Saturday, February 2, 2019

Cuthbert W. Pound: An Advocate Through Dissent and Debate

By Allison Bartlett
Allison Bartlett earned her J.D. from Albany Law School summa cum laude and a B.A. in Art History from Vassar College.  Currently, she is an associate at Harter Secrest & Emery in the environmental land use and zoning practice group.
At Albany Law School, Allison was both a teaching assistant and research assistant, and served on the executive board for Albany Law Review, vol. 81, and the Women’s Law Caucus.  She also interned with the Honorable Mae A. D’Agostino, Northern District of New York, and the Honorable Peter A. Lynch, Albany County Court. 
Allison’s paper was prepared for Professor Bonventre’s Court of Appeals Seminar, Spring 2018.

Throughout his legal career, Judge Cuthbert Winfred Pound advanced protections for unprotected classes through his precise use of language and unwavering application of the law.

Cuthbert Pound graduated from Cornell University and began his legal career working alongside his older brother. He was admitted to the bar in 1886 when he was twenty-two. Before beginning his judicial career, Pound served as a State Senator from 1894-1895, where he demonstrated his progressive nature by sponsoring an initiative to provide voting rights to women. He then served as Lockport City Attorney, member and chairman of the state civil service commission, and law professor at Cornell Law School. He also served as counsel to Governor Frank Higgins, who later appointed him to the trial bench, as a State Supreme Court Justice.

In 1915, Pound received a temporary appointment to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals and then won election to that Court the following year. He served on New York's high court for nearly twenty years. That included a brief tenure as Chief Judge, a position to which he was initially appointed by Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt to succeed Benjamin Cardozo, from 1932 until his mandatory age retirement in 1934.

While remembered for being a liberal judge, he was elected to both the trial bench and the position of Chief Judge “without controversy by the joint action” of both the Republican and Democratic parties. He is most recognized for his decisions regarding economic regulation and freedom of speech, and of course, for having served on the Court at the same time as Benjamin Cardozo, who referred to him as “a great figure in the judicial history of New York.”
To read the paper, open HERE.