Widely acclaimed conservative judge Laurence Silberman passes away

A federal judge who was widely regarded by conservatives as being a judicial legend passed away this past weekend. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Judge Laurence Silberman died of natural causes at his Washington, D.C. home on Sunday just 10 days before he was set to turn 87.

First appointed to the bench by President Reagan in 1985

Originally nominated by President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1985, he went on to serve with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review until 2003.

In 2004, Silberman was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the Iraq Intelligence Commission alongside a team of academics and lawmakers from both parties.

The commission released a report the following year which concluded that there had been “a major intelligence failure” regarding the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

In 2015, Silberman authored an opinion piece for the Journal in which he denounced claims from commentators that the Bush administration maliciously lied America into war.

“Some journalists still peddle this canard as if it were fact,” the judge wrote. “This is defamatory and could end up hurting the country.”

Following the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in 2007, CNN reported that Silberman was thought to be among the list of individuals who were being considered as a possible replacement.

Silberman was awarded Justice Clarence Thomas First Principles Award in 2021

The Journal noted that during his time on the bench, Silberman became known for his 2nd Amendment jurisprudence.

He was also awarded the first ever Justice Clarence Thomas First Principles Award in 2021, with the Journal hailing him as “the most influential judge never to have sat on the Supreme Court.”

“It has always seemed rather simple to me that in a democracy federal judges appointed for life may not allow themselves, or should not allow themselves, to make policy judgments,” the Journal quoted Silberman as saying in 2002.

“One of the things that has disappointed me terribly about being a judge is the recognition as to how few judges and justices are really believers in judicial restraint,” he added.