The Federal Judges Association, which is the union I belong to, sent out a message today keeping we unionists informed on all manner of things that may impact the brotherhood and sisterhood. On a “light” note, the message ended with “TRIVIA.” In part, it read:
Who has been the longest serving federal judge in U.S. History? Joseph William Woodrough served as a district court judge in the District of Nebraska from 1916 until 1933, and as a circuit court judge in the Eighth Circuit from 1933 until his death in 1977–spanning a period of more than 61 years!
The judge was born in Ohio in 1873, was educated at Heidelberg University in Germany, read law, served as a prosecutor and judge (at age 22) in Texas, and practiced law in Omaha, Nebraska from 1898 to 1916 until he was nominated by President Woodrow Wilson and confirmed by the Senate in 1916 to serve as a district judge. More than six decades of federal judicial service followed. The judge’s service may now be trivia to some, but it certainly was not, and will never be, trivial.*
*For more on the judge, see our archives. The judge was a highly regarded trial lawyer at the time of his appointment to the federal bench. As a contemporary wrote, “He tried single-handed many civil and criminal cases that won for him a statewide reputation. . . . He is one of the most agreeable lawyers that I have ever opposed in the trial of a lawsuit; being pleasant and agreeable, both to the court and the opposing counsel.” Ed F. Morearty, Omaha Memories (Schwart Printing 1917).