Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, February 14, 2008


Page 3


Services Tomorrow for Ninth Circuit Senior Judge Joseph T. Sneed III


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Services will be held tomorrow for Senior Judge Joseph T. Sneed III of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who died last Saturday at age 87.

Sneed served on the court for nearly 35 years. He died last Saturday at his residence in San Francisco after an illness. Tommorow’s memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church, 2325 Union Street in San Francisco, where a reception will follow.

Nominated by President Nixon, JSneed received his judicial commission in 1973 and served as an active judge of the court until taking senior status in 1987. He was the fourth most senior judge on the court at the time of his death.

Sneed was born in Calvert, Tex. and spent his youth working summers as a cowboy on his uncle’s ranch in the Texas panhandle. He graduated from college at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, in 1941, and served as a staff sergeant in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

He attended law school at the University of Texas School of Law, receiving his LL.B. with Order of the Coif in 1947 and a doctor of laws degree in 1958.

Upon his graduation from law school, Sneed was offered a job by his alma mater as an assistant professor. He spent 10 years on the school’s faculty, becoming an associate professor in 1951 and a full professor in 1954.

The school subsequently established an endowed scholarship in his name.

Sneed spent much of his career in the classrooms of some of the nation’s top law schools. He was dean of the Duke University School of Law from 1971 to 1973, a law professor at Stanford Law School from 1962 to 1971, and at Cornell Law School from 1957 to 1962.

Two of Sneed’s colleagues on the Ninth Circuit bench, Judges Pamela Ann Rymer and Raymond C. Fisher, both studied tax law under him at Stanford. In a 2003 ceremony makring Sneed’s 30th year on the Ninth Circuit, Fisher said that he had received an A in the class and found the course most enjoyable, whereas Rymer said that she had struggled, joking that Sneed had “left an indelible mark—on my transcript.”

Sneed also served in the U.S. Department of Justice as the deputy attorney general in 1973 prior to his appointment to the federal bench.

He also served in advisory roles to the Ninth Circuit, Federal Judicial Center, American Judicature Society and American Bar Association.

He is survived by a son, Joseph T. Sneed IV, and two daughters, Clara Sneed and Carly Fiorina. Fiorina is the former chief executive officer and board chair of computer manufacturing giant Hewlett-Packard, and a contributor  to the Fox Business Network, and has been mentioned in news reports as a potential candidate  for governor  in 2010, although she has disclaimed political interest in the past.

Sneed is also survived by two grandsons, Sam Tyree Berzon and Joseph T. Sneed V. He was preceded in death by his wife, Madelon.


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