Judiciary

103-Year-Old Federal Judge Is ‘Sharp and Capable’ and Still on the Job


U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown, one of four Kennedy appointees still on the bench, is nearing a record.

In less than a year, the 103-year-old Wichita judge will be (God willing) the oldest practicing judge in the history of the federal bench, the New York Times reports.

Brown’s “mere presence in his courtroom is seen as something of a daily miracle,” the Times story says. “His diminished frame is nearly lost behind the bench. A tube under his nose feeds him oxygen during hearings. And he warns lawyers preparing for lengthy court battles that he may not live to see the cases to completion, adding the old saying, ‘At this age, I’m not even buying green bananas.’ ”

In his earlier years, the Times says, Brown was known for his temper, showing no patience for “lateness, casual dress and the unacceptably imprecise word ‘indicate,’ ” the story says. One defense lawyer used to take a Valium before appearing before the judge.

But Brown has mellowed. Lawyers interviewed by the Times called him “sweet” and “inspirational.” A few years ago, they worried about Brown’s long pauses while speaking in court, but the lapses stopped when he began using an oxygen tank. Today, Brown is viewed as “sharp and capable,” the Times says.

Also see:

ABAJournal.com: “Meet Wesley Brown: At 102, He’s the Oldest Active Federal Judge in U.S.”

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