Robert A. Katzmann is a United States Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from September 1, 2013 - August 31, 2020. At his appointment to the federal bench in 1999, he was Walsh Professor of Government, Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University; a Fellow of the Governmental Studies Program of the Brookings Institution; and president of the Governance Institute.
A lawyer and political scientist by training, Judge Katzmann received his A.B. (summa cum laude) from Columbia College, A.M. and Ph.D in government from Harvard University, and a J.D. from the Yale Law School, where he was an Article and Book Review Editor of the Yale Law Journal. After clerking on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, he joined the Brookings Institution, where he was a research associate, senior fellow, visiting fellow, and acting program director. His books include: the recently published Judging Statutes; Regulatory Bureaucracy; Institutional Disability; Courts and Congress; editor and project director of The Law Firm and the Public Good; co-editor of Managing Appeals in Federal Court; editor and contributing author of Daniel Patrick Moynihan: The Intellectual in Public Life; and editor and contributing author of Judges and Legislators.
As Chief Judge, he launched a wide-ranging civic education initiative of the federal courts of the Second Circuit, Justice For All: Courts and the Community, to increase public understanding of the federal judiciary and to bring courts closer to the communities they serve. During his tenure as Chief Judge, the Court of Appeals also undertook a 125th anniversary retrospective.
In his early years on the bench, Judge Katzmann witnessed the inadequate legal representation of non-citizens and its adverse impact on the fair and effective administration of justice. Greatly concerned, in 2007 he delivered the Marden Lecture of the New York City Bar, The Legal Profession and the Unmet Needs of the Immigrant Poor, and, inspired by the enthusiastic response, soon after organized an interdisciplinary Study Group on Immigrant Representation, from which emanated the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, the first government funded program of legal counsel for detained noncitizens. Chief Judge Katzmann sparked the creation, in 2014, of the non-profit Immigrant Justice Corps, the country's first fellowship program for recent law school and college graduates, dedicated to meeting the need for high-quality legal assistance for immigrants.
His honors include the Learned Hand Medal of the Federal Bar Council, the Edward Weinfeld Award of the New York County Lawyers Association, the Fuld Award of the New York State Bar Association, the Green Bag award for legal writing, the Charles E. Merriam Award of the American Political Science Association, the Thurgood Marshall Award of the American Bar Association, membership as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and several honorary degrees. He has served on many judicial and governmental committees, and on law school boards, including, by appointment of the Chief Justice, as Chair of the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on the Judicial Branch, a member of the Executive Committee of the U.S Judicial Conference and as Chair of the Supreme Court Fellows Commission.