Dennis M. Cavanaugh
|Dennis M. Cavanaugh|
|Judge on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey|
September 20, 2000 – January 31, 2014
|Nominated by||Bill Clinton|
|Preceded by||Alfred M. Wolin|
|Magistrate Judge on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey|
January 28, 1947 |
Orange, New Jersey
|Alma mater||Morehead State University
Seton Hall University School of Law
Dennis Michael Cavanaugh (born 1947) is a retired federal United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Cavanaugh was born on January 28, 1947 in Orange, New Jersey. He was raised as an Irish Catholic. Cavanaugh's federal judicial service includes a judgeship in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. He was nominated by President Bill Clinton on May 3, 2000, to a seat vacated by Judge Alfred M. Wolin. Cavanaugh was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 21, 2000 and received commission on September 20, 2000. Cavanaugh was formerly a United States magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (1993–2000). Cavanaugh was educated at Morehead State University (B.A., 1969) and Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D., 1972). Cavanaugh remains very loyal to his law school alma mater and he teaches there as a member of the law school's adjunct faculty.
Cavanaugh began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Francis W. Hayden in the New Jersey Superior Court (1972–73). He was then an Assistant Deputy Public Defender for the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender (1973–77) before entering private practice in various law firms in New Jersey (1977–92). Cavanaugh's private practice includes his partnership at the law firms of McCormack Petrolle & Matthews (1992), Whipple Ross & Hirsh (1987–92) and Tompkins McGuire & Wachenfeld (1984–87). He also served as a partner (1980–84) and associate (1977–80) at Lum Biunno & Tompkins. Cavanaugh was the Borough Prosecutor for the Borough of Caldwell, New Jersey (1988–89). Then, in 1993, Cavanaugh was installed as a United States Magistrate Judge in the District of New Jersey, a position that he held until 2000, when he was elevated to District Judge. He retired on January 31, 2014.
Cavanaugh is commonly known for his practicality on the bench. As a Magistrate Judge, Cavanaugh developed a reputation for quickly settling cases. While he is less scholarly than his peers, Cavanaugh is efficient and moves through cases for a swift adjudication of cases. Cavanaugh is also known for writing very concise opinions. He is more concerned with the swift adjudication of justice than with drafting law review type opinions.