Barbara S. Jones

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Barbara S. Jones
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
In office
December 31, 2012 – January 4, 2013
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
In office
December 26, 1995 – December 31, 2012
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Kenneth Conboy
Personal details
Born 1947 (age 66–67)
Inglewood, California

Barbara Sue Jones (born 1947) is a former United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Inglewood, California, Jones received a Bachelor of Arts from Mount St. Mary's College in 1968 and a Juris Doctor from Temple University School of Law in 1973.[1]

Legal career[edit]

Following law school graduation, Jones was a special attorney of the Organized Crime & Racketeering, Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice in 1973, and of that agency's Manhattan Strike Force Against Organized Crime and Racketeering from 1973-77. She was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1977-87, serving as chief of the General Crimes Unit from 1983-84 and of the Organized Crime Unit from 1984-87. From 1987-95, she was a First assistant district attorney of New York County District Attorney's Office. Jones also taught as an adjunct associate professor of law at Fordham Law School from 1985 to 1995 and at New York University School of Law in 2008. Since 2009, Jones has taught trial advocacy at the Practicing Law Institute (PLI) in New York.[2]

Federal Judicial Career[edit]

On the recommendation of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jones was nominated to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President Bill Clinton on October 18, 1995 to a seat vacated by Kenneth Conboy. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 22, 1995, and received commission on December 26, 1995. Jones took senior status on December 31, 2012, and subsequently retired from the court on January 4, 2013 to go into private practice.[3]

Notable Cases[edit]

Jones presided over Edith Windsor's suit against the United States, challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.[4]

Windsor married her same-sex partner, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007, and the couple lived in New York, which recognized same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.[5] When Spyer died in 2009, Windsor owed over $363,000 in federal estate taxes, which she would not have had to pay had her spouse been of the opposite sex.[6] In her lawsuit seeking a refund of the tax payment, Windsor asserted that Section 3 of DOMA, which defines marriage under federal law as solely the union of one man and one woman, violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws.[7] Judge Jones agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of Windsor. The United States appealed, and the Second Circuit affirmed Judge Jones's ruling.[8] In a 5–4 decision issued on June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down section 3 of DOMA (codified at 1 U.S.C. § 7) "as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment."[9]


  1. ^ "Jones, Barbara S.". The Federal Judicial Center. Archived from the original on June 4, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ PLI website; accessed August 17, 2014.
  3. ^ Barbara Jones joins Zuckerman-Spaeder,; accessed August 17, 2014.
  4. ^ Windsor v. United States, 833 F. Supp. 2d 394 (S.D.N.Y. 2012).
  5. ^ Windsor, 833 F. Supp. 2d at 397.
  6. ^ Windsor, 833 F. Supp. 2d at 396-97.
  7. ^ Windsor, 833 F. Supp. 2d at 396.
  8. ^ "Windsor v. United States, 699 F.3d 169 (2d Cir. 2012)". 
  9. ^ Supreme Court of the United States (June 26, 2013). "United States v. Windsor".