Jerome Simandle, who became one of the youngest U.S. District Court Judge from New Jersey when President George Bush nominated him in 1992, has died. He was 70.
His death comes a little more than a week after his longtime colleague, Judge William Walls, passed away.
Simandle served as a U.S. Magistrate for the District of New Jersey from 1983 to 1992, when Bush nominated the 43-year-old jurist to the federal bench.
As a student at Princeton University around 1970, Simandle was recruited to work on aviation issues for Ralph Nader’s organizations.
According to published reports, Simandle walked into the Federal Aviation Administration and asked to examine certain reports. A top FAA official told him he would need to get approval from the Air Transport Association, the airline industry’s lobbying group.
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Simandle became a law clerk to another federal judge, John Gerry.
After the completion of his clerkship, Simandle was hired as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1978. He ran the federal prosecutor’s Trenton office from 1982 until 1983, when Simandle, then 34, replaced James Hammill as a Magistrate.
As a magistrate, Simandle presided over an enormous federal lawsuit concerning toxic waste at a Gloucester Township landfill.
When Bush nominated him to serve as a federal judge, the American Bar Association called it a merit appointment. He had never been involved in politics. Simandle took a new seat that had been authorized by Congress as part of a judicial expansion that included the District of New Jersey.
Simandle served as New Jersey’s chief judge from 2012 to 2017, when he assumed senior status.