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Federal Judge Robert Kelleher Dies at 99

Posted Jun 22, 2012 8:06 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Updated: Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Kelleher of Los Angeles has died at the age of 99.

Kelleher was the nation’s oldest federal judge on the bench at the time of his death, report City News Service, the Metropolitan News-Enterprise and the Associated Press report. He didn’t hold the record, however. U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown, who died at the age of 104 in January, was the oldest-ever sitting federal judge.

Kelleher served more than 40 years on the bench. In recent years, Kelleher made news for Internet decisions, City News says. One held that eBay wasn’t liable for copyright infringement for selling bootleg movies on its website. Another held that Web suffixes such as .com can’t be trademarked. In the 1970s, he ruled that prosecutors were immune from civil liability for their official acts, a decision that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Kelleher was a former tennis champion. He also formerly served as president of the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association, where he “helped lead tennis into the modern open era,” the Los Angeles Times says.

"Kelleher’s numerous contributions to the legal and tennis professions are exceptional and long-lasting," American Bar Association President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III said in a statement. "He will be sorely missed."

Updated at 1:26 p.m. to include Robinson's statement.

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