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Laredo federal courthouse to be renamed after retired Judge Kazen

July 29, 2018

Laredo’s federal courthouse will be renamed after retired U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen after President Donald Trump approved the name change Friday.

Trump signed a bill sponsored by U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar dubbing the building the George P. Kazen Federal Building and United States Courthouse, Cuellar spokeswoman Olya Voytovich said.

Kazen, the first permanent sitting federal judge in Laredo, retired in March after serving nearly 40 years on the bench. President Jimmy Carter nominated Kazen to the post and the U.S. Senate confirmed him in 1979.

“Judge Kazen made countless contributions to the community of Laredo and our nation’s judicial system,” Cornyn said in a statement. “I was glad to join efforts with Senator Cruz and Representative Cuellar to honor Judge Kazen’s dedicated public service and ensure future generations of Texans can reflect on his legacy.”

Kazen — a veteran who served in the Air Force’s legal JAG Corps from 1962 to 1965 — presided over criminal and civil cases for two decades as the sole federal judge in Laredo after his confirmation.

He served as chief justice of the Houston-based Southern District, which includes Laredo, from 1996 to 2003. He also served a seven-year term on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which hears government requests for warrants and wiretapping involving homeland security.

In a statement, Cruz said Kazen has “served Texas and the United States honorably.”

“Naming the Laredo courthouse after him will serve as a lasting testament to his legacy, and I am grateful the President has signed this bill into law,” Cruz said.

Cuellar lauded Kazen as an “honest, humble and dedicated man.”

“He was among the most respected judges in the state, and consistently ruled with class and fairness, all the while still making time to serve in numerous civic organizations throughout South Texas,” Cuellar said. “The dedicating of this federal building and U.S. Court House will serve as a reminder to us all of this great man of character who dutifully served his community.”

A formal naming ceremony for the courthouse is in the works, Voytovich said Saturday.

Staff Writers Carmina Danini and Joana Santillana contributed to this report.

Staff Writers Carmina Danini and Joana Santillana contributed to this report.

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