Louis Pollak (1922-2012)

From the federal courthouse comes the very sad news that Senior District Court Judge Louis Pollak has died.  Judge Pollak, a jurisprudential giant, mentor to many, and former dean of both Yale and Penn Law Schools, served on the bench from 1978 until his death.  He will be missed.


(Update: The Inquirer’s brief obituary is here, though obviously there is much more that could and will be said.)

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5 Responses

  1. Howard Wasserman says:

    Very sad news. I knew his clerks both years I was on EDPa and it looked like the most unique clerkship–a perfect combination of a district court and appellate court clerkship because Judge Pollak spent so much time sitting by designation on the Third Circuit.

  2. Orin Kerr says:

    I met him once or twice, and he seemed like a mensch and a true gentleman.

  3. Shag from Brookline says:

    The NYT obit noted that Judge Pollak would come off the bench at criminal trials to shake the hands of defendants. We may never find out, but I wonder how these defendants reacted. Were those handshakes demonstrative of the presumption of innocence in his court?

  4. Joe says:

    The bit about letting the defendant to be alone with her child and articles like “Louis H. Pollak, Teacher and Friend,” suggest the hand shaking reflects a certain respect for the humanity of the defendants. I don’t know about presumption of innocence. Perhaps. But, like a handshake in the robing room with people you think are very wrong, I think it might go beyond that.

  5. Shag from Brookline says:

    Comment #3 correction: this was based not on a NYT obit but Lincoln Caplan’s column on 5/10/12 at the Editorial Page. (Today’s Sunday NYT has an obit on Judge Pollak that does not make reference to his handshakes but emphasizes his connection with Brown v. Board of Education, a great contribution.