John Thomas Curtin

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John Thomas Curtin (born August 24, 1921) is an inactive Senior United States District Judge.

Early life and military service[edit]

Born in Buffalo, New York, Curtin was in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, from 1942 to 1945, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He received a B.S. from Canisius College in 1946 and an LL.B. from the University of Buffalo Law School in 1949. He was in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from 1952 to 1954. He was in private practice in Buffalo from 1949 to 1961, and was then the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York from 1961 to 1967.

Judiciary career[edit]

On November 28, 1967, Curtin was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson to a new seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of New York created by 80 Stat. 75. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 14, 1967, and received his commission the same day. He served as chief judge from 1974 to 1989, assuming senior status on July 1, 1989. He took inactive senior status on April 12, 2016, at the age of 94, and no longer hears cases.[1]

In 1976, Curtin ruled on the case Arthur v. Nyquist, which effected the integration of the Buffalo Public School District. He ruled that schools were "deliberately segregated" and that they would need to begin desegregation efforts immediately. The plaintiffs in this case were a group of concerned parents and Buffalo Common Council member George Arthur. The defendants were the Buffalo Public School District, the City of Buffalo and New York State Commissioner of Education Ewald Nyquist.



Legal offices
Preceded by
new seat
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York
Succeeded by
William M. Skretny