U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and sits in the federal court in Springfield, Massachusetts. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1969, spent two years reading English Language and Literature at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar from 1969 to 1971, and received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1975. Prior to his current appointment he clerked for U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro (1975-76), was in private practice in Boston (1976-78) and Amherst, Massachusetts (1978-84), and served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge (1984-94).
Beginning in 1999 Judge Ponsor played a central role in the architect selection, design, and construction of the federal courthouse in Springfield. The 162,000 square foot facility, which opened in the summer of 2008, occupies a 3.1 acre site in downtown Springfield and cost $60 million. In 2009, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed Judge Ponsor Chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Space and Facilities. This committee sets design standards, reviews budgets, and oversees the construction of new federal courthouses and renovations in existing courthouses nationally.
Judge Ponsor has taught as an adjunct professor at Yale Law School, Western New England College School of Law, and the University of Massachusetts. In addition to his work on the Space and Facilities Committee, Judge Ponsor has been a member of the Judicial Conference Committees on the Magistrate Judge System (1998-2004) and the Budget (2005-2007), as well as the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Judicial Planning (2008-2010). He co-edited and wrote two chapters in the handbook, Civil Litigation in the First Circuit(Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Boston, 1994) and authored articles in The Boston Globe, theFederal Sentencing Reporter, the American Bar Association Journal, and the Western New England College Law Review.