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Joel Flaum

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Joel Flaum
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Current Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Title:   Judge
Station:   Chicago, IL
Appointed by:   Ronald Reagan
Active:   5/5/1983-Present
Chief:   2000-2006
Preceded by:   Robert Sprecher
Past post:   Northern District of Illinois
Past term:   1974-1983
Personal History
Born:   1936
Hometown:   Hudson, NY
Undergraduate:   Union College, 1958
Law School:   Northwestern U. Law, 1963
Grad. School:   Northwestern University Law, 1964

Joel Martin Flaum is a federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He joined the court in 1983 after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan.[1]


Flaum graduated from Union College with his bachelor's degree in 1958, and later graduated from Northwestern University School of Law with his J.D. in 1963. He received his Master in Laws degree in 1964.[1]

Military service

Flaum served as a Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander in the JAG Corps from 1981 to 1992.[1]

Professional career

Judicial career

Seventh Circuit

On the recommendation of U.S. Senator Charles Percy, Flaum was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on April 14, 1983, to a seat vacated by Robert Sprecher as Sprecher died in judicial service. Flaum was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 4, 1983, and received commission on May 5, 1983. Flaum served as the chief judge of the court from 2000 to 2006.[1]

Northern District of Illinois

On the recommendation of U.S. Senator Charles Percy, Flaum was nominated by President Gerald Ford on November 18, 1974, to a seat vacated by Judge Philip Tone as Tone assumed senior status. Flaum was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 18, 1974, and received commission on December 20, 1974. Flaum left the Northern District of Illinois on June 1, 1983, due to his appointment to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Flaum was succeeded in this position by Judge Ilana Rovner.[1]

Notable cases

Court allows for warrantless entry and seizure (2014)

     Seventh Circuit (Krysta Sutterfield v. City of Milwaukee, et. al., No. 12-2272)

In May 2014, the Seventh Circuit found that Milwaukee Police had the authority to enter Krysta Sutterfield's home without a warrant, due to exigent circumstances. The city claimed that Sutterfield posed harm to herself, following a comment made during a doctor's appointment. To that end, police arrived at Sutterfield's home, questioned her, seized firearms from her home, arrested her, then took her for an emergency mental evaluation. Sutterfield, who insisted she was of sound mental health at the time of the incident, sued on the basis of her Second, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The Seventh Circuit agreed that the police officers were protected under qualified immunity, even if Sutterfield's Fourth Amendment rights were violated. This decision affirmed a ruling by Judge Joseph Stadtmueller, of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.[2]

Union challenge to Wisconsin's labor law defeated in court (2014)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Laborers Local 236, AFL-CIO, et al v. Walker, et al, 13-3193)

On April 18, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit, composed of Judges Flaum, Ilana Rovner, and Judge Virginia Kendall of the Northern District of Illinois sitting by designation, ruled that Wisconsin's Act 10, a law enacted in 2011 that barred government employers from collectively bargaining with employees' unions over anything save for wages, was constitutionally sound, upholding a lower court opinion from the Western District of Wisconsin.[3]

In the underlying case, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 60 and Laborers Local 236 brought suit against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, alleging violations of their constitutionally protected First Amendment right to the freedom of association, as well as their right to petition the government for redress of grievances. The plaintiffs further alleged violations of their Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection of the laws. Prior to the plaintiffs' appeal, Judge William Conley rebuffed their claims, stating that as public employees of the state, they "remain[ed] free to associate and their unions remain[ed] free to speak; municipal employers are simply not allowed to listen."[3]

In an opinion written by Judge Flaum, the Seventh Circuit affirmed Judge Conley's ruling, commenting that "the line between constitutionality and unconstitutionally is not drawn according to how open a state decisionmaker is to what you have to say."[3]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Philip Tone
Northern District of Illinois
Succeeded by:
Ilana Rovner
Preceded by:
Robert Sprecher
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by: