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Edward Weinfeld

Edward Weinfeld
Federal Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
In office
Nominated by Harry S. Truman
Preceded by George Murray Hulbert
Succeeded by John S. Martin Jr.
Personal details
Born (1901-05-14)May 14, 1901
Manhattan, New York
Died January 17, 1988(1988-01-17) (aged 86)
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Lillian Stoll
Children Fern Cohen
Ann Schulman
Alma mater New York University
Religion Jewish

Edward Weinfeld (May 14, 1901 – January 17, 1988) was a longtime federal judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York,[1] from 1950 to 1988.

Born on Manhattan's Lower East Side, to Jewish immigrant parents, Fanny (née Singer) and Abraham Weinfeld. Both originating from the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, his father was born in Gorlice, while his mother originated from the village of Leles. Weinfeld attended DeWitt Clinton High School and the New York University School of Law, receiving an LL.B. in 1921 and an LL.M. in 1924. After working for more than a decade as a practicing lawyer in Manhattan, Weinfeld served as Commissioner of Housing for New York State from 1939 to 1942, when he became vice president and a director of the New York State Citizens Housing and Planning Council.

In 1950, U.S. President Harry S. Truman named Weinfeld to the district bench. During his 38 years as a federal judge, Weinfeld was widely esteemed as one of the best judges in the country, known for giving detailed attention and writing persuasive opinions in every case assigned to him, large or small. Often quoted is his statement, "[E]very case is equally important." A 1983 article in American Lawyer magazine described him as the best judge within the geographical reach of the Second Circuit.

Cases decided by Weinfeld during his long career included the famed libel suit brought by Quentin Reynolds against Westbrook Pegler (immortalized by lawyer Louis Nizer in his book My Life in Court), and the antitrust case striking down a proposed merger of Bethlehem Steel and Youngstown Sheet and Tube.

During the 1970s, Weinfeld also served as a member of the Commission on the Bankruptcy Laws of the United States, which was charged with reforming and updating the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, culminating in passage of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978.

Weinfeld was the oldest federal judge in active service in the nation when he died in 1988, at the age of 87. He is memorialized by an endowed professorship at New York University Law School and in the names of several awards presented by bar associations.

Many of Weinfeld's law clerks, such as William Eskridge, John G. Koeltl, Martin Lipton, T. Alexander Aleinikoff, and Eben Moglen have gone on to great success in the legal profession, including some who have become judges themselves.


  1. ^ Edward Weinfeld: A Judicious Life. New York: Federal Bar Foundation, 1998.
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