Honorable Max Rosenn: conscience and role model of the court.

Author:Garth, Leonard I.

On February 7, 2006, my dear friend and colleague Judge Max Rosenn died. I was deeply saddened by his death as I know all of our colleagues were. As a distinguished jurist on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for more than thirty-five years, Judge Rosenn exemplified those qualities that singularly mark all great appellate judges: he was modest, dignified, fair, courteous, compassionate, courageous, learned and wise. Judge Rosenn was also the conscience of our court, ensuring that the judicial decision-making process in the Third Circuit conformed to the highest standards of integrity and collegiality. For these reasons--and because he was such a wonderful friend--Max will be sorely missed.

Judge Rosenn was born February 4, 1910, and when he died within hours after authoring his last opinion, it was just after his ninety-sixth birthday. As my colleague Judge Weis once reminded us, Judge Rosenn was appointed to our court when he was sixty years old. At that time the appointing authority believed that sixty-year-old nominees should not be appointed to the federal courts because they were not likely to serve even ten years, which was considered the minimum service for a seat on the federal bench. It is ironic--though not surprising to me and his other colleagues--that Max exceeded that standard and served more than thirty-five years on our court--more than thirty-five years of sheer judicial excellence.

We had all hoped that Max would judge until he was at least 120!! That was not to be, but in the course of his 96 years, Judge Rosenn accomplished more than most people could in 120.

A graduate from Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Judge Rosenn also held honorary degrees from Dickinson, Kings College, and College Misericordia. Prior to his judicial service, Max performed noteworthy services for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as Secretary of Public Welfare and as a member of the Governor's Commission to Revise the Public Employee Laws of Pennsylvania. Moreover, Max continued to serve the public interest in various capacities--as the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, as Chairman of the Flood Recovery Task Force of Wyoming Valley following the Hurricane Agnes disaster of 1972, as Chairman of the Governor's Council for Human Services, and as Chairman of the Governor's Committee on Children and Youth. It is obvious that, even leaving aside his primary role as a federal appellate...

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