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Joseph Carmine Zavatt Edit Profile

federal judge

Joseph Carmine Zavatt, American Federal judge. Bar: New York 1926. With United States Army, World War I; Lieutenant commander of The United States Navy Reserve, 1942-1945. Member Bar Association Nassau County (president 1950), Garden City Country Club, Skytop Club, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Background

Born in Lawrence, New York, he was the son of Vincent Zavatto, a real estate professional and author who immigrated to the United States from San Martino di Finita, Italy in 1892.

Education

Bachelor, Columbia University, 1922;Bachelor of Laws, Columbia University, 1924;postgraduate, School Political Science, 1926-1927;postgraduate, New York University Law School, 1933-1934.

Career

Zavatt received a B.A. from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1922 and an LL.B. from Columbia Law School in 1924. He served as a United States Army Private from 1918 to 1919 during World War I, and a Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve during World War II serving three years of active duty. From 1930-1933, Zavatt instructed at the New York University School of Business Administration.

Later, 1948-1953 he was a Counsel on the New York State Legislature to Study the Military Law. Zavatt was active in the Nassau County Bar Association, serving as its President in 1950. He was also instrumental in creating the Legal Aid Society in Nassau County.

He was in private practice of law in Nassau County, New York from 1927 to 1957, Judge Zavatt was appointed to the Federal bench in 1957, and served from 1962 to 1969 as the chief judge of the Eastern District of New York, which includes Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. In 1966, Zavatt published the book "Sentencing Procedure in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York." (ASIN: B0007JWTTY) In one of his major decisions, he ordered the authorities in Manhasset, L.I., to end de facto segregation in elementary schools. In a New York Times Article, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, hailed the ruling as a landmark decision.

The case centered around black pupils who more than a year behind the national average. Zavatt held eight weeks of hearings, and without a jury reached a decision. Zavatt stated upon granting the Injunction, " The denial of the right not to be segregated cannot be assuaged or supported by evidence indicating that underachievement in the three R's may be due in whole or in part to low socioeconomic level, home influence or measured intelligence quotient.

The role of public education in our democracy is not limited to these academic subjects. It encompasses a broader preparation for participation in the mainstream of our society." Robert L. Carter, NAACP's General Counsel call it "the best analyzed decision on this problem that has been handed down." Carter stated that the 59-page opinion would "carry more weight" than other recent decisions that have blocked efforts toward fuller integration in some communities. He predicted the ruling would "light a fire" under some school boards in the State.

He served as chief judge from 1962 to 1969. He assumed senior status on December 31, 1970 and his service terminated on August 31, 1985, due to death. The Manhasset Ruling can be found online.

Achievements

  • Bar: New York 1926.

Religion

He was nominated to the court by Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 21, 1957, to a seat vacated by Clarence G. Galston, confirmed by the United States Senate on August 5, 1957, and received his commission on August 7, 1957.

Views

Quotations: "the best analyzed decision on this problem that has been handed down.".

Membership

With United States Army, World War I. Lieutenant commander of The United States Navy Reserve, 1942-1945. Member Bar Association Nassau County (president 1950), Garden City Country Club, Skytop Club, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Connections

Married Anna Maas, June 12, 1942.

father:
Vincent Zavatt

mother:
Margaret (Hanlon) Zavatt

spouse:
Anna Maas