Sam Pointer, Jr

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Sam Clyde Pointer Jr. (born November 15, 1934; died March 15, 2008) was an attorney and a federal District Court judge from 1970 to 2000. He was a noted figure in complex national class-action litigation.

Pointer earned his Bachelor of Arts at Vanderbilt University in 1955 and went on to complete a Juris Doctorate at the University of Alabama School of Law in 1957 and a LL.M in tax law at New York University in 1958. He was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 1957.

He worked for his father, Sam C. Pointer, in private practice until he was appointed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama by President Nixon in 1970. He became the District's Chief Judge in 1982.

While on the bench, Pointer ruled that Jefferson County Schools should bus students to achieve racial integration in the 1970s, for which he received numerous death threats. He also issued orders regarding conditions and hiring policies at Birmingham's and Jefferson County's jails. He upheld the City of Birmingham's Affirmative Action hiring plan in 1981 and again in 1992. He also made significant rulings in litigation against the manufacturers of silicone breast implants, a national case assigned to him by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. He was also involved in antitrust litigation against cast iron pipe and plywood manufacturers.

In addition to his work on the bench, Pointer was principal author of the Manual for Complex Litigation, 2nd edition and served on the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. From 1980 to 1987 he served on the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals and from 1991 to 1993 was Chair of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules.

Pointer retired from the bench effective March 31, 2000, and was succeeded as chief judge by U. W. Clemon. After retiring he joined the firm of Lightfoot, Franklin & White as a partner. He led the investigation into alleged academic improprieties surrounding the Hoover High School football team, concluding that athletes were given special treatment.

Pointer died in March 2008. He was a long-time member of St Luke's Episcopal Church. He was survived by his wife, Paula, son Sam C. III, and daughter, Minge.

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