Brattleboro’s stately U.S. Post Office housed a U.S. District Court until 2017. The chambers belonged to Judge James L. Oakes until 2007. In 1966 he became Vermont Attorney General, and served as Chief Judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals from 1989 to 1992. As Attorney General, he faced many issues such as election fairness, the rebuilding of the Vermont Republican Party, property rights, and voting irregularities. He took a leading investigative role in the racially charged incident known as the “Irasburg Affair”. For 30 years, Judge Oakes was on the Vermont Board of Trustees for the Vermont Law School. In 1995 he was awarded a Doctor of Laws honorary degree. Oakes donated a collection of his own papers on environmental issues with regard to the law to the Vermont Law School. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke at this funeral in October of 2007.
Audio Producer: Sally Seymour
Commentator: Elizabeth Catlin
Research and Commentator: Meg Mott
Voice Clip: October 23, 1979 James Madison Lecture at NYU recording courtesy of the James L Oakes Collection at the Vermont Law School.
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