Morton I. Greenberg, who served as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for nearly 34 years, died on January 28. He was 87.
Greenberg spent 47 years as a state and federal judge, authoring thousands of opinions. He was possibly the longest-serving judge in New Jersey history.
“He loved every aspect of being a judge,” his family said.
As a jurist, Greenberg overturned a District Court ruling filed by a homeless man from Morristown, Richard Kreimer, who argued that the public library’s policy regarding proper hygiene had violated his First Amendment rights.
After graduating from Yale Law School in 1957, Greenberg was recruited to serve in the administration of Gov. Robert Meyner as a Deputy Attorney General. He remained there until entering private practice in 1960 in Wildwood.
He served as Cape May County Counsel from 1970 to 1971 when he returned to state government to serve the Assistant Attorney General in Gov. William Cahill’s administration under Attorney General George Kugler.
Cahill nominated Greenberg, then 40, to serve as a Superior Court Judge in 1973. Nine years later, Chief Justice Robert Wilentz elevated Greenberg to serve in the Appellate Division.
Following the retirement of Judge Leonard Garth in 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated Greenberg to fill the Third Circuit vacancy. He was confirmed just five weeks later.
Greenberg assumed senior status in 2000 – he was succeeded by Michael Chertoff – and remained in that post until his death last Thursday.
“He is the most wonderful human being you will ever meet—so considerate and so personable,” said Mary Ann Gartner, who worked as Greenberg’s assistant for 33 years.
Born in Philadelphia in 1933, Greenberg grew up in Atlantic City. He graduated form the University of Pennsylvania and was member of the Yale Law Journal Board of Editors.
Greenberg is survived by his wife, Dr. Barbara-Ann Greenberg, four children, his grandchildren, and a great grandchild.