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Published August 15 2013

Forum editorial: A judge for all seasons

About twice a year for the past 25 years, 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Myron Bright has hosted luncheons for a couple of Forum editors and, more recently, the newspaper’s publisher. Early on, the late constitutional scholar Jim Leahy, of Fargo, was on board. In recent years, Bright’s Appeals Court colleague Judge Kermit Bye was at the table.

The extended lunch discussions demonstrate in microcosm why Judge Bright, at age 94, is among the finest legal minds in the nation. Today he celebrates 45 years on the bench, having been appointed to the court in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson. Whether debating politics over a bowl of soup with newspaper people, or immersed in the complexities of an appeals case, Bright thrives on the challenge, the thinking and the analyses. It keeps his mind sharp, even if at his advanced age he’s not bounding up stairs these days.

The judge’s record-setting career has been distinguished not only by his work on the court but also by his dedication as a mentor to young lawyers. He has tutored law clerks (many of whom gathered in Fargo last month to honor his service on the bench). He teaches and lectures. He has endowed scholarships. And having taken senior status a few years ago, he still actively hears cases at the 8th Circuit and other circuit courts throughout the nation.

A man of good humor and strong opinions, his passion for the law is informed by intellectual rigor. Never reluctant to speak out or to write a convincing minority dissent, Bright’s body of work is a reflection of much of the 20th-century legal history of the nation.

We join the judge’s family, friends, colleagues and many admirers in today’s celebration of his long life and remarkable career. And we look forward to seeing him at work – and at lunch – for many more years.

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Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.