Professor Joseph Greenaway, CC ’78, was confirmed Tuesday as a federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in a unanimous Senate decision. Judge Greenaway is an adjunct professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia and taught a seminar on the history of the Supreme Court in the American studies department this fall.
Greenaway was nominated by President Barack Obama, CC '83, in June and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Oct. 1, but without a final confirmatory vote from the Republican Party, his confirmation was stalled. On Tuesday, he was confirmed by the Senate with 84 yeas and zero nays to fill a seat that has been empty for almost four years. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito previously held the seat. Greenaway was formerly on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Brittani Kirkpatrick, a teaching assistant for Greenaway’s Supreme Court seminar, said that Greenaway’s dedication to his students will be something that will make his tenure as judge unique. Kirkpatrick said she considers him a mentor. She has been working with him for over a year, and has also interned with him. “He really tries to reach and out and be there for the students, and that is something that is very special,” she said.
Greenaway is also an adjunct professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in Manhattan, where he teaches a seminar on the Supreme Court and a trial practice course.
Kirkpatrick noted his passion for teaching. “It’ll be great to see him continue to give back—he’s invested in giving back to students, and going to schools to teach students and spread his love of the law and the topics he teaches,” she said.
In 1997, Greenaway was the recipient of the Columbia University Medal of Excellence, and in 2003 he received the John Jay Award. He also delivered Columbia College’s Class Day speech at the 1998 commencement ceremony.
According to Kirkpatrick, Greenaway’s thoughtful nature will prove to be an asset on the Circuit. “He’s a very thoughtful person about the law. He takes the time to really consider the issues and really unpack the research," she said. "I think there’s a lot on the horizon."