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Friendly, Henry J. (1903–1986)

FRIENDLY, HENRY J. (1903–1986)

Henry J. Friendly was among the greatest federal judges of the twentieth century. After graduating from Harvard Law School (where he was president of the Harvard Law Review) and clerking for Justice louis d. brandeis, Friendly entered private practice in New York City, where he had a distinguished career. Appointed to the united states court of appeals for the Second Circuit in 1959 by President dwight d. eisenhower, Judge Friendly served on the court for twenty-seven years until his death.

Judge Friendly's unquestioned brilliance, his towering intellect, and his unrelenting concern with the facts are reflected in his judicial opinions in almost every area of the law. His contributions to administrative law and federal jurisdiction, two areas in which he took a special interest, are unsurpassed in their analytical power and insight. In addition, Judge Friendly's opinions on securities law and criminal procedure are widely regarded as unequaled in their thoughtfulness, craft, and scholarship. Perhaps Judge Friendly's extraordinary ability for deft analysis of legally and factually complex issues was most impressively displayed in the series of comprehensive opinions he wrote during the 1970s for the Special Railroad Court. This court was established to handle the litigation arising over the congressionally directed reorganization of the eastern railroads, many of which were in bankruptcy reorganization.

In addition to his prolific output of judicial opinions, Judge Friendly wrote a number of influential law review articles as well as a short book on federal jurisdiction. He was also active in the American Law Institute. Perhaps the unique combination of talents that Judge Friendly possessed are most succinctly captured by the thought that he was considered to be a lawyer's lawyer, a scholar's scholar, and a judge's judge.

Walter Hellerstein


Symposium 1984 In Honor of Henry J. Friendly. University of Pennsylvania Law Review 133:1–77.

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