We have written our monthly column addressing Second Circuit developments since November 1985, totaling 425 columns. Over the past 36+ years, we have had the privilege of reading more than 15,000 opinions, authored by 45 different Second Circuit Judges (in addition to Judges from other Circuits and District Courts, sitting by designation on the Second Circuit), covering every issue imaginable. We have observed the innovations and priorities of nine different Chief Judges. Perhaps no judge has had a greater salutary impact on more issues within and outside the Second Circuit than former Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann, who passed away on June 9th. We break from our tradition of covering Second Circuit developments this month to discuss the indelible impact Chief Judge Katzmann left on the Second Circuit and the broader community.
President Clinton nominated Judge Katzmann to the Second Circuit on March 8, 1999, to fill the seat vacated by Judge Jon O. Newman. Judge Katzmann served as a Circuit Judge from 1999 to 2012, as Chief Judge from 2013 to 2020, and he assumed senior status in January 2021. During his 22 years on the Second Circuit, Chief Judge Katzmann wrote hundreds of opinions, authored several books, including a seminal work on statutory interpretation, Judging Statutes, and launched numerous groundbreaking initiatives, including the Immigrant Justice Corps, which paired recent law school graduates with unrepresented immigrants facing daunting legal proceedings, and Justice For All: Courts and the Community, a circuit-wide civic education initiative, in which judges, court personnel, attorneys and educators collaborate to improve the accessibility, effectiveness and acceptance of public institutions.