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Frank Easterbrook

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Frank Easterbrook
Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Title:   Judge
Station:   Chicago, IL
Appointed by:   Ronald Reagan
Active:   4/4/1985-Present
Chief:   2006-9/30/2013
Personal History
Born:   1948
Hometown:   Buffalo, NY
Undergraduate:   Swarthmore College, 1970
Law School:   University of Chicago Law, 1973

Frank Hoover Easterbrook is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He joined the court in 1985 after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan. He served as chief judge of the court from 2006 to September 30, 2013.[1]


Easterbrook graduated from Swarthmore College with his bachelor's degree in 1970 and from the University of Chicago Law with his J.D. in 1973.[2]

Professional career

  • 1981-1985: Professor of law, University of Chicago
  • 1980-1985: Principal employee, Lexecon, Inc., Chicago
  • 1978-1981: Assistant professor of law, University of Chicago
  • 1978-1979: Deputy U.S. solicitor general, U.S. Department of Justice
  • 1974-1977: Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, U.S. Dept. of Justice
  • 1973-1974: Law clerk, Hon. Levin Hicks Campbell, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit[2]

Judicial career

On the recommendation of Congressman Henry Hyde, Easterbrook was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by President Ronald Reagan on February 25, 1985 ,to a new seat created by 98 Stat. 333, 346. Easterbrook was confirmed by the Senate on April 3, 1985, and received commission on April 4, 1985. Easterbrook was the chief judge of the court from 2006 to 2013.[2]

Notable cases

Hal Turner threatens fed. judges (2009)

     United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (United States, v. Harold Turner, 1:09-cr-00542)

Judge Easterbrook faced a death threat from a blogger in New Jersey after his ruling in National Rifle Ass'n of Amer., Inc. v. City of Chicago, 567 F.3d 856, 857 (7th Cir. 2009). The death threat happened after Easterbrook, along with judges Richard Posner and William Bauer unanimously upheld a ban on handguns in the City of Chicago. The judges ruled that the Second Amendment does not preempt Chicago's handgun ban.[3]

Hal Turner, a popular blogger, wrote of his outrage over the decision, suggesting that the judges should be killed and that he would provide information about their home addresses. Initially, Turner was charged in a case where the judges did not participate; in December 2009 that case was declared a mistrial after the jury was deadlocked.[4]

On March 2, 2010, Judge Easterbrook, along with fellow Seventh Circuit judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, were called to testify in the Eastern District of New York. The trial was moved to New York over security issues.[5]

When asked by the prosecuting attorney if the Supreme Court overturned his ruling in McDonald v. Chicago and whether Turner could be correct on his statement, Judge Easterbrook responded by saying, "This blog post says any judge who decides a case incorrectly who should be assassinated. That is not the way the system works."[5]

In August 2010, Turner was convicted in his second trial, and sentenced to 33 months in prison. He appealed, claiming again that he had engaged in political speech protected by the First Amendment. The Second Circuit upheld the conviction, saying that while Turner had a constitutionally protected right to criticize courts, he had no such right, and it is against the law, to threaten the lives of judges with intent. Turner argued that his statements were 'political hyperbole', but this argument was rejected.[6]

See also

External links


Political offices
Preceded by:
NA - new seat
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by: