Howard F. Sachs
Senior United States District Judge
The Truman Foundation is proud to honor Senior United States District Judge Howard F. Sachs, a member of “The Greatest Generation” who served his country during World War II.
Judge Sachs was on active duty with the United States Navy from 1944 to 1946 as an electronic technician’s mate. He was assigned to the battleship USS South Dakota which prior to his arrival had seen extensive action in the South Pacific, notably the Second Battle of Guadalcanal. While he was aboard the South Dakota, it engaged in the first bombardments of the Japanese mainland by American capital ships.
When Japan agreed to surrender in August 1945, the South Dakota entered Tokyo Bay where it was anchored when the surrender ceremony took place on the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945. Judge Sachs remained aboard the South Dakota as it steamed across the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco and later through the Panama Canal to the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Returning to civilian life, he earned degrees from Williams College and Harvard Law School. He clerked for the Hon. Albert Ridge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. As Judge Ridge’s law clerk, he assisted in drafting the decision that ordered the integration of the Swope Park swimming pool in the early 1950s. He practiced trial and appellate litigation with law firms in Kansas City, while continuing to be active in the community where he worked to integrate the Kansas City Bar Association and was a member of the Kansas City Human Relations Commission.
After more than 25 years in private law practice, he was named by President Carter in 1979 to serve as a district judge in the Western District of Missouri. Judge Sachs quickly developed a reputation for handling complicated disputes with fairness and intelligence, taking steps to ensure all parties were afforded due process. His long judicial career has brought honor to the legal profession and to the courts. From his time as a young sailor to a respected jurist, Judge Sachs has demonstrated that carrying out one’s responsibilities with civility and kindness will earn the respect of all.