remarks by Chief Judge Edward Korman of the U.S. District Court, there was a reading of
the Presidential Commission by Robert C. Heinenmann, Clerk of the Court. Garaufis was
appointed by President Clinton last year and was approved by the Congress.
A family-like atmosphere prevailed
especially when the official robing of the judge was performed by his parents, George N.
Garaufis and Demetria G. Garaufis. When the Oath of Office was administered by U.S.
District Judge David Treager, Garaufis young sons, James and Matthew, held the
Garaufis thanked many of the people in the
chamber for their love and faith and help over the years as his career went from civic
leader to the federal bench. Borough President Claire Shulman recalled Garaufis
years of service when he was her counsel at Borough Hall. She told of his many
accomplishments, handling critical issues in the area of aviation in a borough in which
650 million people travel through Queens two airports every year.
That expertise led to his appointment by
President Clinton in 1995 to be the counsel to the Federal Aviation Administration
the highest Queens federal appointment in the current administration. Garaufis took note
of some of those who he has admired and worked with over the years such as former Board of
Education President Carol Gresser, former Congressman Tom Manton and former Senator Al
DAmato and Queens D.A. Richard Brown for inspiring and encouraging him to pursue a
judicial career. Garaufis particularly thanked DAmato who attended the
installation and Senator Charles Schumer for passing his appointment to the federal
branch promptly and without dissent.
Garaufis early career included serving
as an assistant to Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz, as an assistant to Congressman James
Scheuer and legal counsel to Congressman Gary Ackerman. But he became well known and
respected for his pro-bono legal services for local charities and community groups when he
had a small law office on Bell Blvd. In addition to serving many years on both Community
Board 11 and School Board 26, he formed a community organization to save the grounds of
historic Fort Totten and convert it to community use. This work in the late 1970s is
widely credited with the ultimate success of the preservation efforts at Fort Totten that
are coming to fruition today.