When Christopher Christie leaves office on December 1, he will become the fifth longest serving United States Attorney from New Jersey. Anthony Keasbey, who was appointed federal prosecutor by Abraham Lincoln in 1861, served for 25 years, winning reappointments from Andrew Johnson, Ulysses Grant, and Rutherford Hayes. Joseph McIlvaine, named U.S. Attorney by Thomas Jefferson in 1804, served for nearly twenty years before resigning to become a U.S. Senator.
John F. Kennedy’s U.S. Attorney, David Satz, Jr., was appointed in 1961 and left office six months into Richard Nixon’s presidency in 1969. (Satz is also New Jersey’s oldest living former U.S. Attorney; he practices law with Saiber LLC in Newark; his late law partner, Samuel Saiber, was a Republican Assemblyman from Essex County. Keasbey’s predecessor, Garret Cannon spent nearly eight years as U.S. Attorney; he was named as a recess appointment by Franklin Pierce and then appointed by James Buchanan.
Keasbey came from an old New Jersey political family: his great-grandfather represented Salem and Cumberland counties in the colonial General Assembly from 1763 to 1769, and his grandfather was an Assemblyamn from Salem County from 1798 to 1801. Lincoln reappointed Keasby to a second term as U.S. Attorney in 1865, but did not sign the necessary paperwork before his assasination. For a time, there was a question as to his status before Andrew Johnson agreed to reappoint him. In those days, U.S. Attorneys were part-time public officials, and Keasbey maintained a private law practice as well.