Juan R. Torruella
|Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit|
August 3, 1994 - June 15, 2001
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit|
October 4, 1984
|Seat established by 98 Stat. 333|
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico|
September 8, 1982 - October 30, 1984
|Hernan Gregorio Pesquera|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico|
December 20, 1974 - October 30, 1984
|Hiram Rafael Cancio|
|José A. Fusté|
June 7, 1933
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Boston University School of Law (J.D.)
University of Virginia School of Law (LL.M.)
Magdalen College, Oxford University (M.St.)
Juan Rafael Torruella del Valle Sr. [Spanish: xwan rafa'el t?orue?a d?el ?a?e] (born June 7, 1933) is a Puerto Rican jurist, who currently serves as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He is the first and to date only Hispanic to serve in that court. He was also a competitive sailor participating in four Olympics.
Torruella was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1954. He received a Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law in 1957. He received a Master of Laws from University of Virginia School of Law in 1984. He received a Master of Public Administration from University of Puerto Rico School of Public Administration in 1984. He received a Master of Studies from Oxford University. He was in private practice of law in San Juan from 1959 to 1974.
Torruella was nominated by President Gerald Ford on November 18, 1974, to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico vacated by Judge Hiram Rafael Cancio. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 18, 1974, and received commission on December 20, 1974. He served as Chief Judge from 1982 to 1984. His service was terminated on October 30, 1984, due to elevation to the First Circuit.
Torruella was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on August 1, 1984, to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, to a new seat created by 98 Stat. 333. He was confirmed by the Senate on October 3, 1984, and received his commission on October 4, 1984. He served as Chief Judge from 1994 to 2001.
Torruella has been the oldest judge on the 1st circuit in active service (meaning not in senior status) since 2001, when Norman H. Stahl took senior status.
Torruella has consistently been an advocate of Puerto Rican rights and dissented from a 2005 ruling that Puerto Ricans are properly denied a voice in the election of the president of the United States because Puerto Rico is not a state. On the bench, Torruella is considered to be a moderate. He has ruled in favor of abortion rights, including the First Circuit court's opinion in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood.
Torruella is the author of the book The Supreme Court and Puerto Rico: The Doctrine of Separate and Unequal (University of Puerto Rico: 1988), a study of the Supreme Court's decisions in the Insular Cases.
On February 13, 2009, Torruella wrote the opinion in Noonan v. Staples, allowing a suit for libel to proceed because even though the statements at issue were true they reflected "actual malice".
Hiram Rafael Cancio
| Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico
José A. Fusté
Hernan Gregorio Pesquera
Seat established by 98 Stat. 333