|Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit|
January 31, 1991 - July 31, 2014
|Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit|
|James L. Oakes|
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit|
March 7, 1966 - January 31, 1991
|Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York|
October 5, 1961 - March 7, 1966
|John F. Kennedy|
|Seat established by 75 Stat. 80|
June 22, 1920
New York City, New York
|Died||July 31, 2014 (aged 94)|
New York City, New York
|Education||Columbia University (BA)|
Columbia Law School (LLB)
Wilfred Feinberg (June 22, 1920 - July 31, 2014) was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and previously was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Born on June 22, 1920, in New York City, New York and of Jewish descent, Feinberg received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1940 from Columbia University and received a Bachelor of Laws in 1946 from Columbia Law School where he was editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review. He was in the United States Army from 1942 to 1945. He was a law clerk for Judge James P. McGranery of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1947 to 1949. He was in private practice in New York City from 1949 to 1961. He was deputy superintendent of the New York State Department of Banks in 1958.
Feinberg received a recess appointment from President John F. Kennedy on October 5, 1961, to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, to a new seat authorized by 75 Stat. 80. He was nominated to the same position by President Kennedy on January 15, 1962. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 16, 1962, and received his commission on March 17, 1962. His service terminated on March 7, 1966, due to elevation to the Second Circuit.
Feinberg was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson on January 19, 1966, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated by Judge Thurgood Marshall. He was confirmed by the Senate on March 4, 1966, and received his commission on March 7, 1966. He served as Chief Judge from 1980 to 1988. He was a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1980 to 1988. He assumed senior status on January 31, 1991. He took inactive senior status in 2011. His service terminated on July 31, 2014, due to his death in New York City.
Feinberg authored many seminal opinions, including United States v. Miller, which upheld the constitutionality of a federal law prohibiting the burning of draft cards, NLRB v. J.P. Stevens & Co, the labor union case that inspired the movie, Norma Rae, and Kelly v. Wyman.
In 2004 Feinberg received the 22nd Annual Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award, which honors an Article III judge whose career has been exemplary, as measured by the significant contributions to the administration of justice, the advancement of the rule of law, and the improvement of society as a whole. He has also been awarded the Learned Hand Medal for Excellence in Federal Jurisprudence and the Edward Weinfeld Award. In the pages of the Columbia Law Review, Professor Maurice Rosenberg summarized Feinberg's career, writing "Wilfred Feinberg is the kind of jurist the Founding Fathers must have had in mind when they bestowed life tenure on federal judges. His first twenty-five years on the bench have revealed qualities of mind and conscience that are of the kind most sought after in a judge. Feinberg regards judicial office as a way to serve justice, not as a chance to wield power. And he renders his service superbly -- with intelligence, understanding, kindness, and craftsmanship. He is animated by a disciplined compassion that flows from a humane mind committed to the law".
Feinberg's former clerks include many law professors, including Lee Bollinger (President of Columbia University), Thomas Joo (UC Davis School of Law),Rachel Moran (Dean of UCLA School of Law), Richard Revesz (Dean of New York University Law School and Director of the American Law Institute), David Wippman (Dean of the University of Minnesota Law School), and David Wilkins (Professor at Harvard Law School); judges, including Judge Gerard E. Lynch, United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit (and Professor of Law at Columbia), and Judge Michael Dolinger, United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of New York, public servants such as Francis Blake, former general counsel of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and prominent public interest lawyers, including Ralph Cavanagh of the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco and Penda Hair of Advancement Project in Washington, D.C. Feinberg's papers are housed at the Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Library.