Wendell Arthur Garrity Jr.

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Wendell Arthur Garrity Jr.
District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
In office
Preceded by Seat Created
Succeeded by Douglas Preston Woodlock
United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
In office
Preceded by Elliot Richardson
Succeeded by Paul F. Markham
Personal details
Born (1920-06-20)June 20, 1920
Worcester, Massachusetts
Died September 16, 1999(1999-09-16) (aged 79)
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Alma mater College of the Holy Cross
Harvard Law School
Occupation Attorney

Wendell Arthur (W. Arthur) Garrity Jr. (June 20, 1920 – September 16, 1999) was a United States federal judge.

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Garrity received an A.B. from The College of The Holy Cross in 1941, and was then a Sergeant in the United States Army during World War II, from 1943 to 1945. He received an LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1946, and served as a law clerk to Francis J.W. Ford of the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts from 1946 to 1947. Garrity entered private practice in Boston, Massachusetts and Worcester, Massachusetts from 1947 to 1948. He was an assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1948 to 1950, lecturing in federal jurisdiction and procedure at Boston College Law School from 1950 to 1951. He was in private practice in Boston, Massachusetts from 1951 to 1961. He was the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1961 to 1966.

On May 23, 1966, Garrity was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson to a new seat on the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts created by 75 Stat. 80. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 24, 1966, and received his commission the same day.

As a federal judge, Garrity was at the center of a contentious battle over desegregation busing in Boston from the 1970s to the 1980s. He found a recurring pattern of racial discrimination in the operation of the Boston public schools in a 1974 ruling. Garrity's ruling found the schools were unconstitutionally segregated. As a remedy, he used a busing plan developed by the Massachusetts State Board of Education to implement the state's Racial Imbalance Law that had been passed by the Massachusetts state legislature a few years earlier, requiring any school with a student enrollment that was more than 50% white to be balanced according to race. The Boston School Committee consistently disobeyed orders from the state Board of Education. Garrity's ruling, upheld on appeal by conservative judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and by the Supreme Court led by Warren Burger, required school children to be brought to different schools to end segregation and led to the Boston busing crisis of 1974-1988. By the final Garrity-decided court case in 1988, Garrity had assumed more control over a school system than any judge in American history.[1]

Garrity assumed senior status on December 1, 1985, serving in that capacity until his death, in Wellesley, Massachusetts.


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  1. ^ Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. pp. 252–264. ISBN 0-465-04195-7.