Then Chief Judge Patricia Wald of the District of Columbia Circuit delivered the following remarks November 20, 1991 in the D.C. Circuit Ceremonial on the ocasion of the presentation of the portrait of Judge Leventhal. Chief Judge Wald is an Honorary Member of our Inn and attended every meeting for our first five years. The full text of her remarks and those of the Chief Justice and others can be found at 958 F.2d LXXXV (1992).

"When I came to the D.C. Circuit in 1979, Harold Leventhal was already a legend. He had been appointed to the court by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, after an illustrious career beginning in Columbia Law School, where he ranked first in his class and was editor­in­chief of the Law Review, proceeding apace through successive Supreme Court clerkships to Justices Harlan Fiske Stone and Stanley Reed, moving into path­breaking positions before and during World War II at the Department of the Interior, the Office of Price Administration, Office of Price Stabilization, spanning extremes of the legal experience as aide to Justice Jackson at the Nuremberg trials, and Executive Officer of the Hoover Commission Task Force on Independent Regulatory Commissions, logging thereafter two decades of service as the quintessential Washington lawyer, with an interim front­page stint as Counsel to the Democratic National Committee and architect of the compromise that seated the Mississippi Freedom Party at the volcanic 1964 Democratic Convention.

"Anyone faced with an argument before Judge Leventhal ­ I say this from personal experience ­ prepared with alternating pleasure and despair... it would be the beginning of a half­hour sojourn into the intersection of law and reality, calculated to delight the frustrated academician in all of us, and to terrify the bureaucrat or hired gun who came to court with rigid client instructions on what to say and what not to say.

"Harold Leventhal defied ideological labels. The liberals were never sure he was one of them; the conservatives were just as wary. He led, rather than followed. He was ever, as his former law clerk Sam Estreicher wrote, a "pragmatic Justice." He sought and, in an unlikely number of cases, found ways to accommodate the competing needs of White House demonstrators and national security, the tensions between the free exercise and establishment clauses of the First Amendment, the frustration of generalist judges attempting to arbitrate the disputes of specialized agencies.

"He was also a Renaissance man, with a hunger for knowledge and beauty, exercised with discipline and within sure limits. He recognized both the perimeters and the parameters of a judge's role.

"During the time I served on the D.C. Crime Commission in the mid­sixties, he was intensely interested in the roots, the proposed reforms, the background of the crime wave and of the heroin epidemic then infesting the city. He participated in American Law Institute and Administrative Conference proceedings, always looking for the new idea, the better solution to a longstanding dilemma.

"His opinion in United States v. Browner signaled the end of a decade and a half of turbulent intra­circuit debate over the insanity defense. His dissent in United States v. Barker, pointing to the disastrous implications of a Nuremberg defense for Watergate defendants, is compulsory reading for judges embroiled in analogous cases today.

"Our relationship as fellow judges lasted only three months, but somehow encompassed three sittings, and was the best on­the­job training a "baby judge" could ask for. He was friendly, helpful, shyly indulgent, never condescending, eager to welcome the first woman on the court, generous in sharing experience, and lavish with advice.

"His forte was administrative law, and he was a mighty contributor to the emergence of the D.C. Circuit as the premier Administrative Law circuit. After the Court Reorganization Act of 1970 transferred local criminal and civil jurisdiction to the D.C. Courts, Congress provided this Circuit with the unique opportunity for a mid­life transition to a national regulatory court through a series of exclusive jurisdiction grants in the burgeoning consumer and environmental law fields. Nature and Harold Leventhal abhorred a vacuum and with relish and rigor, he rushed to fill the void with a series of decisions that set the ground rules for judicial review of administrative actions for years to come.

"In Chief Justice Warren Burger's words, 'He was singularly well­equipped for those large, complex administrative law cases which now characterize the docket in this Circuit, cases which pose novel questions of government regulation in the context of advancing frontiers of science and technologies.' Portland Cement, Ethyl, Kennecott Copper, International Harvester, Alabama Power Company ­ they gave us the passwords for three decades of administrative law to come, the collaborative partnership between courts and agencies, the hard­look doctrine, the imperative for judges to wade in and master the substantive law they were enforcing.

"He wrote pioneering opinions on hybrid rulemaking, remands for a more adequate rationale, the ingredients of an adequate record on review, the essentials of a statement of basis and purpose, the bar against post­hoc rationalization, the warning to agencies changing course without a reasoned explanation, and more.

"He had worked as counsellor and policymaker to government; he knew intimately its strengths and weaknesses, its strategies to survive and its proclivities on occasion to mislead. He was ever vigilant for government abuse, yet ever optimistic that government could be a power for good and a force to bring balance to the community ­ exquisitely attuned to what his friend Carl McGowan called "the realities of large­scale government in a democratic society." He was the friendly skeptic, whose favorite quote, drawn from some British Empire crisis, was "Meanwhile, the colonial office had not been idle, it had lost the file."

"Within the realm of administrative law, he seemed to care especially for the then­tender shoots of environmental law. He sensed that here was the legacy his generation would leave to the future. He wrote separately on the subject of Environmental Decisionmaking and the Role of the Courts, and he ruled that environmental values held a special place in the hierarchy of concerns for which a reviewing court must insure adequate agency consideration. His major law opinions were in this area, opinions quoted at length and a large part legislated into the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977.

"Harold Leventhal was, finally, a prescient, activist judge, yet cognizant of the limits of his role. He left to the agencies the choice of policies, but he insisted they choose with care, deliberation and fairness, and leave a proper paper trail behind. He thought, in pre­Chevron days, that judges could read statutes, find legislative intent or even "mood", and hold agencies accountable. His vision of a collaborative partnership between agencies and courts may have proved a trifle optimistic, but it served well as a launch vehicle for his hard look and reasoned decisionmaking doctrines; perhaps there may yet come a time when it will have renewed vitality.

"[Judge] Carl McGowan, as usual, said it best at Judge Leventhal's memorial service 12 years ago: 'What mercifully endures,' he said, 'is the reassurance Judge Leventhal's life has provided of the primacy of the individual intelligence and the wonders it can work in mitigating the conditions of humankind.'"