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News Now

CU System
Judge Whose FOM Ruling Was Upheld By Supreme Court Dies
WASHINGTON (6/18/13)--A U.S. District Court judge--whose ruling that federal credit unions may not take on new members who don't share a common bond was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1996--has died. The ruling led to the passage of the National Credit Union Membership Access Act.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson died from complications of cancer at the age of 76, according to The New York Times (June 15).

In 1996, Jackson ordered the National Credit Union Administration to rescind 31 credit union expansions based on multiple groups. At issue was the Federal Credit Union Act's limitation of membership to "groups having common bonds of occupation or association or to groups within a well-defined neighborhood, community or rural district."

NCUA had expanded that definition in 1982 to allow small businesses, which were too small to form their own credit unions, to join existing ones.

The outspoken Jackson ordered that credit unions could not expand beyond their core membership, and said NCUA had loosened its rules to expand the charters to circumvent his injunction. He called NCUA a "rogue" agency (L.A. Times Dec. 5, 1996, and Christian Science Monitor Oct. 31, 1996).

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld his ruling, but Congress overturned the Supreme Court decision by enacting HR 1151, the National Credit Union Membership Access Act in 1998.

Jackson was most noted for presiding over high-profile cases including the Microsoft antitrust case, in which he ruled in 1999 that Microsoft should be split in half because it was a monopoly and had coerced the computer market into endorsing its Internet Explorer browser (News Now July 5, 2005). He also presided over the drug possession trial of former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr. in 1990.


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