Chester J. Straub

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Chester Straub
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
In office
June 3, 1998 – July 16, 2008
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Joseph McLaughlin
Succeeded by Gerard Lynch
Personal details
Born (1937-05-12) May 12, 1937 (age 81)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Saint Peter's University
University of Virginia

Chester John Straub (born May 12, 1937) is a Senior Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit headquartered in New York City.


Straub was born on May 12, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York City. He received a B.A. degree from St. Peter’s College in 1958, and his LL.B. degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 1961. Straub served as a First Lieutenant in U.S. Army Intelligence and Security from 1961 to 1963. In 1963, he began the private practice of law with Willkie Farr & Gallagher, where he became a partner in 1971, and where he remained until his appointment as a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1998. Straub’s private practice was concentrated in litigation, regulatory agencies and governmental affairs.

He was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1967 to 1972, sitting in the 177th, 178th and 179th New York State Legislatures; and a member of the New York State Senate from 1973 to 1975, sitting in the 180th and 181st New York State Legislatures.[1]

In 1998, President Bill Clinton nominated Straub to the Second Circuit. He took office on June 3, 1998.

In January 2006, Straub was one of the three judges selected to hear National Abortion Federation v. Gonzales, 437 F.3d 278, one of the cases later folded into and resolved by Gonzales v. Carhart. The Second Circuit thereby became one of three circuits to uphold district court rulings against the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Out of the nine circuit court judges who ruled on this issue, Straub was the only one to dissent, voting to reverse the district court and uphold the Act.

Straub took senior status on July 16, 2008.

On October 18, 2012, Straub dissented[2] in Windsor v. United States, a case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held in an opinion written by prominent conservative Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs, that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.[3] Of the six circuit judges to rule on challenges to DOMA Section 3 brought by married same-sex couples, Straub was the only judge to find the law constitutional. He wrote that DOMA could easily be justified by Congress' "common sense." Straub also stated that DOMA was constitutional because "the state is . . . interested in preventing 'irresponsible procreation,' a phenomenon implicated exclusively by heterosexuals," and that "reserving federal marriage rights to opposite-sex couples 'protect[s] civil society.'" Straub went on to say that courts have no role in protecting minorities' civil rights "where there is a robust political debate because doing so poisons the political well, imposing a destructive anti-majoritarian constitutional ruling on a vigorous debate." [4] On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court affirmed that DOMA Section 3 was unconstitutional because there was "strong evidence" that the "essence" of the law was "'a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group.'" [5]


  1. Circuit Judges' Biographical Information. United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  2. Judge Straub. "Windsor v. USA - Dissent from Majority Ruling" (PDF). 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. Retrieved October 19, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Windsor v. USA" (PDF). United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Retrieved October 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Windsor v. United States". New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Windsor v. United States" (PDF). United States Supreme Court. Retrieved June 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
New York Assembly
Preceded by
Sidney Lebowitz
New York State Assembly
35th District

Succeeded by
John G. Lopresto
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Jeremiah B. Bloom
New York State Senate
17th District

Succeeded by
Major R. Owens
Preceded by
Vander L. Beatty
New York State Senate
18th District

Succeeded by
Thomas J. Bartosiewicz
Legal offices
Preceded by
Joseph M. McLaughlin
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Succeeded by
Gerard E. Lynch