Retired federal judge known for defense of environment dies

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A veteran Vermont judge known for his defense of the environment has died at the age of 83.

James Oakes was also a former state senator and Vermont attorney general. He died Saturday on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

The cause of death was not announced.

Oakes was appointed a federal judge by President Nixon in 1970. He was appointed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York a year later.

In 1988 Oakes became chief judge of the second circuit. He retired in 1992, but continued in senior status until earlier this year, when he closed his chambers.

Vermont Law School Dean Jeff Shields says Oakes was known as the most eminent judge in the country on environmental law with a strong reputation on civil liberties and civil rights.


AP Photo/Donna Light


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