James Cardinal, a lawyer and chief administrative judge, died on Monday, June 11, 2012 in Danbury, Connecticut. He was 83.

Julia Sheila Cardinal, his wife, confirmed his death.

Mr. Cardinal was the Director of the New York Regional Office of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), an executive branch agency of the Federal government. He was responsible for the adjudication of appeals from over 230,000 Federal employees working in the states of New York and New Jersey, the U.S. Territory of the Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. He was appointed in April 1982 under President Ronald Reagan. A member of the State Bar of New York, Mr. Cardinal was admitted to practice in the State of New York, before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals.

Previously, Mr. Cardinal was a Supervisory Attorney-Examiner with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) New York District Office, where he established the New York Hearing Unit with responsibility for conducting hearings on EEO appeals by Federal employees.

From 1972 to 1979, Captain Cardinal was on active duty with the United States Navy, Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He served as District Judge Advocate and Director of the Law Center for the Third Naval District in New York until 1974. From 1974 to 1978, he headed the Navy Legal Office in London, England and he finished his tour of active service as a Defense counsel and Magistrate at the Navy Legal Office in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1972, he graduated from the Naval Justice School with distinction, attended the U.S. Army Military Judges Course at the University of Virginia, and was qualified as a Military Judge. He retired with the rank of Captain from the Judge Advocate General’s Corp, US Naval Reserve.

Prior to this, Mr. Cardinal was in private legal practice and served as Assistant District Attorney in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office under District Attorney Carl Vergari, White Plains, New York. He had previously been an Associate in the Trust and Estates Department at the law firm of Kelley Drye Newhall Maginnes & Warren of New York, New York.

Mr. Cardinal received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from the University of Miami, Miami, Florida in 1953, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Fordham Law School, New York in 1960. He was a Member of the Fordham Law Review and represented the Law School as a regular panel member of the Student Press Conference on WNYC Radio. He had been with Chase Bank in the Trust and Estates Department. He was Assistant Law Clerk for Judge Learned Hand, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, engaged in legal research and the preparation of memorabilia of law.

Mr. Cardinal volunteered with the U.S. Army in 1946 following World War II and served in Gorizia, Italy. He volunteered for a second tour with the U.S. Army at the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 and was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star for Valor while he served in I Company, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.

Mr. Cardinal was the Town Historian of Scarsdale, New York from 1970 to 1974.

He and his mother lived in Ridgefield for 14 years (since 1998).

James Cardinal was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 14, 1929, to Joseph Cardinale and the former Vivian Marvin. He was raised in New York City and Nanuet, New York. He resided in Scarsdale, New York from 1962 until 1985 and most recently in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Julia Sheila Hanley of Ridgefield, Connecticut; three children, Roger Cardinal of New York, New York, Kenneth W. Cardinal of Ridgefield, Connecticut and Valerie Cardinal Fry of Centerville, Massachusetts; and his sister, Joan Giacopino of Northport, New York.

James Cardinal will always be remembered for his love of books, learning and history.
—by the family