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D.C. Court of Appeals Senior Judge Frank E. Schwelb Dies at 82

August 22, 2014

District of Columbia Court of Appeals Senior Judge Frank E. Schwelb died at Georgetown University Hospital on August 13. He was 82 years old. 

He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and lived as a refugee in Britain for eight years before moving to the United States at the age of 15. He was a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School and served in the U.S. Army. 

“Frank was a great colleague, a brilliant lawyer, and an esteemed jurist. He turned the tragedy of his wartime escape from his homeland into a lifetime commitment to civil rights and justice for all. He will be truly missed by his D.C. Courts family,” said Chief Judge Eric T. Washington. 

Judge Schwelb was appointed to the D.C. Superior Court by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and to the D.C. Court of Appeals by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. He took senior status in 2006. 

After graduating from law school, Judge Schwelb joined the New York firm of Mudge, Stern, Baldwin & Todd. From 1962 to 1979 he served in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1969 he was appointed to be the first chief of the division’s Housing Section. He also served as special counsel to the Health, Education and Welfare Secretary’s Review Panel on New Drug Regulation from 1976 to 1977. 

Judge Schwelb authored several law review articles and numerous judicial opinions. He lectured on equal housing opportunity at law schools, bar organizations, and real estate industry groups, as well as taught various continuing legal education courses, and participated in moot court and other training for law students.