Wesley E. Brown

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Wesley E. Brown
Wesley E. Brown Senior District Judge.jpg
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas
In office
September 1, 1979 – January 23, 2012
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas
In office
April 4, 1962 – September 1, 1979
Appointed by John F. Kennedy
Preceded by Delmas C. Hill
Succeeded by Patrick F. Kelly
Personal details
Born Wesley Ernest Brown
(1907-06-22)June 22, 1907
Hutchinson, Kansas
Died January 23, 2012(2012-01-23) (aged 104)
Wichita, Kansas
Alma mater Kansas City School of Law

Wesley Ernest Brown (June 22, 1907 – January 23, 2012) was a U.S. District Court judge who, as of his death, was the oldest federal judge still hearing cases.[1]

In August 2011, he passed Joseph William Woodrough in age, becoming the oldest person to serve as a federal judge in the history of the United States.[2]


Brown was born in Hutchinson, Kansas to Morrison (Morey) Houston Heady Brown and Julia Elizabeth Wesley Brown.[3] He received his LL.B. from the Kansas City School of Law in 1933. He was in private practice in Hutchinson from 1933 to 1944, including a stint as county attorney for Reno County, Kansas, from 1935 to 1939.[4] From 1942 to 1944, he was the secretary of corporation and attorney for Aircraft Woodwork Manufacturers. He entered the United States Navy in 1944, becoming a Lieutenant and serving until 1946. He then returned to private practice in Hutchinson until 1958. From 1958 to 1962, he was a Referee in Bankruptcy for the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.

On March 8, 1962, President John F. Kennedy nominated Brown to a seat on the Federal District Court for Kansas vacated by Delmas C. Hill. Brown was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 2, 1962, and received his commission two days later. He served as chief judge from 1971 to 1977, and assumed senior status on September 1, 1979, and continued to hear cases until his death.

Brown had lightened his workload to compensate for his advanced age. In March 2011, he stopped hearing new criminal cases, though he still heard civil cases.[5]

Brown died the evening of January 23, 2012 in the assisted living facility where he had lived for the past few years.[4]


  1. ^ Sulzberger, A.G. (January 25, 2012). "Wesley E. Brown, Oldest Judge in Nation's History, Dies at 104". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Sulzberger, A.G. (September 16, 2010). "At 103, a Judge Has One Caveat: No Lengthy Trials". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Text of H. Res. 512 (110th): Honoring and commending the Honorable Wesley E. Brown, United States District Court Judge for the...". GovTrack. Retrieved September 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Sylvester, Ron (January 24, 2012). "Federal judge Wesley Brown dies at age 104 in Wichita". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  5. ^ Hegeman, Roxana (April 10, 2011). "Federal Judge, 103, still hearing federal cases". Associated Press. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Delmas C. Hill
Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
April 4, 1962 – September 1, 1979
Succeeded by
Patrick F. Kelly