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Joseph Tyree Sneed, III: Wikis


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Joseph T. Sneed, III (July 21, 1920 – February 7, 2008) was a respected member of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for nearly 35 years until his death at his home in San Francisco, California.


Early life

Sneed was born in Calvert, Texas (outside Austin). He spent his youth working summers as a cowboy on his uncle's ranch in the Texas Panhandle.


Sneed attended the University of Texas School of Law, where he received his LL.B., Order of the Coif in 1947. The school offered him an assistant professor position upon graduation. He became an associate professor in 1951 and was made a full professor in 1954. The law school subsequently established an endowed scholarship in his name. Mr. Sneed also spent 10 years on the faculty of his law school alma mater.

In addition to his law degree, Sneed received a S.J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1958. He earned his undergrad degree from Southwestern University in 1941 and served as a Staff Sergeant in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Sneed moved on to teach at Cornell Law School from 1957 to 1962, Stanford Law School from 1962 to 1971 (two of Sneed's colleagues on the Ninth Circuit bench, Judges Pamela A. Rymer and Raymond C. Fisher, both studied tax law under him at Stanford), and Duke University School of Law from 1971 to 1973, where he was Dean. Sneed then briefly served in the United States Department of Justice as Deputy Attorney General in 1973 before his nomination to the federal bench.


Judicial service

Sneed was nominated by President Nixon to a seat vacated by Frederick G. Hamley on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on July 25, 1973, was confirmed by the Senate on August 3, 1973, and received his judicial commission on August 24, 1973. He served as an active judge of the court until taking senior status on July 21, 1987. He continued to hear cases and serve the court in other capacities for many more years. At the time of his death, he was the fourth most senior judge on the court.

Over his long career, Judge Sneed served on advisory committees to the Ninth Circuit, the Federal Judicial Center, the American Judicature Society and the American Bar Association.

Sneed was part of a controversial three-judge panel that replaced Whitewater special prosecutor Robert B. Fiske with Kenneth Starr in 1994. Fiske was replaced after he found there were insufficient grounds to bring charges against the Clinton Administration. The two other judges were David B. Sentelle and John D. Butzner. Sentelle was a Reagan appointee from North Carolina whose political patron was Jesse Helms. Butzner was a holdover from the LBJ era. Political conservatives, such as Rush Limbaugh, had called for Fiske's removal. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

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Personal life

Sneed was married to Madelon Juergens Sneed, a portrait and abstract artist, who predeceased him. Together they had a son and two daughters, including noted businesswoman Carly Fiorina. He died in San Francisco, California.

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Ralph E. Erickson
United States Deputy Attorney General
Succeeded by
William Ruckelshaus


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