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District Judges

Maine District Court Judges

David Sewall was the first District Court Judge for Maine, appointed by President George Washington on September 26, 1789.  A graduate of Harvard College and an experienced judge, Judge Sewall, who was born in York, Maine, previously served as an associate justice on the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. He resigned from the District Court on January 9, 1818.

 

 

 

 

Albion Keith Parris, from Hebron, Maine, was appointed the second District Judge in Maine on Januray 28, 1818. He was only 30 years old and was serving as a member of Congress.  After only three years, he resigned from the Court and served six terms as Governor of the State of Maine.  He later served as Comptroller of the Treasury through the administrations of Presidents Van Buren, Harrison, Tyler and Polk.  He was a graduate of Dartmouth College, class of 1806.

 

 

 

Ashur Ware was appointed to the U.S. District Court by President Monroe on February 15,1822 and served with distinction, particularly in the field of admiralty law, for 44 years, until 1866.  Born in Sherborn, Massachusetts, and a graduate of Harvard College, Judge Ware practiced law in Portland and was among the most active “Maine Separatists” during the second decade of the 1800’s.

 

 

 

The fourth District Judge, Edward Fox, a native of Portland, served from May 31, 1866 until his death in 1881.  He was a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.  A pre-eminent trial lawyer with an extensive practice, Judge Fox had served as City Solicitor for Portland and as a state legislator prior to his appointment to the Court.

 

 

 

Nathan Webb, a lifelong resident of Portland, served in the Maine State Legislature, as the Cumberland County Attorney, and as the United States Attorney prior to his appointment on January 24, 1882 to the federal bench by President Arthur.  Judge Webb served for more than twenty years, resigning in 1902.  He was a member of the class of 1846 at Harvard College.

 

 

 

Clarence Hale was born in Turner in 1848, was educated at Bowdoin College, and came to Portland in 1871 to begin his legal career.  He served as the City Solicitor for Portland for three years and in the Maine House of Representatives prior to his appointment as District Judge by President Theodore Roosevelt on May 19, 1902.  He served for 20 years.

 

 

 

President Harding appointed John Andrew Peters, a lifelong resident of Ellsworth, to the District Court on November 14, 1922.  A graduate of Bowdoin College, he studied law at the office of his cousin, Andrew Wiswell, who would later become chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.  A former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Judge Peters served five terms in Congress prior to his appointment to the Court.  He retired in 1947 after 25 years of service.

 

 

 

John D. Clifford, Jr. was appointed to the District Court by President Truman on March 24, 1947 and served until his death in 1956.  Born in Lewiston and educated at Bowdoin College and Georgetown Law School, he practiced law in Lewiston for twenty years prior to serving as the United States Attorney for Maine from 1933 to 1947.

 

 

 

The ninth District Court Judge was Edward Thaxter Gignoux, who was appointed by President Eisenhower on August 26, 1957 and who served in active status until 1982 and in senior status until his death in 1988.  Born in Cape Elizabeth, he graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School.  Judge Gignoux had a national reputation and a celebrated career.  The federal courthouse in Portland bears his name.

In 1979, Congress authorized a second judgeship for the District of Maine, which was filled by George J. Mitchell, on October 5, 1979. A Waterville native, graduate of Bowdoin College and Georgetown Law School, and United States Attorney from 1977 to 1979. Judge Mitchell served for only six months and resigned in 1980 to accept an appointment to the United States Senate to fill the unexpired term of Senator Edmund Muskie, who had become Secretary of State. 

 

 

 

Conrad K. Cyr served with distinction as the United States Bankruptcy Judge in Bangor from 1973 to 1981. In 1981, President Reagan appointed Judge Cyr to the District Court to succeed Judge Mitchell. In 1989, Judge Cyr was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Born in Limestone, Judge Cyr was a graduate of Holy Cross College and Yale Law School.

 

 

 

President Reagan appointed Gene Carter as the District of Maine’s twelfth judge on June 23, 1983 when Judge Gignoux assumed senior status.  Born in Milbridge, Judge Carter was educated at the University of Maine and the New York University School of Law.  Prior to his appointment, Judge Carter had a law practice in Bangor and also served as an Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

 

 

 

Born in Canada, D. Brock Hornby is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and the Harvard Law School.  A naturalized American citizen, Judge Hornby was appointed District Judge by President George H. W. Bush on April 30, 1990.  Prior to his appointment, he practiced law in Portland and had served as the District of Maine’s first full-time United States Magistrate and as an Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

 

 

 

When a third judgeship was authorized, Morton A. Brody, who like his two immediate predecessors had previously served as an Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, was appointed District Judge by President George H.W. Bush on July 25, 1991.  He also previously served as a Justice of the Maine Superior Court.  Born in Lewiston, Judge Brody was a graduate of Bates College and the University of Chicago Law School.  Judge Brody died in 2000.

 

 

 

George Z. Singal was appointed to the United States District Court by President Clinton on July 11, 2000 to fill the vacancy created by the death of Judge Brody.  Born in an Italian refugee camp in 1945, Judge Singal is a naturalized American citizen.  His family emigrated to Bangor in 1949, where he lived and practiced law until his appointment to the Court.  He is a graduate of the University of Maine and the Harvard Law School. 

 

 

 

Bangor native John A. Woodcock, Jr. a graduate of Bowdoin College, the University of Maine School of Law and the London School of Economics was appointed District Judge by President George W. Bush on June 16, 2003 after Judge Carter assumed senior status.  A longtime civil litigator, Judge Woodcock practiced law in Bangor prior to his appointment to the bench.

 

 

 

President Barack Obama appointed Nancy Torresen as Maine’s seventeenth United States District Court Judge on October 4, 2011. Born in Ridgewood, New Jersey and raised in Michigan, Judge Torresen graduated from Hope College and the University of Michigan Law School. Prior to her appointment, Judge Torresen served as an Assistant United States Attorney, an Assistant Attorney General for Maine and a private practitioner.

 

 

 

Judge Jon David Levy is the Court’s eighteenth federal district judge in the District of Maine. Before joining the federal bench, Judge Levy was an Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court from 2002 to 2014. He served as a Maine District Court Judge from 1995 to 2002. Prior to joining the state bench, Judge Levy worked in private practice in York, Maine from 1983 to 1995. He is a graduate of Syracuse University and the West Virginia University College of Law.

 

 

 

Judge Lance E. Walker is the Court’s nineteenth federal district judge in the District of Maine. With deep roots in Maine, Judge Walker attended the University of Maine as an undergrad and then went on to the University of Maine School of Law. Judge Walker served as a law clerk to the Maine Superior Court and worked in the Portland law firm of Norman Hanson DeTroy. Judge Walker was appointed to the Maine District Court in 2014, and in 2015 he became a Justice on the Maine Superior Court.