VARSITY 2015-2016

3/5/16- NYS Federation CHAMPIONSHIPS

Over the weekend, the AquaRams travelled to Buffalo NY to compete in the New York State Swimming and Diving Federation Championships. For two days, the meet was filled with the best competition of high school swimming and diving in the state of New York and similar to past years, the Fordham Prep swimming team did not disappoint as they captured an impressive 2nd place finish overall just 12 points from 1st place!

Spencer Lafata led the team with a 2nd place finish in the 200yd freestyle with a time of 1:40.52 and an exciting come from behind 1st place finish in the 500yd freestyle with an Automatic All American time of  4:27.02.

Freshman Nick Torres also led the team with top finishes in his events including 5th place in the 200 individual medley of 1:52.64 just off our team record and 2nd place in the 100 backstroke 51.21!.

Other great individual performances were turned in by Aristides Speres in the 100 butterfly 51.51.45 along with Ryan Mairele and Stephan Gray in the 500yd freestyle coming in at  4:49.12 and 4:49.27 respectively. Gray also was nominated for the sportsmanship award of the meet for the Catholic High School Section.

In the relays, the team of Aristides Speres (46.41), Alec Nicaj (47.35), Nick Torres (45.81), and Spencer Lafata (46.10) captured 1st place in the 400yd freestyle relay for the 5th year in a row with an automatic all american time of 3:05.67, less than a second off the state record which is also held by Fordham Prep. In addition, the team of Nick Torres, Charles Lazaroni, Aristides Speres, and Alec Nicaj placed 5th overall in the 200medley relay and 4th in the  200freestyle relay with Speres, Francis Moran, Lafata, and Nicaj. 
Congratulations to the team on a fantastic meet and conclusion to the season!

2/7/16- NYCHSAA Championships

The Fordham prep swim and dive team concluded their CHSAA season on Sunday evening. The three day meet saw incredible competition throughout. Thursday evening the divers got the team some early points taking 2nd, 13, 18, and 19th. Saturday during the swimming trials the team placed themselves in a great position for sunday's finals, with all swimmers turning in best times of the season. Sunday's finals started with the 200 medley relay 1st through third place teams sepersted by less than a second. Through the next 5 events the lead changed hands between the Prep and two other teams multiple times. Prep swimmers Spencer Lafatta and Nick Torres were crowned individual champions in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley respectively. After the diving the top three teams were sepersted by only 11 points. Through the final 6 events the Aquarams continued to turn in top swims with Spencer Lafata winning the 500 freestyle, Nick Torres the 100 Back, and the 400 relay of Aristides Speres, Allan Cooke, Nick Torres and Spencer Lafata winning the final event. As the dust settled and the final score was announced the Prep had been crowned 2016 CHSAA runner ups. Congratulations to Stephen Gray, Ryan Maeirle, Allan Cooke, Charles Lazaroni, Aristidies Speres, Spencer Lafata, Nick Torres and Alec Nicaj all turned in State Championship qualifying times and will represent he Prep at the New York State Federation Championships. Congratulations to all Prep Swimmers and Divers on an excellent season!

1/25/16- FORDHAM PREP VS. st. anthonys

The Fordham Prep Swim and Dive Team concluded their duel meet season Monday evening against this years league powerhouse St. Anthony's.  What was billed to be a competitive and exciting meet surpassed all expectations.  The Aquarams turned in fantastic swim after fantastic swim, winning the first 3 events and going into the one meter diving tied 31 to 31.  The back and forth continued after the diving with St. Anthony's and the Prep swapping slim leads after each event.  Going into the final event, the 400 yard freestyle relay, the Aquarams had a slight 2 point lead.  After the final touches, in what was the most exciting race of the season, the Prep came up just a tad short, conceding victory to the Friars by 2 points. The team has much to be proud of at the conclusion of the duel meet season, many swimmers and divers turned in their best performances of the season on Monday and are looking to use this momentum to catapult them even further in the CHSAA Championships that are scheduled for February 4th, 6th and 7th.  Outstanding performances were turned in by Aristedes Speres, Jared Copeland, Frankie Moran, Nick Torres, Stephen Amato, Steven Gray, Alec Nicaj, Nick Malloy, Trevor Sermon, Chris Bennianti, and Spencer Lafata.

Kudos to all swimmers and divers for an excellent duel meet season, and to the Class of 2016 Aquarams completing their duel meet careers 39-1.  Good Luck at Championships!


12/22/15- FORDHAM PREP VS. xAVIER

On Tuesday, December 22nd the Prep Swim and Dive Team had one last task to take care of before winter break.  Set for a show down with school rival Xavier, the team was committed to continuing their undefeated season moving into the holidays. Several fantastic swims were turned in highlighted by Aristedes Speres, Spencer Lafata, Alec Nicaj, Brian Chrystal, Trevor Sermon, and many more.  The team jumped out to a quick lead, and was able to maintain and build winning some exciting races along the way.  The team looks forward to capitalizing on its winter break practices at their next meet, against Xavieran on Tuesday, January 5th at the Fordham University Pool.  All are welcome to come and cheer on the team. Good Job and Good Luck to all Aquarams!


12/3/15- FORDHAM PREP VS. ST. Francis

The Prep swim and dive team welcomed the terriers of St. Francis Prep to the Rose Hill campus.  The Aquarams snapped to a quick start sweeping 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the meet's initial event, the 200 yard Medley relay.  The second event saw Freshman Nick Torres win the 200 yard freestyle, followed by Junior Spencer LaFata in the third event, the 200 yard Individual Medley, also capturing 1st place.  Seniors Alec Nicaj and Brian Chrystal continued the winning ways securing the prep's 4th and 5th wins in the 50 and 100 yard freestyles. The team went on to win each of the remaining 8 events and the overall meet 93-67.  Outstanding swims were also turned in by some younger members of the team when Freshmen Andrew Wetty, Chis Garcia and Sophomores Daniel Masseo, Ryan Garvey, Lukas Petit all made their A-championship qualifying times.  The team looks forward to continuing its season against Molloy, on Monday December 14th.  Congratulations to all Swimmers and Divers on a job well done!  

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11/22/15- FORDHAM PREP VS. ST. Peters

Sunday evening the Prep Swim and Dive team swam Staten Island powerhouse St. Peters.  The Aquarams got off to a quick start taking first and second place in the 200 yard medley relay, and continued their winning pace for the remainder of the meet.  The Prep won every event, including sweeping the 1 meter diving. Alec Nicaj, Michael Filaridi, Jalen Ramjohn, Chris Benninati, Brian Chrystal, Stephen Amato, Dylan Walsh and Mike Marun all turned in great swims. Congratulations to freshman Austin Hourican, Luke Rosato, Jared Copeland, Ryan Maierle, and Nick Torres all who made their Varisty A-championships cut.  The team looks forward to the annual Relay Carnival on Tuesday evening.

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11/19/15- fORDHAM pREP VS. ST dOMINICS

The Prep Swimming and Diving team kicked off its variety season Thursday night welcoming St. Dominics to the University natatorium.  The team got off to a quick start sweeping the 1 meter diving and the 200 yard medley relay event, and continued to its fast pace throughout the night.  Junior Spencer Lafata won the 200 yard freestyle in a New York State Championship qualifying time of 1:45.34 seconds.  Alan Cooke, Trevor Sermon, Frankie Moran, Aristides Speres, Ryan Maierle, Jared Copeland and Nick Torres also turned in excellent swimming performances.  The team has a quick turnaround for its second meet as they look to take on St. Peters High School, Sunday at 5:30pm.  Congratulations to all swimmers and divers on a great first meet! 

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2015 Fordham Prep Freshman Swimming & Diving

Congratulations to the FP Freshman Swimming & Diving for finishing 2nd place at CHSAA Championships.  The team won 5 of the 8 swimming events. Nick Torres was named the meet MVP, breaking 3 league and team records (100 IM, 50 Back, 50 Free). Ryan Maierle won two events (50 Free & 100 Free). In the final race of the day, the 200 Free Relay team of Luke Rosatto, Jared Copeland, Ryan Maierle and Nick Torres set a new league and team record. 


2015 NY State Federation Champs


The Fordham Prep Swim team captured their 5th consecutive New York State Federation Championship this weekend in Ithica, NY. The 200 Medley Relay of Jalen Ramjohn, Ian Bidwell, Aristides Speres and Alec Nicaj began the meet with a 3rd place finish. In the 200 freestyle relay, the team of Michael Verini, Timothy Buttigieg, Alec Nicaj, and Steven Tierney won with a time of 1:24.92. Top eight performances were turned in by Michael Verini (50 Free & 100 Free), Steven Tierney (200 Free, 100 free), Jack Collins (500 Free), Ian Bidwell (200 IM & 500 Free), & Spencer LaFata (200 Free & 500 Free), The final event of the day, the 400 Freestyle relay, the team of Michael Verini, Spencer LaFata, Jack Collins, Steven Tierney, finished the meet with a fantastic swim of 3:06.19 and sealed the deal assuring the team's dominating win with 245 points. Congratulations to all!
Congratulations to all!

 


Commencement Remarks of the Hon. William Kuntz '68
Posted 05/30/2019 06:06PM

Fordham Prep had the distinct honor of having the Honorable William Kuntz '68 speak at this year's graduation. He is currently a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York. Below are his remarks from graduation. You can watch his speech and the entire graduation on YouTube.

JUDGE KUNTZ REMARKS AT FORDHAM PREPARATORY SCHOOL

              THANK YOU, FATHER DEVRON, FOR THAT OVERLY KIND INTRODUCTION. I CONGRATULATE THE DISTINGUISHED FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATORS OF THE PREP WHO EDUCATED THE FINE YOUNG MEN ABOUT TO GRADUATE FROM THE BEST INSTITUTION I EVER ATTENDED. I SALUTE THE PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, AUNTS AND UNCLES, FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO NURTURED AND RAISED YOU: THE MAGNIFICENT CLASS OF 2019.

I AM DEEPLY HONORED TO SPEAK WITH YOU ABOUT MY JOURNEY FROM DEAN STREET IN BEDFORD STUYVESANT BROOKLYN TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT BENCH.  

              IF YOU GOOGLE JUNE 24, 1950, YOU WILL FIND FRONT PAGE NEW YORK TIMES STORIES REPORTING THAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT INSISTS THE ALIENS AT ROSWELL WERE NOTHING MORE THAN ERRANT WEATHER BALLONS; STORIES ANNOUNCING THAT IRAQIS WERE DEFYING A UNITED NATIONS ARMS BAN, AND STORIES ANNOUNCING 75,000 NORTH KOREAN SOLDIERS CROSSING THE 38TH PARALLEL. IT WAS A SATURDAY, AND IN BROOKLYN THE TEMPERATURE WAS 90 DEGREES.

              YOU WILL NOT, HOWEVER, SEE ANY REFERENCE TO THE BIRTH OF AN OBSCURE AFRICAN AMERICAN – THE SON OF A NURSE FROM ROSARYVILLE, MARYLAND AND HER HUSBAND, A POSTAL WORKER FROM HARLEM. YOU WILL NOT SEE IN THE REAL ESTATE SECTION THE LISTING OF APARTMENTS IN THE BRONX AND NORTHERN MANHATTAN –IDENTIFYING WHICH ONES WILL AND WHICH ONES WILL NOT RENT TO AFRICAN AMERICANS: ALTHOUGH IF YOU CALL YOU WILL BE TOLD QUITE CANDIDLY WHO DOES AND WHO DOES NOT RENT TO COLORED PEOPLE, AND SO YOU WILL SAVE PRECIOUS CAR FARE BY NOT TRAVELLING FROM DEAN STREET IN BED-STY ONLY TO BE TURNED AWAY WHEN THE LANDLORD SEES YOUR BLACK FACE. AFTER ALL, SEPARATE BUT EQUAL WAS STILL THE LAW OF THE LAND THANKS TO THE SUPREME COURT DECISION IN PLESSY VERSUS FERGUSON, THE 1896 DECISION THAT WAS ONLY 54 YEARS OLD,

AND REMEMBER, BROWN VERSUS BOARD OF EDUCATION OUTLAWING THAT DOCTRINE IS ONLY 65 YEARS OLD TODAY, YET AS YOU ALSO KNOW CERTAIN JUDICIAL CANDIDATES WHEN ASKED TO COMMENT ON WHETHER BROWN VERSUS BOARD OF EDUCATION IS SETTLED LAW, CHANNEL THE WISE RESPONSE OF CHOU EN LAI AND MAO TSE TUNG, WHO WHEN THEY WERE ASKED TO COMMENT ON THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION RESPONDED: “IT’S TOO SOON TO TELL.”

              PERHAPS THE COMMUNIST LEADERS WERE RESPONDING THE LONG RANGE VIEW OF MILLENIA IN DECLINING TO TAKE A POSITION ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION OF 1789; OR PERHAPS THEY WERE INTERPRETING THE QUESTION AS ONE ADDRESSED TO THE PARIS STUDENT/WORKER UPRISINGS OF 1968; OR PERHAPS THEY WERE SUBTLY REMINDING THEIR QUESTIONER THAT HISTORY MATTERS.   AFTER ALL, IF YOU HAD ASKED A SEVENTY YEAR OLD MAN ABOUT IMPEACHMENT IN 1950, HE WOULD HAVE RESPONDED IN THE CONTEXT OF THE IMPEACHMENT DEBATE OVER PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON IN 1868, OR IF YOU HAD ASKED A 70 YEAR OLD MAN ABOUT IMPEACHMENT IN 2010 HE WOULD HAVE REPONDED ABOUT THE IMPEACHMENT DRAMA SURROUNDING PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON IN 1973, OR IF YOU ASK YOU GENTLMEN ABOUT IMPEACHMENT 50 YEARS FROM NOW WHEN YOU ARE ABOUT TO TURN 70 YEARS OF AGE, YOU WILL PROBABLY RESPOND ABOUT THE IMPEACHMENT DRAMA SURROUNDING. . . ER, WELL, UM, BUT I DIGRESS . . .. IN ANY EVENT, BACK TO 1951. IN THAT YEAR YOU WILL MOVE WITH YOUR PARENTS TO THE NEWLY BUILT COLONIAL PARK POLO GROUNDS PROJECTS – TODAY KNOWN AS THE RANGEL PROJECTS – WHERE A YEAR LATER YOU WILL BE JOINED BY THE BIRTH OF YOUR YOUNGER BROTHER – ERIC, -- WHO IS TODAY THE LEADING PEDIATRIC PSYCHIARTRIST IN THE STATE OF MAINE: A GRADUATE OF FORDHAM PREP, PRINCETON AND DOWNSTATE MEDICAL SCHOOL, A MEMBER OF THE FORDHAM PREP CLASS OF 1970.  WHEN I ASKED ERIC IF HE BECAME A PEDIATRIC PSYCHIATRIST BECAUSE I WAS HIS BIG BROTHER, HE SIMPLY SMILED, COCKED HIS HEAD TO ONE SIDE AND SAID: “WHAT DO YOU THINK, BILLY?” I WITHDREW THE QUESTION.

              IN A FEW YEARS, AT THE AGE OF FIVE, YOU WILL ATTEND KINDERGARTEN AT RESURRECTION GRAMMAR SCHOOL IN HARLEM – IN A SINGLE CLASS ROOM WITH A 53 OTHER CHILDREN– AND YOU WILL STAY IN THAT SCHOOL THROUGH THE 8th GRADE, AT WHICH TIME, IN 1964, YOU WILL ATTEND FORDHAM PREP IN THE BRONX. YOU WILL BE VERY UPSET, HOWEVER, WHEN AT THE AGE OF SIXTEEN MID-WAY THROUGH YOUR JUNIOR YEAR YOUR 30-MINUTE COMMUTE TURNS INTO A TWO HOUR EACH WAY COMMUTE WHEN YOUR FAMILY MOVES TO QUEENS VILLAGE.

              YOU WILL BE ONE OF ONLY THREE AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS IN A FORDHAM PREP CLASS OF 256 STUDENTS: THE CLASS OF 1968 AT FORDHAM PREP. YOU WILL BE SURPRISED WHEN NEW HORIZONS ARE OPENED TO YOU:

A SLY JESUIT NAMED FATHER FRANCIS FAHEY WILL INTRODUCE YOU TO THE ONION CONSTRUCTION IN LATIN, AND REMIND YOU THAT IT BEARS THAT NAME BECAUSE OF ITS STRUCTURE, AND NOT BECAUSE OF ITS AROMA.  FOR METROPOLITAN FIELD DAY FATHER SMITH TAKES YOU AND TWENTY OTHER STUDENTS TO YOUR FIRST METROPOLITAN OPERA: THE DIALOGUE OF THE CARMALITES: A TALE OF COURAGE AND FAITH BY WOMEN OF THE CLOTH IN A TIME OF REVOLUTIONARY TERROR. THE GRACE, BEAUTY AND SOUND OF THE HUMAN VOICE, UNAMPLIFIED YET SOARING OVER THE BEST ORCHESTRA ON THE PLANET WILL AMAZE YOU. YOU WILL BE ASTOUNDED WHEN THOSE MAJESTIC CHANDELIERS MAGICALLY RECEDE TO THE CEILING.   YOU WILL LEARN LATIN, AVOID GREEK, AND MAKE LIFE LONG FRIENDSHIPS AS YOUR ARE EXPOSED TO THE FINEST JESUIT MINDS AMERICA.

              THE SOLID JESUIT EDUCATION AT THE PREP -- MORALLY, SOCIALLY, RELIGIOUSLY AND INTELLECTUALLY –STANDS YOU IN GOOD STEAD WHEN YOU ATTEND HARVARD COLLEGE IN THE FALL OF 1968, YOU MAJOR IN AMERICAN HISTORY, GRADUATE MAGNA CUM LAUDE, AND ARE GRATEFUL TO THE PREP FOR ENABLING YOU TO CONFRONT WITH QUIET CONFIDENCE THE SWIRLING BATTLES OVER THE WAR IN VIET NAM, THE RESISTANCE TO ESTABLISHMENT OF AN AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES DEPARTMENT, AND THE BATTLES OF RADCLIFFE WOMEN TO BE TREATED AS EQUALS TO HARVARD MEN IN THE MERGER WITH HARVARD.

              UPON YOUR GRADUATION IN 1972 YOU BEGIN YOUR JOINT J.D. -PH.D. PROGRAM AT HARVARD, FOCUSING ON AMERICAN LEGAL HISTORY AND WRITING A BOOK ENTITLED CRIMINAL SENTENCING IN THREE NINETEENTH CENTURY CITIES: NEW YORK, BOSTON AND PHILADELPHIA FROM 1830 TO 1880. YOU WILL LEARN IN 1976, AS A SUMMER ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, ABOUT THE DESTRUCTIVE IMPORTATION OF HEROIN AND COCAINE, ABOUT MONEY LAUNDERING, ABOUT THE CARTELS OF COLOMBIA. YOU WILL BE TUTORED FOR TWO SUMMERS – 1974 AND 1975 -- BY THE BRILLIANT MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN AT THE CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND, TRAVELING TO MISSISSIPPI, NORTH CAROLINA AND SOUTH CAROLINA TO LITIGATE CASES AGAINST SOUTHERN SHERIFFS WHO ARE SEGREGATING INMATES BY RACE RATHER THAN AGE, RESULTING IN THE HORROFIC SEXUAL ASSAULTS OF YOUNGSTERS BY ADULTS. OF CHILDREN WHO ARE SIMPLY YOUNG PERSONS IN NEED OF SUPERVISION AND MERE TRUANTS BEING BRUTALIZED AT THE HANDS OF ADULT MALE INMATES. ONE OF THOSE SHERIFFS WILL DRAW HIS GUN, POINT IT AT YOU AND SAY: “BOY, NOBODY SEES MY RECORDS WITHOUT MY SAY SO.”

              YOU WILL COMPLETE THE FINAL DAY OF YOUR BAR EXAM, AND EXHAUSTED, WALK ACROSS THE STREET TO A MOVIE THEATRE IN JULY OF 1977 FOR A VIEW OF SPACE NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN A MOVIE CALLED STAR WARS. YOU WILL THEN SPEND THE NEXT YEAR COMPLETING YOUR DOCTORAL THESIS, SENDING IN THE FINAL, APPROVED DRAFT FIVE DAYS BEFORE BEGINNING YOUR LAW PRACTICE AT THE LAW FIRM OF SHEARMAN AND STERLING. YOU WILL BE SENT TO FEDERAL COURT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE FALL OF 1978 REPRESENTING CITIBANK AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE, TOGETHER WITH A COLLEAGUE REPRESENTING THE BANK AS LENDER, BUT YOU WILL BE DEEPLY ANGERED WHEN OGDEN LEWIS THE THIRD, HAMILTON POTTER THE FOURTH, JONATHAN JEROME AND BARRY OSTRAGER OF MILBANK TWEED, SIMPSON THATCHER, DAVIS POLK AND SULLIVAN AND CROMWELL LOOK AT YOU, SHAKE THEIR HEADS DISMISSIVELY AND SAY: “YOU ARE WILLIAM KUNTZ? YOU COULD NOT POSSIBLY REPRESENT CITIBANK IN THIS CASE.”

              YOU ARE READY TO SAY SOMETHING QUITE RUDE, BUT SUDDENLY ARE GRATEFUL YOU HELD YOUR TONGUE AS A YOUNG, CAUCASIAN LAWYER ABOUT YOUR AGE WALKS IN AND STATES THAT HIS NAME IS WILLIAM KUNTZ THE THIRD, AND HE IS HERE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE W.T. GRANT BANKRUPTCY CONFERENCE. IT TURNS OUT, HE WAS AN ATTONEY AND A PURCHASER OF DISTRESSED DEBT WHO HAD SUED ALL THE MONEY CENTER BANKS, INCLUDING CITIBANK, WHO WERE LENDERS TO THE DEBTOR. NATURALLY HE WAS WELL KNOWN BY NAME TO THE COLLECTIVE BANK COUNSEL WHO CORRECTLY CONCLUDED THAT WILLIAM KUNTZ LITERALLY COULD NOT POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN RETAINED TO SERVE AS COUNSEL TO CITIBANK IN THAT CASE.

              YOU WILL SLOWLY, BUT STEADILY RISE THROUGH THE RANKS AS AN ASSOCIATE AND PARTNER AT LEADING WALL STREET LAW FIRMS AND IN BAR ASSOCIATIONS: THE NEW YORK COUNTY LAWYERS; THE ASSOCIATION OF THE BAR OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK; THE FEDERAL BAR COUNCIL, THE PRACTISING LAW INSTITUTE. AT THE TIME OF YOUR APPOINTMENT TO THE FEDERAL BENCH YOU WILL HAVE BEEN A LITIGATION PARTNER AT BAKER AND HOSTETLER AND CHAIR OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE PRACTISING LAW INSTITUTE. HAVING SERVED AS COMMISSIONER OF THE CIVILIAN COMPLAINT REVIEW BOARD FROM 1987 UNTIL OCTOBER OF 2010, WHEN YOU WILL RESIGN FROM THE CCRB WHEN SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER TELLS YOU HE WILL PUBLICLY ANNOUNCE HIS DECISION TO RECOMMEND YOU TO PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR APPOINTMENT TO THE DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK. WHEN ALL ONE HUNDRED UNITED STATES SENATORS VOTE TO CONFIRM YOUR APPOINTMENT, YOU BECOME ONLY THE FOURTH AFRICAN AMERICAN APPOINTED TO THAT BENCH SINCE PRESIDENT LINCOLN CREATED IT IN 1865.

              YOU WILL LEARN WHEN YOU ATTEND BABY JUDGE SCHOOL THAT YOU MUST MASTER A BRAVE NEW WORLD OF CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE – BOTH STATUTORY AND JUDGE MADE – IF YOU ARE TO SUCCEED AS A UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE APPOINTED FOR LIFE. YOU WILL LEARN THAT THE APPROACH OF PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONE’S ACTIONS – A FOUNDATION OF CRIMINAL LAW ONE MIGHT THINK – IS UNDER SYSTEMATIC ATTACK FROM EXPERIENCED DEFENSE COUNSEL ARGUING: “THIS IS NOT AN EXCUSE, BUT AN EXPLANATION FOR THE CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR OF MY CLIENT,” WHETHER THAT CLIENT IS A MEMBER OF A RACIAL MINORITY WITH FEW ASSETS AND POOR PARENTAGE, A FOREIGN OR DOMESTIC DEFENDANT ACCUSED OF TERRORIST ACTIVITY OR A WEALTHY MEMBER OF A RACIAL MAJORITY WITH AN UPPER CLASS UPBRINGING FROM THE FINEST ZIP CODES IN AMERICA AND A VAST ARRAY OF PERSONAL AND FAMILY ASSETS AT HIS OR HER DISPOSAL, SUPPORTED BY A LOVING AND ENGAGED FAMILY. THE DEPRIVED DEFENSE; THE AFFLUENZA DEFENSE; THE ABUSED AS A CHILD DEFENSE; THE MISLED BY HIS OR HER PEER GROUP DEFENSE. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE FANS OF WEST SIDE STORY, I OFTEN REFER TO THIS IN MY CHAMBERS AS THE OFFICER KRUPKE DEFENSE.

              ABOVE ALL, YOU WILL COME AWAY WITH A SENSE OF HAVING BEEN TRULY BLESSED: OF HAVING WONDERFUL, HARDWORKING PARENTS WHO VALUED EDUCATION AND PERSONAL MORAL RESPONSIBILITY; OF A FIRST RATE EDUCATION AT THE PREP AND AT HARVARD COLLEGE; OF GOUNDED LEGAL TRAINING AT THE HARVARD LAW SCHOOL, IN SUMMER JOBS, IN THE ACADEMY, IN WALL STREET LAW FIRMS, THROUGH BAR ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES AND SERVICE AS A COMMISSIONER ON THE CIVILIAN COMPLAINT REVIEW BOARD SERVING WITH THE GREATEST POLICE OFFICIALS AND CIVIL LIBERTERIANS IN AMERICA; AND THROUGH THE LOVE AND SUPPORT OF YOUR WONDERFUL WIFE, DOCTOR ALICE BEAL, WITH WHOM YOU WILL CELEBRATE FORTY YEARS OF MARRIAGE ; YOU WILL BE AMAZED BY THE GROWTH AND LOVE OF YOUR THREE CHILDREN; AND YOU WILL BE GRATEFUL FOR THE SUPPORT OF FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES IN THE CHURCH.

              MEMBERS OF THE CLASS OF 2019, IF ONE STORY FROM MY LIFE PROVIDES YOU A BIT OF CANDID ADVICE, I NOW TELL IT TO YOU: WHEN I WAS GOING THROUGH THE JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION PROCESS, AN ATTORNEY NAMED JEREMY BARBER WAS MY ASSIGNED GUIDE. A DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL, THE DAY SENATOR SCHUMER PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED HIS RECOMMENDATION OF MY APPOINTMENT TO THE BENCH, MR. BARBER CALLED ME TO ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTION: “DOCTOR KUNTZ, DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?” WHEN I SAID SOMETHING ABOUT IT BEING A GREAT HONOR, HE LAUGHED AND SNORTED: “IT MEANS NOTHING. THE WHITE HOUSE OFTEN REJECTS SUCH RECOMMENDATIONS.” WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED MY NOMINATION, MR. BARBER AGAIN CALLED AND ASKED ME,

“DO YOU KNOW THIS MEANS?”  I SAID WELL IT IS TRULY A WONDERFUL HONOR, HE AGAIN LAUGHED AND SAID: “IT MEANS NOTHING. DO YOU KNOW HOW OFTEN THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE REJECTS THESE NOMINATIONS? DO NOT EVEN THINK OF SETTING FOOT IN THE EASTERN DISTRICT COURTHOUSE. IF YOU DO AND ONE OF YOUR MANY FRIENDS ON THE BENCH INVITES YOU TO COME FORWARD CHARACTERIZING YOU AS SOME ONE ABOUT TO BECOME HIS OR HER COLLEAGUE, YOU ARE FINISHED.” AS I SAT IN HARVARD YARD AT THE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY FOR MY YOUNGEST DAUGHTER SEVERAL MONTHS LATER, I RECEIVED AN E-MAIL FROM JUDICIARY COMMITTEE COUNSEL INFORMING ME THAT I HAD BEEN UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED. I WAS ECSTATIC. WHAT A DAY. THAT EVENING AS I WAS ABOUT TO TAKE MY FAMILY OUT TO DINNER IN CAMBRIDGE TO CELEBRATE, MY CELL PHONE RANG. IT WAS MR. BARBER. “SO, I SEE JUDICIARY APPROVED YOU TODAY. DO YOU WHAT THIS MEANS?” I SAID I WAS SO GRATEFUL AND.   HE CUT ME SHORT: “LOOK, IT MEANS NOTHING! DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY JUDICIARY COMMITTEE APPROVED NOMINEES NEVER EVEN GET A FULL SENATE VOTE? STAY AWAY FROM THE COURTHOUSE.”

              SEVERAL MONTHS LATER, ON OCTOBER 3, 2011, I STAYED HOME, NEVEROUSLY WATCHING C-SPAN WITH MY WIFE, AND AWAITING THE SCHEDULED FULL SENATE VOTE ON MY NOMINATION. THE FULL SENATE FINALLY VOTED: UNANIMOUSLY APPROVING OF MY NOMINATION. I WAS THRILLED. JUST THEN THE PHONE RANG. IT WAS MR. BARBER: HE SAID, “I SEE THE FULL SENATE JUST VOTED ITS UNANIMOUS APPROVAL OF YOUR NOMINATION. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?”  

              I BEGAN BY SAYING, “WELL SURELY . . . “ HE CUT ME OFF AND SAID:

“IT MEANS NOTHING, DOCTOR KUNTZ. YOU HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED YOUR SIGNED COMMISSION FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA AND ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER. THE CHIEF JUDGE OF THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK HAS NOT YET SWORN YOU IN.  YOU ARE NOT A JUDGE.”

              THE NEXT DAY, OCTOBER 4, 2011, I RECEIVED THE SIGNED CERTIFICATE OF APPOINTMENT SIGNED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER.   THE FOLLOWING DAY, OCTOBER 5, 2011, CHIEF JUDGE CAROL BAGLEY AMON ADMINISTERED THE OATH OF OFFICE TO ME IN FRONT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

              LATER THAT AFTERNOON, AS I SAT IN MY EMPTY NEW CHAMBERS, I GOT MY FIRST LANDLINE CALL. IT WAS MR. BARBER. HE SAID: “I UNDERSAND YOU HAVE RECEIVED YOUR SIGNED COMMISSION AND WERE JUST SWORN IN BY CHIEF JUDGE AMON. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?”

              I SIGHED AND SAID, “NO, SIR. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?” HE LAUGHED AND SAID:“IT MEANS CONGRATULATIONS, YOUR HONOR. YOU ARE NOW AN ARTICLE III FEDERAL JUDGE.”

              I PAUSED AND SAID, “THANK YOU, SIR. BUT MAY I NOW ASK YOU A QUESTION?”

              HE SAID, “SURE. WHAT IS YOUR QUESTION?”

              I SAID: “YOU REALLY LOVE YOUR JOB, DON’T YOU?”

              HE PAUSED, AND SAID: “YES, YES I DO. AND REMEMBER, JUDGE KUNTZ, THE TERM IS NEVER, “MY HONOR” THE TERM IS ALWAYS “YOUR HONOR.” IF I HAVE HELPED YOU UNDERSTAND HOW YOU GOT THAT TITLE, HOW PRECARIOUS YOUR JOURNEY, AND HOW IMPORTANT THE PRESIDENT, THE SENATE, THE BAR AND THE NATION TREAT YOUR APPOINTMENT, THEN I AM PLEASED.”

              AND IF I HAVE GIVEN YOU, MY VERY PATIENT AND ATTENTIVE AUDIENCE, A VIEW OF MY JOURNEY FROM DEAN STREET IN BED-STY TO THE FEDERAL BENCH, THEN I, TOO, AM PLEASED. AND I TRULY AND HUMBLY THANK YOU.

FOR THE HONOR OF LETTING ME ARM YOU FOR THE STORIES YOU WILL TELL UPON YOUR RETURN TO THE PREP FOR YOUR FIFTIETH REUNION IN THE YEAR 2069 – STORIES AND TALES THAT WILL PROVE THE WISDOM OF THE ADDAGE: YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS WILL PROPHESY, YOUR YOUNG MEN WILL SEE VISIONS, YOUR OLD MEN WILL DREAM DREAMS. AND FOR LETTING ME BE A PART OF THAT VISION, I THANK YOU SO VERY, VERY MUCH. THE LIFE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, THE ONE WHO GAVE HIS NAME TO THE JESUITS WHO EDUCATED EACH OF US, EXEMPLIFIED WHAT WE ALL KNOW: WE COME THROUGH THE CROSS OF OUR STRUGGLES, OUR FAILURES AND OUR SUCCESSES, TO REACH OUR ETERNAL GOAL: PER CRUCEM AD LUCEM. THROUGH THE CROSS-TO THE LIGHT. THANK YOU, AND GOD BLESS YOU.

                                                                                                     HON. WILLIAM F. KUNTZ, II
                                                                                                     UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
                                                                                                     EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
                                                                                                     BRONX, NEW YORK MAY 29, 2019

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