Congress Approves Bill Renaming Helena-West Helena Federal Building in Honor of First Jewish Federal Judge

Sep 24, 2015
Press

WASHINGTON – Legislation to recognize the civic contributions of Judge Jacob Trieber by renaming the Helena-West Helena Federal building in his honor heads to the president’s desk for final approval after the House of Representatives unanimously supported the bill today. Trieber was the first Jewish Federal Judge and a long-time resident and community leader of Phillips County. The Senate unanimously approved the bill in August. 

“We owe this honor to Judge Trieber who was a well-respected leader in Phillips County. This is a great tribute that symbolizes the important work he did for the community and in pursuit of justice as the nation’s first Jewish federal judge. I’m pleased that my colleagues in the House of Representatives supported this legislation,” Senator John Boozman, who introduced the legislation, said.

“Driven by his unmatched dedication to justice and equality for all people, Judge Trieber took it upon himself to fight against all types of injustices, including institutionalized racism, which he opposed six decades before finally being vindicated by the Supreme Court and the Civil Rights act of 1964. By naming Helena’s Federal building in his honor, we preserve his unparalleled judicial spirit and dedication to equal opportunities for everyone,” Congressman Rick Crawford, who introduced the bill in the House, said.

Judge Jacob Trieber served as the first Jewish federal judge. He was appointed by President William McKinley and served from 1900-1927 as the federal judge for the U.S. Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas where he built a reputation as a jurist who sought equal justice for all people. Judge Trieber had astounding foresight, and many rulings he made that were of significant importance regarding civil rights and wildlife conservation still affect us today. His commitment to the community also included time as an elected official on the Helena City Council and the Phillips County treasurer. Judge Trieber played an influential role in saving the Old State House and establishing the Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium.

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