PORTLAND, Maine — U.S. District Judge George Singal will assume senior status next year, leaving a vacancy on the federal bench in Maine, John A. Woodcock, the chief U.S. District judge for Maine, announced Tuesday.
Singal, 66, of Portland was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July 2000 to the federal bench after being nominated by President Bill Clinton two months earlier. Singal practiced law in Bangor for 30 years before filling the post left vacant by the death of U.S. District Judge Morton Brody in March 2000.
Efforts Wednesday to reach Singal were unsuccessful.
“During his tenure as an active district court judge, Judge Singal has maintained the tradition of judicial excellence for which the district is well known,” Woodcock, who has been a federal judge since 2003, said in announcing Singal’s change in status. “Judge Singal’s brilliance, efficiency, and practical touch have benefited the people who have come before him and were recognized by the chief justice, who appointed him to serve on one of the central committees of the national judiciary. We have all been fortunate to have had his dedicated service as an active judge and I look forward to his active engagement as a senior judge.”
Singal will maintain his chambers in Portland and continue to hear cases, Woodcock said.
If President Barack Obama were to nominate a successor to Singal before the end of the year, it would the second federal judge in Maine the president has named in two years. I n March 2011 Obama nominated Nancy Torresen to be a U.S. District judge and she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate the following October. She filled the post left vacant when U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby assumed senior status in 2010.
Singal is from a Jewish family that endured a harrowing saga in Europe during World War II, according to a report published in 2000. His parents, Malka and Louis Singal, and his older sister, Judith, left their Polish village in 1939 when the Germans invaded, and joined a band of roaming resistance fighters, surviving in the woods for about five years.
In 1944, after the Russians advanced to Germany and liberated the group of resistance fighters, the Singals returned home only to have the family patriarch, Louis Singal, die. Five-months pregnant, Malka took her daughter over the Alps to Italy, where her son was born in a refugee camp in 1945.
At naturalization ceremonies, Singal, a naturalized citizen himself, often told new citizens how proud his mother was when she was called for jury duty decades after becoming an American.
He attended the University of Maine and, after graduation from Harvard Law School in 1970, joined the firm of Gross, Minsky and Singal in Bangor.