José A. Cabranes


José A. Cabranes : biography

December 22, 1940 –

The government of Puerto Rico office headed by Manuel Cabranes in New York was attacked in November 1950 by Puerto Rican Nationalists who simultaneously attempted to assassinate President Harry Truman at Blair House in Washington and Governor Muñoz Marín in San Juan. The two home-made bombs hurled at the New York office failed to explode.Richard H. Parke, “Grand Jurors Here Study Death Plot,” N.Y. Times, Nov. 3, 1950.

In 1951, Manuel Cabranes began to serve in New York City Government,“Foster Care Aide Sworn,” N.Y. Times, Aug. 25, 1951. where he served as Consultant to the Commissioner of Welfare and was active in the civic life of New York’s Puerto Rican community and a regular contributor on cultural affairs in the city’s Spanish-language newspapers, El Diario de Nueva York and La Prensa.“2 Named Consultants to the City Welfare Chief,” N.Y. Times, March 3, 1954. He was a leading Roman Catholic layman, serving the Archdiocese of New York for many years as Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Feast of St. John the Baptist, the annual religious celebration of the feast day of the patron saint of Puerto Rico.“Feast of St. John to Brighten City,” N.Y. Times, June 23, 1956. In a time before the ready availability of public scholarships for college study, he joined in organizing the New York Puerto Rican Scholarship Fund in 1952, which awarded cash scholarships to support undergraduate and graduate education of New York Puerto Rican youth, and he led the organization for more than a decade.“To Aid Puerto Ricans,” N.Y. Times, Jan. 16, 1952; Mac Lopez, “De Maestro en Puerto Rico a Consultor de Bienestar Publico en Nueva York,” El Diario de Nueva York, Jan. 27, 1963.

Manuel Cabranes retired from the New York City government in 1965 and returned with his wife to Puerto Rico, where he taught sociology at the College of the Sacred Heart, in Santurce, and was a regular contributor of articles on various subjects to Spanish-language newspapers and journals. He died in San Juan in 1984 at the age of 79.

Cabranes is married to Kate Stith-Cabranes, the Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law and former Acting Dean (2009) at Yale Law School and Cabranes’s co-author of Fear of Judging: Sentencing Guidelines in the Federal Courts (University of Chicago, 1998). They are the parents of four children: Jennifer Cabranes Braceras, a lawyer in Massachusetts, and Amy Cabranes, Director of Development of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, both born to Jose Cabranes’s first marriage, to Susan Feibush; Alejo Cabranes, a graduate of Dartmouth College and recently enrolled at Columbia Law School; and Benjamin Jose Cabranes, an undergraduate at Dartmouth.

Kate Stith-Cabranes is a native of St. Louis, Missouri, and a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. She clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Byron R. White. She is a former Assistant United States Attorney of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Kate Stith-Cabranes served for eleven years as a trustee of Dartmouth College.

Recent publications & lectures

International Law by Consent of the Governed, 42 Valparaiso Law Review 119 (2007) (Indiana Supreme Court Lecture of 2006)

Myth and Reality of University Trusteeship in the Post-Enron Era, 76 Fordham Law Review 955 (2007) (The Robert L. Levine Distinguished Lecture of 2007)

Our Imperial Criminal Procedure: Problems in the Extraterritorial Application of U.S. Constitutional Law, 118 Yale Law Journal 1660 (2009) (The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture, New York County Lawyers’ Association, 2008)

The Costs of Judging Judges by the Numbers, 28 Yale Law and Policy Review 313 (2010) (with Marin K. Levy and Kate Stith)

Positions held

Cabranes was an associate in the New York City law firm of Casey, Lane & Mittendorf (now dissolved) from 1967 to 1971, and became avocationally active in public affairs and the civic life of the Puerto Rican community of New York. In the early 1970s he served as a trustee of the Hudson Guild settlement house, in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, and as a director of Citizens Union, a “good government” civic group first organized in the early 20th century. In 1971 he became Chairman of the Board of Directors of ASPIRA of New York, an organization that helps inner-city Hispanic youth prepare for higher education,“Law Professor Is Named Board Chairman of Aspira,” N.Y. Times, Sept. 13, 1971; Jerry Tallmer, “Daily Closeup: He Speaks the Language,” N.Y. Post, Sept. 27, 1971 and he was a founding member of the board of directors of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, of which he was later (1975–1980) Chairman.“Yale Counsel in Right Place at Right Time: Cabranes a Contender in 2 U.S. Districts,” N.Y. Law Journal, July 25, 1979; Court biography; Yale Weekly Bulletin and Calendar, Oct. 3-10, 1977.