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
Succeeded by Gregory Howard Woods
Personal details
Born 1947 (age 68–69)
Inglewood, California, U.S.
Alma mater Mount St Mary's College
Temple University Beasley School of Law

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] She now works on white collar and financial fraud cases as a partner in the New York office of Bracewell LLP.[4]

Notable Cases[edit]

Jones presided over Edith Windsor's suit against the United States, United States v. Windsor, challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] Judge Jones agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of Windsor. The United States appealed, and the Second Circuit affirmed Judge Jones's ruling.[9] 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."[10]

Jones served as Arbitrator in the NFL case against former RB Ray Rice. Rice received a 2-game suspension after a domestic violence incident left his then-girlfriend unconscious in the elevator after he struck her. Rice admitted to the NFL that he had struck her and that she had been knocked out. Months later, a video of the incident was released. Commissioner Goodell subsequently suspended Rice indefinitely, stating that the video showed a much more violent incident than Rice had led them to believe. Rice appealed, and won after Mrs. Jones found no evidence that Rice misled the NFL. Jones determined Goodell's indefinite suspension to be "capricious" and "arbitrary" because he was essentially suspending Rice for the same incident twice. Jones's ruling echoed much of the public sentiment to Goodell, as many media outlets hounded Goodell, asking, "did you really need to see the video to know that hitting a woman is violent?" Jones's ruling was only that a player cannot be disciplined for the same incident twice, a rule akin to not allowing double jeopardy in the US criminal system.


  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. ^ [1],; accessed July 14, 2016.
  5. ^ Windsor v. United States, 833 F. Supp. 2d 394 (S.D.N.Y. 2012).
  6. ^ Windsor, 833 F. Supp. 2d at 397.
  7. ^ Windsor, 833 F. Supp. 2d at 396-97.
  8. ^ Windsor, 833 F. Supp. 2d at 396.
  9. ^ "Windsor v. United States, 699 F.3d 169 (2d Cir. 2012)". 
  10. ^ Supreme Court of the United States (June 26, 2013). "United States v. Windsor" (PDF). 


Legal offices
Preceded by
Kenneth Conboy
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Succeeded by
Gregory Howard Woods