Prior to his distinguished career on the bench, Justice Ernst Rosenberger was active in the civil rights movement during the early 1960s. He volunteered his services (one of four out-of-state lawyers) in the defense of the “Freedom Riders” arrested in 1961 in Jackson, Mississippi. In addition, he appeared in civil rights cases in northern Florida and special election cases in Sunflower and Moorhead, Mississippi. He also consulted on civil rights cases in Georgia and Louisiana.
Ernst H. Rosenberger was born in 1931 in Hamburg, Germany. He and his family emigrated to the United States in 1935, settling in New York City. He attended public schools in Manhattan and graduated from Stuyvesant High School. After serving in the U.S. Army for two years, he attended City College of New York, graduating in 1955. He received his law degree in 1958 from New York Law School, where he was editor in chief of the Law Review. Later on, he received his LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He is admitted to practice in New York, U.S. District Courts, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Court of Appeals, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as Hamburg, Germany.
Justice Rosenberger was in private practice from 1958 to 1972 in New York City, where he tried civil and criminal cases in state and federal courts. He was a cooperating attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Legal Aid Society.
His judicial career began in 1972, when he was appointed to the Criminal Court of the City of New York by Mayor John V. Lindsay. One year later, he was designated Acting Justice of the Supreme Court. He remained in that position until November of 1976, when he was elected to the Supreme Court. In 1978, Governor Hugh Carey designated him Presiding Justice of the Supreme Court’s Extraordinary Special and Trial Term for investigation of corruption in the criminal justice system. Justice Rosenberger was appointed to the Appellate Division, First Department by Governor Mario Cuomo in 1985, and he remained on that bench until his retirement in 2003. In March 2004, he joined Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP as Of Counsel.
Among other activities, Justice Rosenberger has been an adjunct professor at New York Law School since 1976 (he received the President’s Medal in 2008); founding director, New York Offender Aid and Restoration; founding president, New York County Lawyers’ Association, American Inn of Court; and Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, New York Law School.
Justice Rosenberger married Dr. Judith Ann Brailey in 1978. They have two children.
Biography, Ernst H. Rosenberger, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, available at:
Justice Ernst H. Rosenberger Joins Stroock as Of Counsel, Business Wire, 2004, available at: