U.S. District Judge Wesley E. Brown, the oldest sitting federal judge in the country, died Monday night, according to the Associated Press. Brown was appointed by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, and was the longest serving judge on that court. Federal judges, of course, serve under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, and once appointed remain on the court for life, unless they decide to retire or are impeached.

Eventhough he lived in an assisted living facility, he was still presiding over cases. He achieved senior status in 1979, which is akin to a form of retirement, allowing judges to reduce their caseload. Brown, however, continued to preside over a full caseload, only removing himself from the assignment of new criminal cases last March.

Brown was honored and commended by Congress on his 100th birthday in 2007. The resolution discusses how Brown worked on the assembly line for the Ford Motor Company assembling Model 'A' Fords during the day, while taking law classes at night at The Kansas City School of Law. (He later had the task of typing up some 3,000 pink slips for the company, including his own.)

He was also elected county attorney, enlisted in the Navy and served as a Lieutenant commander in the Philippines, helped pass legislation for flood control measures in Kansas, served as President of the Kansas Bar Assocation, and engaged in many other legal and service related activities.

He declared that regarding his position as a federal judge, "As long as I can do the job, I'll carry on." I'm sure that his loss will be felt in the State of Kansas and beyond. His was a career that any attorney might aspire to.

 

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