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The Honorable Amalya L. Kearse
Class of: 1962
 
Biography

Amalya Lyle Kearse is a judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
 
Kearse was born June 11, 1937, in Vauxhall, New Jersey. Her parents encouraged Kearse to develop her considerable intellectual skills. Her father, the postmaster in her hometown, wanted to become a lawyer, but the Depression prevented him from pursuing his dream. Her mother was a medical doctor who later became an administrator in an antipoverty program. Kearse attended Wellesley College, where she earned her bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1959. "I can trace [the decision to become a litigator] back to a course in INTERNATIONAL LAW at Wellesley," she said. "There was a MOOT COURT, and I found that very enjoyable." Kearse then enrolled at the University of Michigan Law School, and she graduated cum laude in 1962.
Kearse began her legal career with the Wall Street firm of Hughes, Hubbard, and Reed. After seven years of distinguished and diligent work, she was named a partner, becoming the first black female partner in a major Wall Street firm. Her colleagues have praised her for her incisive analytical skills. When asked about Kearse's qualifications, a senior partner at the Hughes, Hubbard firm said, "She became a partner here not because she is a woman, not because she is a black, but because she is just so damned good—no question about it."
 
Kearse's outstanding talents eventually came to the attention of President JIMMY CARTER, who named her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1979. She is the first black woman to serve on that court. During her tenure, she has decided many influential cases. In 1980, she wrote the majority opinion in United States v. Taborda, 635 F.2d 131 (2d Cir. 1980), a case that concluded that the use of a high-powered telescope to observe drug activity inside an apartment without a warrant constituted an unreasonable search and violated the FOURTH AMENDMENT. In other cases, she joined the majority in upholding a New York state ban on SCHOOL PRAYERS (Brandon v. Board of Education of Guilderland Central School District, 635 F.2d 971 [2d Cir. 1980]) and helped overturn a lower court's ruling that Vietnam veterans could sue the manufacturers of Agent Orange for alleged damage (In re "Agent Orange" Product Liability Litigation, 635 F.2d 987 [2d Cir. 1980]).
 
"THE VERY FACT THAT A PERSON IS IN HIS OWN HOME RAISES A REASONABLE INFERENCE THAT HE INTENDS TO HAVE PRIVACY, AND IF THAT INFERENCE IS BORNE OUT BY HIS ACTIONS, SOCIETY IS PREPARED TO RESPECT HIS PRIVACY."

—AMALYA LYLE KEARSE
 
Kearse's name has been on the list of potential nominees to fill vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1991, she was considered for the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice THURGOOD MARSHALL. After President GEORGE H. W. BUSH's controversial nomination of CLARENCE THOMAS, who was eventually confirmed notwithstanding allegations that he had sexually harassed a former coworker, an opinion article in the New York Times urged Bush to nominate Kearse in Thomas's place. The article noted that, because of her years of distinguished service on the court of appeals, Kearse is "among the four or five persons most qualified for the High Court." The article concluded that "what is needed is an appointment that can unify the country in the assurance that the next Supreme Court nominee is a person of unquestioned excellence. Judge Kearse is that person" (New York Times, October 10, 1991). Kearse was considered for the Supreme Court again in 1994 when President BILL CLINTON was evaluating possible replacements for retiring justice HARRY A. BLACKMUN. Earlier, in 1992, Clinton had considered her for the post of attorney general.
 
Kearse is a top-rated bridge player who has written several books about the game. She is a member of the American Law Institute and a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. She has been an adjunct lecturer at New York University Law School, a member of the Executive Committee of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law, and a member of the President's Commission for Selection of Judges. She has also served on the boards of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE'S LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND and the NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE. Kearse has received many awards and honors, including the ORDER OF THE COIF and the Jason L. Honigman Award for outstanding contribution to a law review editorial board.
 
In 1999, Kearse wrote the majority opinion in a false claims case where a former Vermont Agency of Natural Resources attorney alleged that the agency had submitted false claims in regard to several grant programs. The court found that the ELEVENTH AMENDMENT did not bar the suit. The United States Supreme Court issued a 7–2 decision in the case, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources v. United States ex rel. Stevens, 529 U.S. 765 (2000), holding that private individuals have standing to bring so-called "whistle-blower" suits in federal court, but that states cannot be included in the definition of "persons" who can be sued under the law. The Court did not explicitly decide whether the 11th Amendment protects states from being sued under the law.
 
In 2001, one of Kearse's former law clerks, Miguel Estrada, became the center of a political battle in the United States Senate when he was nominated by President GEORGE W. BUSH for a seat on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
 
--From the law.jrank website
 
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Members of Class of 1962
Abele, Joseph Marshall
Adelman, Martin Jerome
Aires, Randolf Hess
Allan, Walter Robert
Bach, William Stayer
Bagley, John Robert
Baker, Joseph Pedrick
Baker, Livingston
Balardo, Marilyn Jean
Bard, Stephen H.
Barnett, Hugh Deaton
Baron, Roger
Barth, J. Edward
Bautista, Antonio Rodriguez
Benning, John Alan
Beresford, Daniel B.
Binkow, Robert Neil
Bischof, George Phillips
Blank, Charles E.
Bordeau, Robert Michael
Borland, Richard S.
Borman, Paul David
Boyden, Joel Michael
Brewer, Ronald James
Britton, John Paul
Brook, David Nathan
Brukoff, William M.
Brusky, George Jean
Buchanan, John C.
Burkhard, Ronald Lee
Burky, Elton Arthur
Burton, Robert G.
Butler, Robert A.
Bynum, David Lonnie
Byrnes, Peter Dennis
Carlson, Victor Duane
Carter, Larry Martin
Champion, James Frederick
Chapman, Donald Roy
Clive, Eric McCredie
Collins, Francis Edward
Cordes, Bernhard Heinrich
Cornelius, Raymond Edward
Crawford, Eben Grant
Cronin, Larry Verlyn
Cutler, Donald Miles
Dales, Douglas Smith
Dartland, Walter Tkaczyk
Davidow, Robert Phillips
Davis, Don Albert
Davis, Steven P.
DeCastro, Amelia Garduno
Deshensky, George Otto
Dever, Charles Herman
DeWitt, Jon Francis
Dohnal, David Edward
Dole, Joseph Scott
Duffett, Benton S.
Dupre, Frederic L.
Dykhouse, David Jay
Echtenkamp, Richard Walter
Edwards, John White
Efron, Morton Leon
Elison, Larry M.
Ellersdorfer, Gerald Frederick
Elliott, Raymond John
Elmer, Brian C.
Elsman, James Leonard
Ferenstein, Marvin Lee
Finkelman, David Lee
Flaggert, James McCreery
Floria, Jon Earl
Flyer, Michael Richard
Frederick, Robert Bruce
Freed, Frederick D.
Friedman, Alan G.
Fruit, Melvyn H.
Fullmer, Jerry Allen
Funk, John W.
Gage, Noel Alan
Gliss, Jurgen
Godfrey, Thomas W.
Goldsmith, Daniel Stefan
Gordon, Fred
Gorton, David McCollum
Gotting, Karl Louis
Grabill, Edward M.
Gray, W. Philip
Greene, Don Harold
Grover, Robert Maine
Haider, Shakir Nasir
Haley, John E.
Hanlon, Arthur Weston
Hanson, Linscott Roberts
Harris, Roger Brenner
Hart, John E.
Heekin, Thomas Donald
Hemry, Jerry Louis
Herlihy, William F.
Herskovitz, Donald Louis
Heth, Morrison Lee
Hodgson, John Emery
Hollman, Philip Stephen
Horrigan, Albert Patrick
Howard, C. Vernon
Hughes, Michael M.
Hurvich, Fred Arnold
Hyde, Richard A.
Jacobs, Norman Allen
Jacobson, Kenneth A.
Johnson, Lynne B.
Jones, B. Todd
Jones, Paul Winston
Jones, William Russell
Kalom, Bruce
Kane, Alan Frank
Kaplan, Allen Carl
Kaplan, Philip Edwin
Karbel, Robert Alan
Katchke, Robert David
Katz, David Herbert
Kearse, Amalya Lyle
Kilbourne, William Truman
King, William Korst
Kirkendall, John Neal
Kline, David Crose
Knight, James Lee
Knotter, James Dewitt
Kortering, Vernon Dale
Koucky, Joseph Paul
Kreger, Conrad William
Kroll, David King
Kruithof, Machiel Robert
Kuesel, John Thomas
Laddon, Warren M.
Lawrence, Joseph Don
Legg, Roger Elliot
Lightman, Gavin Anthony
Litmans, Murray Ian
MacKenzie, Kenneth Charles
MacKinnon, Kirk Logan
Marshall, J. Richard
Martin, Malcolm Elliot
McBride, Robert Terrence
McCormack, Larry Warren
McCracken, William Lobach
McKenney, Chris Lee
McKey, Thomas Joseph
Mekas, Peter George
Metzger, Robert Lee
Michael, William Shaw
Miel, Charles Homer
Mierke, Harvey Oliver
Mikesell, A. David
Miller, Fred Heins
Miller, John David
Miller, Richard Adolph
Mitchell, Jack Ellwood
Montgomery, C. Barry
Mordy, Paul Floyd
Morrison, Harvey S.
Murray, Joseph
Nassar, Ernest George
Naumer, Walter W.
Neuman, Casey
Newton, Francis John
Nicholas, William R.
Nichols, John R.
Niehuss, John Marvin
Ogburn, Robert W.
Olson, Jerald Edward
Oppenneer, G. E.
Osgood, Russell K.
Osofsky, Stephen Joseph
Overton, Alan Doughty
Paisley, Robert W.
Palmer, John Walter
Park, Dale
Parker, Ronald J.
Partoyan, Garo A.
Pendleton, John Braman
Pettibone, George R.
Pfiffner, Hans Peter
Pock, Max A.
Porter, Gerald M.
Powers, Galen Dean
Preis, Jacques Aaron
Press, Russell George
Price, Henry J.
Prince, Richard A.
Prinz, Donald Raymond
Quigley, John Patrick
Rabbideau, Richard Earl
Ransom, Walter Frederick
Reeder, Frank Gordon
Rees, William Bailey
Rein, Irwin Ralph
Reyes, Enrique Miranda
Riseman, Carl M.
Roediger, Joseph Hamblen
Roesner, Peter Lowell
Romweber, Anthony Aprea
Rosenberg, Arthur Gene
Rothmeyer, Pauline Ruth
Ruskin, David Barry
Salle, Jerome Morton
Schechter, David Alan
Schiff, Michael J.
Schmidt, L. William
Schneider, Joseph J.
Scholler, Thomas Peter
Schuyler, John Bain
Schwinck, John Joseph
Seikel, Oliver Edward
Shanor, Stuart Deaton
Shearer, Thomas Cooper
Singer, Daniel E.
Smith, Thomas Dudley
Soutar, David McGill
Spero, Donald James
Steele, Reed Fowler
Steidl, Daniel Hildreth
Stein, Robert David
Stokes, James Leslie
Stone, Donald Paul
Stone, S. Ronald
Stranahan, Duane
Strick, Gerald Jay
Surratt, John Phillip
Suzuki, Yoshio
Swain, Robert William
Symmonds, Charles G.
Takeyama, Roy Yoshi
Taylor, David P.
Taylor, Thomas William
Terkhorn, Robert E.
Timmer, John J.
Titta, Peter A.
Toner, John Glade
Tracey, David Charles
Tucker, Bowen H.
Vana, Kent John
VanTilburg, William D.
Voltz, Charles Edward
Waidley, James Roy
Watkins, Thomas A.
Watts, David Allan
Weinman, David Nelson
Wessling, Robert B.
White, James Justesen
White, Norman James
Wilson, Alvin Jay
Winski, O. Jerrold
Wise, David S.
Wise, John Augustus
Witter, Donald James
Wood, Richard Milo
Woutat, Paul Gustav
Wright, Ralph Lytton
Yock, Robert John
Yost, Raymond Arthur
 
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