Youngest Federal Judges in the US History

8 Youngest Federal Judges in the US History

Becoming a federal judge can take an awful amount of time. Federal judges are nominated by the President of the US and need to go through a long process before starting to work in this position.

First, the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing with the nominee in which several questions are asked to test the candidate. After this, the Committee can decide whether to approve the nominee or not. In the first case, the Senate holds a vote on the candidate. This is the final step. In fact, if the Senate confirms the nomination, the nominee can finally start to serve as a federal judge.

This position is normally covered by people with decades of experience in the field, but there have been cases in which the Senate elected extremely young people. We decided to write a list of the youngest federal judges in US history!

8. George J. Hazel (March 19, 1975 – present)

Federal Judge at the Age Of: 39 years
Appointed By: Barack Obama
Birthplace: New York City, New York

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George J. Hazel was born in Queens and became a federal judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland at the young age of 39.

Born in NYC, he studied at Morehouse College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts cum laude. He also attended the Georgetown University Law Center, earning his Juris Doctor in 1999.

From 1999 to 2004, George worked for the firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Later on, he served as Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia.

George was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as a federal judge in September 2013. In May of the following year, the Senate voted 95-0 to confirm his seat. He assumed office the following day. At the time, he was only 39 years old, and he became the youngest United States District Judge.

George was preceded by Alexander Williams Jr., who retired in May 2013.

Did You Know?

George serves on the Board of Deacons, and he’s a member of the lawyer Round Table.

7. Allison Jones Rush­ing (1982 – present)

Federal Judge at the Age Of: 38 years
Appointed By: Donald Trump
Birthplace: Hendersonville, North Carolina

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Allison Jones Rushing was born in 1982 and became a federal judge in 2019.

She grew up in Carolina and attended Wake Forest University from which she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in music. She then attended Duke University of School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctor.

Allison worked as a law student intern for a nonprofit organization called Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). This Christian organization made the news several times and was heavily criticized for opposing LGBT rights. 

After graduation, Allison served as a law clerk for two different judges. In 2009 and 2010, she also worked as an attorney for an American law firm based in Washington D. C. called Williams & Connolly. Allison stayed in this firm for years and in 2017, became one of its official partners.

In August 2018, President Donald Trump publicly announced his intent to nominate Allison to serve as a United States Circuit Judge. But in January of the following year, his nomination was rejected. However, on the 23rd of the same month, President Trump declared his decision to re-nominate his candidate. The nomination was confirmed in March, and Allison assumed office on the 21st.

Did You Know?

Allison was the youngest federal judge in the US at the time of her confirmation.

6. Kenneth Starr (July 21, 1946 – present)

Federal Judge at the Age Of: 37 years
Appointed By: Ronald Reagan
Birthplace: Kenneth Winston Starr, Texas

Kenneth Starrphoto source:

Kenneth Starr was born in July 1946 and was appointed federal judge when he was only 37 years old.

He was born in Vernon, Texas, but grew up in Centerville.

At a young age, Kenneth was already a vocal supporter of Vietnam protesters. He managed to skip military service as he was classified 4-F due to his psoriasis.

Kenneth received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from George Washington University in Washington D. C. He then attended Brown University, where he earned a Master of Arts degree but decided to continue his studies.

After his Master’s degree, Kenneth decided to study law at Duke University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1973.

In 1973, Kenneth decided to start his working career. For a few years, he served as a law clerk for Judge David W Dyer and later on for chief justice Warren Burger. Just like many other judges, he also worked for a law firm before being nominated as a federal judge in September 1983. His service started a few days later, on September 20. However, he resigned in 1989.

Did You Know?

In January 2020, Kenneth became a member of President Trump’s legal team during the Senate impeachment trial.

5. Stephanie Marie Rose (December 17, 1972 – present)

Federal Judge at the Age Of: 36 years
Appointed By: Barack Obama
Birthplace: Topeka, Kansas

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Stephanie Rose became a federal judge in February 2009 at the age of 36.

She was born in Topeka and studied at the University of Iowa, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology. Stephanie earned her Juris Doctor in 1996 at the University of Iowa College of Law. While studying, she worked for several newspapers and the law firm Bradley & Riley.

Following her graduation, Stephanie served as Assistant United States Attorney for over ten years. During this period, she investigated over 800 federal criminal cases. Stephanie also volunteers for several positions. For instance, she worked as Court Appointed Special Advocate for neglected children and represented domestic violence victims, all free of charge. From 2009 to 2012, Stephanie also worked as a United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa.

In 2012, President Barack Obama nominated her to be a United States District Judge. The American Bar Association declared her qualified for the position, and Stephanie officially took office on September 17, 2012.

She replaced Judge Robert W Pratt, who took senior status in July 2012.

Did You Know?

In July 2012, Stephanie became the youngest federal judge in the US.

4. Frank Easterbrook (September 3, 1948 – present)

Federal Judge at the Age Of: 36 years
Appointed By: Ronald Reagan
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York

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Frank Easterbrook was born in September 1948 and became a judge at the age of 36.

He was born in Buffalo and went to Swarthmore College. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors, he attended the University of Chicago Law School. Frank graduated in 1973 with a Juris Doctor and started to work the same year.

He first served as a law clerk for judge Levin Hicks Campbell. Frank also worked as an Assistant to the Solicitor General and in 1978 was promoted to Deputy Solicitor General.

In the same year, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago Law school where he still teaches to this day.

In August 1984, Ronald Reagan nominated him to the court. But it took several months for the Senate to confirm the nomination. Frank officially became a judge in April 1985, and throughout his career, he worked on several notable cases. Some of the most famous are American Booksellers v. Hudnut in 1986 and Hosty v. Carter in 2005.

Did You Know?

Frank declared that his work as a judge is inspired by Learned Hand and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

3. Kathryn Kimball Mizelle (1987 – present)

Federal Judge at the Age Of: 33 years
Appointed By: Donald Trump
Birthplace: Lakeland, Florida

Kathryn Kimball Mizellephoto source:

Kathryn Kimball Mizelle was appointed federal judge at the age of 33 by Donald Trump. She’s particularly known for striking down the mandate on mandatory masks on public transport during the  Covid-19 pandemic.

Kathryn was born in Lakeland, Florida, and attended Covenant College, where she studied economics and philosophy. She then attended the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law and graduated in 2012.

After graduation, Kathryn started to work as a law clerk for several judges, and later on, she served as a trial attorney.

On August 12, 2020, Donald Trump announced he would nominate Kathryn to serve as a District Judge. However, the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary declared she was not qualified for the position. In fact, at the time, the nominee had only taken part in two trials, both during law school.

Despite this, in November 2020, Kathryn’s nomination was confirmed.

Did You Know?

Kathryn is married to Chad Mizelle, who served as a General Counsel of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

2. Joseph Story (September 18, 1779 – September 19, 1845)

Federal Judge at the Age Of: 32 years and 4 months
Appointed By: James Madison
Birthplace: Marblehead, Massachusetts

Joseph Storyphoto source:

Joseph Story was born in September 1779 and became a judge at the young age of 32.

His father, Dr. Elisha, took part in the Boston Tea Party and was a member of the Sons of Liberty. Joseph was the first son of eleven children and studied at the Marblehead Academy. He later attended Harvard University.

After graduation, Joseph kept studying law under Samuel Sewall and Samuel Putnam. This helped him attain admission to the bar in July 1801.

Exactly ten years later, James Madison, the fourth president of the US, nominated Joseph to become an Associate Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. At that time, only 17 states were part of the US!

The Senate confirmed the nomination in November of the same year, and Joseph officially took office in February 1812, serving as a judge for over 30 years until 1945.

Joseph was also a prolific writer. He wrote several books, and by the time he turned 65, he was able to earn $10,000 per year just from his books.

Did You Know?

Joseph married Mary Lynde Fitch Oliver, who unfortunately died in 1805. Three years later, he married Sarah Waldo Wetmore, the daughter of a judge. Together they had seven children, but only two of them reached adulthood.

1. Alex Kozinski (July 23, 1950 – present)

Federal Judge at the Age Of: 32 years and 2 months
Appointed By: Ronald Reagan
Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania

Alex Kozinskiphoto source:

Alex Kozinski is the youngest federal judge in US history as he was appointed at the age of 32.

He was born in Romania and moved to the US when he was just 12 years old. Alex was raised in a Jewish family, and his dad survived the Holocaust after spending four years in a concentration camp.

His family settled in Los Angeles in the Los Feliz neighborhood in 1962. Here, Alex studied economics at the University of California and graduated in 1972 cum laude. He then attended UCLA School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctor in 1975.

After his graduation, Alex clerked for judge Anthony Kennedy and chief justice Warren Burger. He then worked as an associate for several firms such as Forry, Golbert, Singer & Gelles, and Covington & Burling.

In August 1982, Alex was nominated federal judge by President Ronald Reagan. He was confirmed by the Senate a few days later and received commission on October 1st.

Did You Know?

Alex retired in 2017 when over a dozen of his female colleagues accused him of sexual harassment.

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