About Judge Blatt
The late U.S. District Judge Solomon Blatt Jr. (1921-2016) received an honorary degree from the Charleston School of Law in May 2009 “for exemplifying the highest ideals of human endeavor through his lifelong devotion to public service and the law; for setting an example of respect and dignity in the courtroom; for his willingness continually to go above and beyond the call of duty.”
The following biography of Judge Blatt was printed in the school’s 2009 commencement program:
With the toughness of the boxer he was and the dedication to fairness he has, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Sol Blatt Jr. continues to serve as an example to scores of lawyers across South Carolina. Respected for taking on tough cases, Judge Blatt’s 38 years on the federal bench are remarkable for their commitment to justice, leadership and respect for the law.
Born in 1921 in Barnwell, S.C., to a family devoted to public service, Judge Blatt was an only child who wanted to be a lawyer like his father, legendary South Carolina House Speaker Solomon Blatt. As a boy in 1928, young Sol Blatt attended his very first college football game at the University of South Carolina. In the years since, he has attended 77 Carolina-Clemson football games, missing only those while in the military during World War II.
When Sol Blatt went off to college in the late 1930s, he went to the only place that mattered to him – the University of South Carolina. As a student athlete in 1940, he became the Southern Conference Lightweight Boxing champion. About the same time, he met his future wife, the former Carolyn Gayden, whom he married in 1942. Judge Blatt received his bachelor’s degree in 1941.
In 1943 after his second year at the University of South Carolina School of Law, Judge Blatt entered the U.S. Navy. During the war, he served as the anti-submarine officer on a destroyer escort. When he got out of the Navy in 1945, he completed law school in 1946 and joined his father’s law firm in Barnwell.
For the next 25 years, Sol Blatt practiced law as a “country lawyer” in the firm Blatt and Fales, defending those charged in criminal cases and representing plaintiffs in personal injury cases. In 1971, he was honored to become a federal trial judge when he was appointed to the U.S. District Court by President Richard M. Nixon.
In 1986, Sol Blatt became chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. Four years later, he took senior status. In December 2006, Judge Blatt became the longest-serving district judge in the 200-plus history of the District of South Carolina.
Highly respected by the bench and bar across the state and nation, Judge Blatt was honored in July 2004 by the Charleston School of Law when it named its law library for him because of how he inspired people “to achieve the highest standards of legal education and professionalism in the service to society.”
Sol Blatt Jr. is an avid golfer, fisherman and fan of the University of South Carolina. He and his wife, who passed away in 2004, have three children. He lives in Charleston and continues to hear cases.
Charleston School of Law Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity. All donations are tax exempt to the extent provided by federal law.