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Thomas Walter Swan

Thomas Walter Swan (December 20, 1877 – July 13, 1975) was a longtime Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Swan was born and raised in Connecticut, and attended Yale University and Harvard Law School. He then practiced law in Chicago from 1903 to 1916, when he became the Dean and a professor at Yale Law School. In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge nominated Swan to be a Judge of the Second Circuit. (Swan's predecessor in his judgeship, Henry Wade Rogers, had also been Dean of Yale Law School.)

Swan served on the Second Circuit as an active judge until 1953 and was the Chief Judge from 1951 to 1953. Swan was highly regarded as a judge and served on an eminent bench that also included Learned Hand, Augustus Hand, Charles Clark, and Jerome Frank. In 1953, Swan took "senior status" on the court, which he retained until his death in 1975 at the age of 97.


  • Gunther, Gerald (April 12, 1994). Learned Hand : the man and the judge. with a foreword by Lewis F. Powell, Jr. New York, NY: Knopf. ISBN 0-394-58807-X. LCCN 93022868. LCC KF373.H29 G76 1994. (biography of Learned Hand, Swan's fellow judge on the Second Circuit, contains extensive discussion of Swan)
  • Marcia Nelson, The Remarkable Hands: An Affectionate Portrait (Federal Bar Foundation 1983)
  • Marvin Schick, Learned Hand's Court (Johns Hopkins 1970)
Academic offices
Preceded by
Henry Wade Rogers
Dean of Yale Law School
Succeeded by
Robert Maynard Hutchins
Legal offices
Preceded by
Henry Wade Rogers
Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Succeeded by
Carroll C. Hincks