James Lopez Watson
|James Lopez Watson|
|Senior Judge of the United States Court of International Trade|
February 28, 1991 – September 1, 2001
|Judge of the United States Court of International Trade|
November 1, 1980 – February 28, 1991
|Appointed by||Assigned to court by operation of law|
|Preceded by||Court created|
|Succeeded by||Donald C. Pogue|
|Judge of the United States Customs Court|
March 7, 1966 – November 1, 1980
|Appointed by||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Preceded by||Jed Johnson|
|Succeeded by||Court abolished|
|Member of the New York Senate
from the 21st district
|Preceded by||Julius A. Archibald|
|Succeeded by||Constance Baker Motley|
May 21, 1922|
New York City, New York
|Died||September 1, 2001
New York City, New York
|Alma mater||New York University B.A.
Brooklyn Law School LL.B.
Watson was born on May 21, 1922, in Harlem, New York City, the son of James S. Watson and his wife Violet. During World War II he fought in Italy with the Army from 1943 to 1945, and was awarded the Purple Heart. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University in 1947 and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1951. He practiced law in New York City.
Watson was a member of the New York State Senate (21st D.) from 1955 to 1963, sitting in the 170th, 171st, 172nd, 173rd and 174th New York State Legislatures. In November 1963, he was elected to the New York City Civil Court.
On January 19, 1966 President Johnson nominated Watson to serve as a Judge for the United States Customs Court, to the seat vacated by Judge Jed Johnson. On March 7, 1966, he was confirmed by the Senate and received his commission on March 7, 1966. On November 1, 1980, he was transferred by operation of law to the newly created United States Court of International Trade. He took senior status on February 28, 1991, and served in that capacity until his death. He was succeeded by Judge Donald C. Pogue. Because judges of that court are periodically assigned to federal courts around the country, Watson became the first African-American judge to head a federal court in the South since Reconstruction.
Watson died on September 1, 2001 from cancer in New York City. In 2003, the courthouse at 1 Federal Plaza in Manhattan was renamed the James L. Watson United States Court of International Trade Building in his honor.
- James Lopez Watson at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
|New York State Senate|
Julius A. Archibald
|New York State Senate
Constance Baker Motley