Andrew Kleinfeld

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Andrew Kleinfeld
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In office
September 16, 1991 – June 12, 2010
Appointed by George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Alfred Goodwin
Succeeded by Morgan Christen
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Alaska
In office
May 15, 1986 – September 16, 1991
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Seat established
Succeeded by John Sedwick
Personal details
Born (1945-06-12) June 12, 1945 (age 73)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Spouse(s) Judith Smilg
Alma mater Wesleyan University
Harvard University

Andrew Jay Kleinfeld (born June 12, 1945) is a senior judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska.

He is married to Professor Judith Kleinfeld.

Education and professional career

Kleinfeld attended Wesleyan University (B.A. 1966) and Harvard Law School (J.D., 1969). After law school, he clerked for two years for Justice Jay Rabinowitz of the Supreme Court of Alaska. He served as Fairbanks's part-time magistrate for a short time, but was generally in private practice in Fairbanks until his elevation to the bench.

Federal judicial service

After completing his clerkship, Kleinfeld served for three years as a part-time magistrate judge in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska.

He was nominated for a full judgeship by president Ronald Reagan on March 26, 1986, confirmed by the United States Senate on May 14, 1986, and received his commission on May 15, 1986.

On May 23, 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated Kleinfeld to a seat on the Ninth Circuit, vacated by Alfred T. Goodwin. He was confirmed by the Senate on September 12, 1991, and received his commission on September 16, 1991.

Judicial philosophy

Kleinfeld is generally considered a conservative judge, in contrast with the more liberal circuit he sits on. But his background in private practice as a civil and sometimes criminal defense lawyer gives him a more libertarian bent, as evidenced in his opinion in Calabretta v. Floyd [1] and his dissent in U.S. v. Gourde [2]

Involvement in Wal-Mart discrimination case

In 2007, a Ninth Circuit panel affirmed the class action certification in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., a lawsuit initiated by female employees of Wal-Mart against the company for gender discrimination. Kleinfeld wrote a sharply worded dissent, saying "this case poses a considerable risk of enriching undeserving class members and counsel, but depriving thousands of women actually injured by sex discrimination of their just due."[3]

Free speech

Kleinfeld was the author of the unanimous panel decision of Morse v. Frederick, holding that a student who put up a banner supposedly supporting drug legalization was exercising his freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment, and the school principal acted unconstitutionally in suspending him. The school board appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which heard the case on March 19, 2007.

The Supreme Court, in a 2007 majority opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, reversed Kleinfeld's ruling and ruled that the First Amendment does not protect in-school student speech advocating illegal drug use.[4] One key point of disagreement between Judge Kleinfeld's opinion and Chief Justice Roberts' was whether the speech was at or during school. As the banner was displayed across the street from the school (which had been let out for the day), Judge Kleinfeld's panel held that it was an "out of school" activity. Chief Justice Roberts' majority disagreed.



Legal offices
New seat Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Alaska
Succeeded by
John Sedwick
Preceded by
Alfred Goodwin
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Succeeded by
Morgan Christen