Born:  September 30, 1926
New York City, New York

Summary by
Judith S. Feigin, Esq.

Interviews Conducted by
Judith S. Feigin, Esq.

Alan S. Rosenthal, Esq.

Oral History Text & Documentation

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Oral History Summary


Alan S. Rosenthal was born in New York City on September 30, 1926. After service in the United States Army Air Forces during the latter stages of World War II, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (1948) and then the Yale Law School (1951).

Following service as a law clerk to Judge Henry W. Edgerton of the united States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Mr Rosenthal joined the Appellate Section of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice in October 1952, becoming an Assistant Chief of that section in February 1958.

During his 20 years in the section, he argued approximately 225 cases in federal and state appellate courts, including nine in the United States Supreme Court and at least 20 in the District of Columbia Circuit.

In addition, following the Supreme Court’s May 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education holding racial segregation in public education to be unconstitutional, he was detailed to the Office of the Solicitor General for the purpose of preparing a draft of the brief for the United States on the question of appropriate relief, which the Court had set down for the further briefing and argument.

In 1972, Mr. Rosenthal assumed the position of Chairman and Chief Administrative Judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Appeal Panel of the Atomic Energy Commission, later Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).  He held that position until his 1988 retirement  form full-time government service.

Since 1988, Mr. Rosenthal has continued to work for the federal government in a number of part-time positions. After remaining a member of the NRC’s Appeal Panel for almost three years, in 1991 he accepted a five year, non-renewable appointment to the then General Accounting Office’s Personal Appeals Board.  After the expiration of his term, he returned to the NRC as an Administrative Judge on its Trial-level tribunal, a position he still holds in June 2012.

Mr. Rosenthal was married for over 60 years to the late Helen Miller Rosenthal. They had four children and five grandchildren.

Courtesy of the Rosenthal Family