Dear Civil Rights and Social Justice Section Members:
We mourn the loss of Judge Robert Katzmann who passed away on June 10th at the age of 68. Judge Katzmann served as Chief Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2013 to 2020. Judge Katzmann assumed the role of senior United States Judge in 2020 and maintained that position until his untimely passing.
Throughout his life, Judge Katzmann was able to contribute substantially to the advancement of civil and human rights. He was instrumental in establishing the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, which evolved into Immigrant Justice Corps, the nation’s first fellowship program dedicated to providing competent counsel for immigrants. He also wrote for the full court in the landmark Second Circuit ruling, Zarda v Altitude Express (2018), holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Supreme Court of the United States recently affirmed that decision in Bostock v. Clayton County.
Notably, Judge Katzmann was connected to the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice in a special way. In 2017, he received our highest honor as a recipient of the annual Thurgood Marshall Award, which is only bestowed upon those who make long-term contributions to the legal profession to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights in the United States.
We will remember Judge Katzmann by continuing to treasure his impact and legacy.
Angela J. Scott, 2020-21 Section Chair, ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice