Joseph William Woodrough

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Joseph William Woodrough (August 29, 1873 – October 2, 1977) was a United States federal judge, and was one of the longest-lived and longest-serving judges in the history of the United States judiciary.

Although he served as a federal judge for a record 61 years (45 active, 16 senior), others have performed judicial work at greater ages or for longer periods.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Woodrough attended Heidelberg University, and read law to enter the Bar in 1893. He was a judge of the county court of Ward County, Texas from 1894 to 1896, serving as county attorney for Ward County in 1897. He was in private practice in Omaha, Nebraska from 1898 to 1916.

On March 13, 1916, Woodrough was nominated by President Woodrow Wilson to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska vacated by William H. Munger. Woodrough was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 31, 1916, and received his commission on April 3, 1916. Exactly seventeen years later, on April 3, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Woodrough for elevation to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, vacated by Arba Seymour Van Valkenburg. Woodrough was again confirmed by the United States Senate on April 12, 1933, receiving his commission the same day. He assumed senior status on January 3, 1961, performing no judicial functions after taking part in a courthouse dedication later that year, but remaining a salaried Senior Circuit Judge until his death in 1977. He was the grandson of Joseph Woodrough, a sawmaker in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Agnes Moreman.

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