Katherine B. Forrest

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This article is about the judge. For the writer, see Katherine V. Forrest.
Katherine B. Forrest
Katherine Forrest in Chambers.jpg
Katherine Forrest in her court room
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Assumed office
October 17, 2011
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Jed S. Rakoff
Personal details
Born Katherine Bolan Forrest
(1964-02-13) February 13, 1964 (age 53)
New York City, New York
Education Wesleyan University B.A.
New York University School of Law J.D.

Katherine Bolan Forrest (born February 13, 1964) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Early life, education and personal life[edit]

Katherine Bolan Forrest was born in New York in 1964 and grew up in Connecticut, one of six children. Her father, Richard S. Forrest, wrote mystery novels including the Lyon and Bea Wentworth mystery series. Her mother, Mary Bolan Brumby, a nurse, cared for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The family received food stamps for four years beginning when Forrest was 12. They were homeless for six months. "I came from nothing,” Forrest said. “I came from a father who made no money. He was a playwright and then a writer, and even though he published a lot of books, I was a complete scholarship student all the way through.”[1]

Forrest attended Choate Rosemary Hall, a private school in Wallingford, Connecticut, on a scholarship, graduating in 1982.[1] Forrest earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in 1986 from Wesleyan University. She received her Juris Doctor in 1990 from New York University School of Law.[2] She pursued a joint program at New York University that would have led to a law degree and a doctorate in history, with an eye toward an academic career. Her focus shifted when she took a summer job at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP after her second year of law school. “I realized that commercial litigation was far more interesting than I thought it would be,” Forrest said.[1] Forrest is married to New Zealand native Sean Baldwin, a partner with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, and is the mother of two children.[1]

Professional career[edit]

Forrest joined the New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore right out of law school in 1990, becoming a partner in 1998 and handling an array of commercial litigation with a particular focus on antitrust, copyright and digital media. She "was cited as being one of the country’s leading practitioners in the antitrust and intellectual property arenas in Chambers USA 2007: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business."[3] Forrest was also cited by The American Lawyer as one of the top 50 young litigators in the U.S. and by Lawdragon as one of the leading litigators in the nation. In 2005, she was named in the Global Competition Review (GCR) in the “40 Under 40” issue "as one of the top competition practitioners or economists worldwide."[3][4] Forrest also was profiled in the GCR "as one of the top women antitrust practitioners worldwide."[3]

In October 2010, Forrest left Cravath to join the United States Department of Justice as a deputy assistant attorney general in the antitrust division.[2][5]

Federal judicial service[edit]

On May 4, 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Forrest to fill a judicial seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York that had been vacated by Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who took senior status at the end of 2010.[6] Forrest was nominated by Obama to the bench in May 2011 on the recommendation of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York.[1]

The U.S. Senate confirmed Forrest in a voice vote on October 13, 2011.[7][8] She received her judicial commission on October 17, 2011.

Significant cases[edit]

On May 16, 2012, in Hedges v. Obama, Forrest blocked enforcement of the National Defense Authorization Act's indefinite detention provision.[9] The ruling came as part of a suit challenging the NDAA as infringing "free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution."[10][11] Forrest's ruling was unanimously reversed by a Second Circuit panel on July 17, 2013.[12]

In August 2014, Forrest dismissed a price-fixing suit against Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Glencore. She held that, although the defendant's actions did affect the aluminum marketplace, the plaintiffs failed to show the defendants had intended to manipulate prices.[13]

In 2015, Forrest presided over a jury trial in U.S.A. v. Ulbricht, where Ross William Ulbricht was accused of running the Silk Road online drug marketplace.[14] She ruled that emoji are permissible court evidence.[15] During the course of the trial, Forrest was doxed on 8chan, where her full mailing address, phone number, and Social Security number were posted on the baphomet subboard.[16] “No drug dealer from the Bronx has ever made this argument to the court," Judge Forrest said to Ulbricht before issuing his sentence "It’s a privileged argument and it’s an argument made by one of the privileged." Forrest sentenced Ulbricht to two life terms, plus another 40 years, without the possibility of parole.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e Bob Van Voris (6 February 2013). "Military Arrest in Doubt as U.S. Fights Rookie Judge". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b The White House: Office of the Press Secretary (May 4, 2011). "President Obama Nominates Six Judges to United States District Courts". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Partner Biography: Katherine B. Forrest" (PDF). American Bar Association. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  4. ^ '40 Under Forty', Global Competition Review, Vol 5, May 2008.
  5. ^ "59th Annual Antitrust Spring Meeting: Katherine B. Forrest" (PDF). American Bar Association. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  6. ^ The White House: Office of the Press Secretary (May 4, 2011). "Nominations Sent to the Senate". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  7. ^ Judicial Nominations and Confirmations: 112th Congress, United States Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  8. ^ Kathrine B. Forrest Confirmed By Full Senate, Office of U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. Press Release. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  9. ^ Judge blocks indefinite military detention provision, Reuters. By Basil Katz. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  10. ^ Federal court enjoins NDAA, Salon.com. By Glenn Greenwald. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  11. ^ Military Detention Law Blocked by New York Judge, Bloomberg-News. By Bob Van Voris and Patricia Hurtado. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  12. ^ United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (17 July 2013). "Hedges v. Obama, 12-3176 (L)" (PDF). 
  13. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (29 August 2014). "U.S. judge dismisses aluminum price-fixing litigation". Reuters. 
  14. ^ Raymond, Nate (12 January 2015). "Accused Silk Road creator goes to trial amid U.S. scrutiny of bitcoin". Reuters. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  15. ^ Rosen, Daniel (30 January 2015). "Welcome to the future: Emoji are admissable [sic] in court". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  16. ^ Machkovech, Sam (February 12, 2015). "Notorious 8chan "subboard" has history wiped after federal judge's doxing". Ars Technica. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  17. ^ Greenberg, Andy (29 May 2015). "Silk Road Creator Ross Ulbricht Sentenced to Life in Prison". Wired. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Jed S. Rakoff
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York