Robert P. Anderson

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Robert Palmer Anderson (March 27, 1906 – May 2, 1978) was a United States federal judge.

Judge Anderson was born and raised in Noank, Connecticut, the oldest son of Arthur P. and Jessie P. (Ashby) Anderson.

He graduated from the Noank Grammar School in 1919; from Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts in 1923; from Yale College in 1927; and from Yale Law School in 1929.

In his youth his earliest employment was assisting a local farmer, Austin Lamb, deliver produce to his customers. Later, he crewed for a local lobsterman, Wayland Morgan.

Mr. Anderson was admitted to the Connecticut Bar in 1929 and to the bar of the United States District Court in 1930. Thereupon, he began the general practice of law with the New London firm of Waller, Waller, Avery & Gallup, with whom he became a partner in 1935. In November 1930 and February 1931 he was, for a time, a confidant and spokesman for Amelia Earhart at the time of her marriage. From 1934 into the 1940s he was elected as Justice of the Peace for the Town of Groton. In 1936 he was appointed a United States Commissioner. From 1936 – 1947 he was a Public Defender for New London County, and from 1936 – 1954 he was a member of the Connecticut State Bar Examining Committee.

On January 5, 1935 he married the former Elizabeth Paffard of Brooklyn, N.Y. They settled in Noank, Connecticut and there raised two sons, Robert P. Anderson, Jr. and Frederic P. Anderson, M.D.

After the United States declared its entry into World War II, on January 21, 1942 Mr. Anderson was commissioned a Lieut. (j.g.) in the United States Coast Guard Reserve. From January 1942 to January 1943 he served as Captain of the Port of New London. From January to March 1943 he attended Officers’ School in St. Augustine, Florida. In April 1943 he was sent to North Africa on special assignment to the Lend Lease Administration. From May 1943 to November 1943 he served as Operations Officer with the 8th Amphibious Force of the United States Navy at Bizerte, Tunisia and Operations Officer for Flotilla #4 LCI-Ls in the Mediterranean and later in the English Channel. From November 1943 to November 1944 he was the Assistant Operations Officer for Commander, Landing Craft and Bases for the 11th Amphibious Force participating in the Normandy Invasion. In 1945 he was assigned as Chief of the Rescue Vessel and Station Division of Air Sea Rescue at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He organized and led the Coast Guard reserve unit in New London and continued serving until the separation of powers doctrine forced his retirement in 1957, having attained the rank of captain. For his military service he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal by the United States and the Order of the British Empire by the United Kingdom.

Upon his return home from active military duty, Mr. Anderson resumed law practice with his former firm renamed Waller, Anderson & Smith. In 1946 he was elected on the Republican ticket to the Connecticut Senate from the 18th senatorial district, serving from 1947 to 1949 on the Judiciary, Banking, Rules and Contingent Expenses Committees. From 1947 through 1955 he served on the military staffs of Governors McConaughy, Shannon and Lodge, largely ceremonial but influential appointments. Beginning on June 1, 1947 he held the office of State’s Attorney for New London County for six years until 1953. After being appointed by Governor John D. Lodge, on August 10, 1953 he was sworn in as a judge of the Connecticut Superior Court, a position he served until May 1, 1954.

On April 27, 1954 Judge Anderson was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as judge of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, succeeding Hon. Carroll C. Hincks. He was confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn into office on May 1, 1954. In 1960 he became its chief judge. Among the important cases to come before his district court were: U.S. v. Silverman, a/k/a, et al., an early prosecution under the Smith Act; the bankruptcy of the New Haven Railroad; and Butterworth v. Dempsey which decreed a reapportionment of the Connecticut legislature.

On August 15, 1964 Judge Anderson was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, succeeding Hon. Charles Edward Clark. He was confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn into office on August 20, 1964. He served as an active judge on that court for seven years and in 1971 assumed senior status.

On January 19, 1972 Judge Anderson was appointed by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger to the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals re-created by Congress in 1971 to exercise judicial review over the energy price stabilization program established by the act. He served throughout the existence of that court.

Judge Anderson was a lifelong member of the Noank Baptist Church, a trustee of the Marine Historical Association in Mystic, and a fellow of Jonathan Edwards College at Yale University.

On May 1, 1978, after filing with the Clerk of the United States District Court in New Haven his final decision on the bankrupt New Haven Railroad, Judge Anderson retired for the night at his home in Noank and never awoke.


Documents and records in the possession of Judge Anderson's family.

Legal offices
Preceded by
Carroll C. Hincks
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Robert Carmine Zampano
Preceded by
J. Joseph Smith
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
Succeeded by
William H. Timbers
Preceded by
Charles Edward Clark
Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Succeeded by
William H. Timbers