The Court System

Judiciary Act of 1789

Who was the most famous federal appeals court judge to never make it to the U.S. Supreme Court?

Many experts consider Billings Learned Hand to be the greatest federal judge to never serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Hand served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit for many years from 1924 until 1961. Before that, Hand served as a federal district court judge from 1909 until 1924. The U.S. Supreme Court regularly cited his opinions. In fact, legal scholars and the Supreme Court have cited Learned Hand more than any other lower court judge in history. Hand served many years on the court with his first cousin, Augustus Noble Hand, a respected jurist in his own right.


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