Judge Profile

Jose A. Cabranes

Judicial Experience:

  • U.S. Circuit Judge, U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Appointed (1994)
  • Chief Judge, United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, Appointed (1979)

Other Professional Experience:

  • New York City law firm
  • Taught law on the full-time faculty, Rutgers University Law School
  • Adjunct faculty, Yale Law School
  • Special Counsel to the Governor of Puerto Rico and Head of the Commonwealth, Puerto Rico's office in Washington, D.C.
  • General Counsel, Yale University

Biographical Data:

  • Born in 1940 in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and at the age of five moved with his family to the South Bronx. Attended public schools in New York City In 1988, was one of five Federal judges appointed by Chief Justice Rehnquist to the 15-member Federal Courts Study Committee created by Act of Congress "to examine problems facing the Federal courts and develop a long-range plan for the future of the Federal judiciary."


  • M.Litt. in International Law, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, 1967
  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1965
  • A.B., Columbia College, 1961


  • Citizenship and the American Empire, Yale University Press, 1979
  • Co-author (with Kate Stith) of Fear of Judging: Sentencing Guidelines in the Federal Courts, University of Chicago Press, 1998
  • Certificate of Merit of the American Bar Association, American Bar Association, 1999

Professional Civic Activities/Honors/Awards:

  • First Puerto Rican appointed to the federal bench in the continental United States, 1979
  • Trustee, Yale University, 1987 - 1999
  • Trustee, Columbia University, 2000 - Present
  • Trustee, Colgate University, 1981 - 1990
  • Elected member, American Academy of Arts and Science
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, Aspira of New York
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, founding member, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Recipient of the Learned Hand Medal for Excellence in Federal Jurisprudence, Federal Bar Council, 2000
  • He studied at Cambridge under a Kellett Research Fellowship from Columbia College, Columbia College, 1965 - 1967
  • Humanitarian Trust Studentship in Public International Law from the Faculty Board of Law of the University of Cambridge, University of Cambridge