CCAR Resolution on Hon. Jacob Trieber, z”l

CCAR Resolution on Hon. Jacob Trieber, z”l

August 11, 2015

WHEREAS Jacob Trieber was the first American Jew to serve as U.S. District Judge; and

WHEREAS Judge Trieber was appointed by President William McKinley to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas on July 26, 1900, and served until his death on September 17, 1927; and

WHEREAS Judge Trieber was an outspoken opponent of racism and advocate for women’s rights ahead of his time;[i] and

WHEREAS in Judge Trieber’s best known ruling, in United States v. Hodges, he ruled in favor of African American workers who had lost their jobs when “whitecappers” intimidated their employers, holding that the 13th Amendment guarantees a right to work, irrespective of race;[ii] but

WHEREAS a regressive Supreme Court reversed Judge Trieber’s ruling in 1906, an injustice that would not be corrected until the adoption of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and

WHEREAS Judge Trieber’s legacy has been heretofore unheralded; but

WHEREAS the Arkansas congressional delegation has unanimously proposed legislation to name the Federal Building in Helena, Arkansas, where Judge Trieber lived and served, as the Jacob Trieber Federal Building, United States Post Office, and United States Court House;[iii] and

WHEREAS that legislation was adopted in the Senate on August 5, 2015[iv]; therefore

BE IT RESOLVED that the Central Conference of American Rabbis:

  • Endorses the naming of Jacob Trieber Federal Building, United States Post Office, and United States Court House; and
  • Urges its members and members of the communities we serve to ask all Members of the House of Representatives to co-sponsor the legislation to do so, S. 1707 and H.R. 2954; and
  • Applauds the efforts of Arkansas residents, most of them not Jewish, who have championed the cause of honoring this great American Jew; and
  • Commends Senator John Boozman, Senator Tom Cotton, Representative Rick Crawford, Representative French Hill, Representative Bruce Westerman, and Representative Steve Womack, for taking up this effort in Washington, D.C.
  • [i] Carolyn Gray LeMaster, “Jacob Trieber,” Encyclopedia of Arkansas, accessed at, last edited November 21, 2012.

    [ii] Pamela S. Karlan, “Contracting the Thirteenth Amendment: Hodges v. United States, Boston University Law Review, Vol 85:783-809, 2005.

    [iii] H.R. 2954 by Rep. Crawford, for himself, Rep. Westerman, Rep. Womack, and Rep. Hill; and S. 1707 by Sen. Boozman, for himself and Sen. Cotton.

    [iv] S. 1707.