LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack Weiss will present a lecture on “Alvin B. Rubin and the Good Judge Ideal” at the 22nd Annual Judge Alvin B. Rubin Symposium sponsored by the Federal Bar Association, New Orleans chapter, on Thursday, April 17. The lecture will take place at 2:00 p.m. in the Ceremonial Courtroom at the Eastern District of Louisiana. The symposium is an annual discussion on aspects of federal law or federal practice held as a living memorial to Judge Alvin B. Rubin’s contribution to federal jurisprudence and legal scholarship.
Chancellor Weiss will discuss several respects in which Judge Rubin embodied the qualities of a “good judge.” He will explain how “good judges” provide a structured and demanding framework within which lawyers may excel. Chancellor Weiss also will discuss Judge Rubin’s approach to constitutional judging and will relate that approach to current debates over interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
“As a young law clerk and later as a practicing lawyer, I had the privilege of knowing Judge Rubin and of observing first hand his extraordinary qualities as a judge and as a human being,” said Weiss. “Judge Rubin was the very first Distinguished Alumnus whom LSU Law recognized for truly rare achievement in the law. He left his mark as one of the greatest Louisiana judges of all time. I’m extremely honored to participate in this annual program recognizing one of the noblest Tigers of them all.”
Judge Rubin was born in Alexandria, Louisiana in 1920, and received a B.S. from Louisiana State University in 1941. He started at Louisiana State University Law School in 1940. When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, was assigned to General Patton’s “Big Red 1,” and served in the European Theatre of Operations in England, France, Belgium, and Germany, rising to the rank of Captain and serving as an Assistant Judge Advocate. After the war ended he returned to Baton Rouge for law school in an accelerated post-war program for returning war veterans. He graduated first in his law school class in 1942 and was Editor-in-Chief of the Louisiana Law Review.
After his graduation, he began practicing law in Baton Rouge with J.Y. Sanders and Ben Miller Sr., and after several years the firm of Sanders, Miller, Downing, Rubin and Kean was formed. Judge Rubin specialized in tax law, corporate transactions, and trust and estates law. He also was an arbitrator and mediator. Beginning in 1942, Judge Rubin taught a variety of subjects continuously at the LSU Law Center until 1989.
In 1963, Judge Rubin and Dean Henry George McMahon co-authored Louisiana Pleadings and Judicial Forms Annotated. For over 20 years, Judge Rubin continued the annual updates for this vital resource used by Louisiana attorneys. Before 1960, Louisiana civil law prohibited the establishment of Trusts. Judge Rubin was instrumental in the creation of a Trust Code for Louisiana, which was adopted by the Louisiana Legislature in 1960. In 1966 he and his wife, Janice, co-authored the Louisiana Trust Handbook, and later, he wrote Louisiana Wills and Trust: A Drafting System (with Professor Gerald LeVan).
Judge Rubin practiced law until 1966 when President Johnson nominated him to a new seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He served at an important time in the Court’s history, hearing many of the desegregation and civil rights cases in the 1960’s. After eleven years as a judge on the federal district court, Judge Rubin was nominated in 1977, by President Jimmy Carter to fill a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated by John Minor Wisdom. Judge Rubin assumed senior status on July 1, 1989, and served in that capacity until his death in 1991 in Baton Rouge.