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Federal Judge Wesley Brown Dies At 104

KSCB News - January 25, 2012 8:34 am

The nation’s oldest sitting federal judge has died at the age of 104. U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown passed away Monday night at a Wichita assisted living center.

Judge Brown served nearly 50 years on the federal bench, appointed by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.

He could have retired with full pay in 1976 as a federal judge. But Judge Brown said it was important to keep working as a tribute to those who helped him in the past.

Brown said in an interview that he didn’t want to be known as a judge at 99.

“I want to be known as the judge who does his job and that he does the best under the circumstances of his life,” Brown said.

He was serious in his courtroom and expected others to do the same.

"I always think of the constitution as, not telling people what to do; it says what government can’t do to the people."

Some say Judge Brown has authored more than 5,000 unpublished opinions since 1962. But he also presided over many naturalization ceremonies for legal immigrants.

"It gives you the challenge to seek the truth in your life and in your country and the truth will keep you free," Brown said during a swearing-in ceremony.

As the countries newest citizens realized their dreams, the judge continued his own.

"It means I’m performing a service for the people, my people, my country, which is the most important thing to me,” he said.

Even into his final years, Judge Brown’s age was never a question in the courtroom.

“Age is a state of mind,” he said.


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