Mr. Hicks, 40, who recently completed a 30-month sentence and calls himself an admirer of Judge Brown. “And I hope he is.”

The Constitution grants federal judges an almost-unparalleled option to keep working “during good behavior,” which, in practice, has meant as long as they want. But since that language was written, average life expectancy has more than doubled, to almost 80, and the number of people who live beyond 100 is rapidly growing. (Of the 10 oldest practicing federal judges on record, all but one served in the last 15 years.)

Read the whole story —> via nytimes.com

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