Kenneth Keating

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Kenneth Keating
Post card photo of Kenneth Keating
Keating in 1964
6th United States Ambassador to Israel
In office
August 28, 1973 – May 5, 1975
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded byWalworth Barbour
Succeeded byMalcolm Toon
8th United States Ambassador to India
In office
May 1, 1969 – July 26, 1972
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byChester Bowles
Succeeded byDaniel Patrick Moynihan
Associate Judge of the
New York Court of Appeals
In office
January 1, 1966 – May 20, 1969
Preceded byMarvin R. Dye
Succeeded byJames Gibson
United States Senator
from New York
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1965
Preceded byIrving Ives
Succeeded byRobert F. Kennedy
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1959
Preceded byGeorge F. Rogers
Succeeded byJessica M. Weis
Constituency40th district (1947–1953)
38th district (1953–1959)
Personal details
Born(1900-05-18)May 18, 1900
Lima, New York
DiedMay 5, 1975(1975-05-05) (aged 74)
New York City
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Political partyRepublican
Louise DePuy
(m. 1928; died 1968)
Mary Pitcairn Davis
(m. 1974)
  • Thomas Keating (father)
  • Louise Barnard (mother)
Alma materUniversity of Rochester (BA)
Harvard Law School (LLB)
Civilian awardsOrder of Merit of the Italian Republic (Officer)
Grand Cross of Merit of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
SignatureSignature of Kenneth Keating
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Reserve Corps
Years of service1918 (SATC)
1942–1946 (Army)
1946–1963 (Reserve)
RankBrigadier General
UnitSouth East Asia Command (Army)
Staff and Administrative Reserve Corps (Reserve)
Conflict(s)World War I
World War II
Military awardsLegion of Merit (2)
Order of the British Empire (Officer)

Kenneth Barnard Keating (May 18, 1900 – May 5, 1975) was an American politician, diplomat, and judge who served as a United States Senator representing New York from 1959 until 1965. A member of the Republican Party, he also served in the United States House of Representatives, representing New York's 40th and 38th congressional districts from 1947 until 1959. Additionally, he served as a judge of the New York State Court of Appeals from 1966 until 1969 and was U.S. ambassador to India from 1969 until 1972 and Israel from 1973 until 1975.

A native of Lima, New York, Keating graduated from Genesee Wesleyan Seminary in 1915, before continuing to the University of Rochester where he graduated in 1919. He briefly became a teacher at East High School, before beginning attendance at Harvard Law School. After graduating in 1923, Keating practiced law in Rochester and became active in Republican Party politics. During World War I, Keating served with the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) at the University of Rochester. He joined the United States Army for World War II, and was commissioned as a major. He served in India as head of the U.S. office that managed the Lend-Lease Program for the China Burma India Theater and was promoted to colonel before the end of the war. Following the end of his wartime service, he continued to serve in the Organized Reserve Corps. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1948, and continued to serve until he retired in 1963.

In 1946, Keating successfully ran for a seat in the U.S. House, representing the Rochester-based 40th district. In 1952, he was redistricted to the 38th district. During his time in the house, Keating was re-elected five times and developed a reputation as a moderate on many issues, though he adopted conservative positions on the Cold War and anti-communism, as well as the fight against organized crime. In 1958, he successfully ran for a U.S. Senate seat from New York, and he served from 1959 to 1965. In the senate, Keating was an advocate of desegregation, and played a key role in breaking the filibuster that enabled passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. During the 1964 United States presidential election, he refused to endorse the conservative Republican nominee Barry Goldwater. Keating ran for re-election later that year but was defeated by Democrat Robert F. Kennedy. After leaving the senate, Keating briefly practiced law before becoming a judge of the New York Court of Appeals. He served until 1969, when he resigned to become U.S. Ambassador to India. He served as ambassador until 1972, when he resigned to campaign for the re-election of President Richard Nixon. In 1973, Nixon appointed Keating U.S. Ambassador to Israel, and Keating remained in this position until his death in 1975.

Early life[edit]

Keating was born in Lima, New York on May 18, 1900, the son of Louise (Barnard) Keating, a schoolteacher, and Thomas Mosgrove Keating, a grocer.[1] He was tutored by his mother until age seven, when he began attending the Lima public schools as a sixth grader.[2] He graduated from high school at age 13[2] and attended Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, from which he graduated in 1915 as the class valedictorian.[3] He graduated from the University of Rochester in 1919,[4] and was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity[5] and Phi Beta Kappa.[6] He taught Latin and Greek for a year at Rochester's East High School, then began attendance at Harvard Law School.[4] He graduated in 1923, was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice in Rochester.[4] Keating's early forays into politics and government included service as town attorney for the town of Brighton, where he resided while practicing law in Rochester.[2]

Military service[edit]

During World War I, Keating served in the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) at the University of Rochester, where he attained the rank of sergeant.[7] In April, 1942 Keating joined the Army for World War II and was commissioned as a major.[8] He served initially as chief of the assignments branch in the international division of the Army Service Forces headquarters, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in October, 1942.[8][9]

In 1943, Keating was assigned to India as head of the Army Service Forces international office that administered the Lend-Lease Program for the China Burma India Theater, part of the South East Asia Command commanded by Lord Louis Mountbatten.[10] He was promoted to colonel in February 1944[9] and in July 1944 he made an assessment tour of the theater's front lines with General Albert Coady Wedemeyer, Mountbatten's chief of staff, which took him to sixteen countries, including Ceylon, Burma, Indochina, and Java.[11] Keating later served as executive assistant to Mountbatten's U.S. deputy, Lieutenant General Raymond Albert Wheeler, and was the senior American officer at the South East Asia Command's rear headquarters in India.[11] In November 1945, Mountbatten dispatched Keating to London to provide British Parliament information on the post-war rebuilding of India.[11] Keating closed out his wartime service as a liaison between the Army Services Forces and the British military office in Washington, D.C., and was awarded the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Order of the British Empire (Officer).[11][12][13]

Keating remained in the Organized Reserve Corps after the war, and was promoted to brigadier general in 1948.[14] He continued to serve until retiring from the military in 1963.[15][16]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

A Republican, Keating was a member of the New York delegation to every Republican National Convention from 1940 to 1964 with the exception of 1944, when he was overseas with the U.S. Army during World War II.[6] On returning to the United States after the war, Keating ran successfully for a Rochester-area seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1946 election.[6] He was reelected five times, and served in the 80th, 81st, 82nd, 83rd, 84th and 85th United States Congresses (January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1959).[6]

Keating was regarded as a liberal Republican on many issues, but adopted conservative positions on anticommunism during the Cold War and fighting organized crime.[4] He supported the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan and sponsored an early civil rights bill.[4] He opposed diplomatic recognition of "Red China" after the Chinese Civil War, and supported allowing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use tactics including wiretaps on organized crime figures and suspected Communist sympathizers.[4] As a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, Keating was active in shepherding the Civil Rights Act of 1957 to passage.[17] Keating also enhanced his public profile by creating a semi-monthly Rochester-area television show in which he discussed current events with government officials including fellow members of Congress, which increased his personal popularity among his House colleagues, who appreciated the opportunity to publicize their activities.[4]

U.S. Senate[edit]

In 1958, Keating was the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat of the retiring Irving Ives, and defeated Democrat Frank Hogan, the New York County District Attorney.[4] He served from January 3, 1959, to January 3, 1965 (the 86th, 87th and 88th Congresses) and was defeated for reelection in 1964 by Robert F. Kennedy.[18] During his Senate term, Keating served on the Judiciary and Rules committees.[19][20]

In 1960, Keating introduced the Twenty-Third Amendment to the United States Constitution, which allowed residents of the District of Columbia to vote in presidential elections.[6] In 1962, before the Cuban Missile Crisis that began in October, Keating publicly cited a source who had informed him that the Soviet Union and Cuba had constructed intercontinental ballistic missile facilities in Cuba that could target the United States, and urged President John F. Kennedy to take action.[4][6] After the CIA presented U-2 reconnaissance photographs of Soviet medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba to the National Security Council, President Kennedy told his secretary Kenny O'Donnell "Ken Keating will probably be the next President of the United States."[21] He also worked with the bipartisan coalition that achieved passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after it broke the filibuster organized by segregationist Democrats.[6]

During the 1964 Republican National Convention, Keating staged a walkout of the majority of the New York delegation after conservative Barry Goldwater won the presidential nomination.[6] In the general election campaign, Keating refused to endorse Goldwater, and did not campaign for him in New York.[22] Keating outperformed Goldwater on election day, but was defeated for reelection by the Democratic nominee, Robert F. Kennedy, who had established residency in New York shortly before becoming a candidate.[6] Keating accused Kennedy of "carpetbagging", but Democratic strength in what proved to be a wave election nationwide was sufficient to propel Kennedy to victory.[18]

Later career[edit]

Appeals court judge[edit]

In 1965, Keating was elected to the New York Court of Appeals.[4][6] He served until resigning in 1969.[4][6] Though elected to a 14-year term, New York required judges to retire at age 70.[6] Because he was in his 60s when elected, Keating desired to make a mark in what he anticipated would be a short tenure.[6] As a result, in his brief time on the bench, he authored more than 100 opinions.[6]

Keating's judicial philosophy was that precedent was binding, but only to the extent that it made sense in the context of the current case and times; he disagreed with following precedent for its own sake.[6] He also disagreed with the concept of distinguishing cases if the effect of the court's decision was to overrule them.[6] In Keating's view, if a precedent was to be overturned, it should simply be overturned; attempts to distinguish cases by parsing language or selectively picking and choosing case details were confusing to attorneys and judges because they amounted to dishonest reasoning.[6]

In Liberty National Bank v. Buscaglia, Keating rejected the argument that national banks should be exempt from paying state taxes on the grounds that they were instruments of the federal government.[6] In Keating's view, national banks had changed so much since the 1819 McCulloch v. Maryland decision gave them the exemption from state taxes that the McCulloch precedent no longer applied.[6] In Gallagher v. St. Raymond's Roman Catholic Church, Keating's opinion overturned the precedent that the owner of a building to which the public was invited had no duty to illuminate the building's outside stairway.[6] Keating argued that while the precedent made sense in the eras of candles, lanterns and gas lighting, which were not universally accessible, the availability of electric lighting nearly everywhere had rendered it obsolete.[6] In Flanagan v. Mount Eden General Hospital, the court overruled the common law tradition that the statute of limitations in medical malpractice actions which involved instruments left inside a patient began to run from the commission of the act.[6] Keating's opinion argued that logically, the statute of limitations should begin at the point where the patient first became aware of the instrument that had not been retrieved.[6]

Ambassador to India[edit]

In 1969, Keating was appointed U.S. Ambassador to India, which enabled him to make use of the goodwill and contacts he had established during his World War II military service.[4] His tenure was regarded as a success for U.S.-India relations until its last few months, when the Nixon Administration tacitly supported Pakistan in the Bangladesh Liberation War.[4] India conducted a successful war against Pakistan which lasted two weeks and resulted in the transformation of East Pakistan into the independent state of Bangladesh.[4]

As a result of U.S. support for Pakistan in the conflict, America suspended economic aid to India, and India closed five American cultural centers.[4] Keating remained in India until 1972, when he returned to the United States to campaign for the reelection of President Richard M. Nixon.[4]

Ambassador to Israel[edit]

He served as Ambassador to Israel from August 1973 until his death.[4] Keating's ambassadorship was high profile; he built a network of contacts and conducted one on one diplomacy by entertaining frequently at his home in the Tel Aviv suburbs.[4] Despite his efforts, members of the Israeli government were reportedly unhappy with his work, and expressed skepticism about the quality of the reports he sent to the U.S. State Department in Washington.[4] In one instance, Israel's government claimed Keating had misinformed U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about the effects of public opinion in Israel on how much compromising its government could do in attempting to reach agreement with Egypt on the Israeli occupation of the Sinai Peninsula.[4]

Death and burial[edit]

Keating suffered a heart attack on April 17, 1975, while visiting his daughter in New Jersey, and was admitted to Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.[23] He died in the hospital on May 5.[4] Keating's funeral was held at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[24]

Personal life[edit]


In 1928, Keating was married to Louise DePuy, who died in 1968.[4] In 1974, he married Mary Leet Pitcairn (d. 2009), the former wife of William Harding Jackson and former secretary for General Omar N. Bradley.[25] She was the widow of attorney Wendell Davis, who had been a law school classmate of Keating.[4][25] In addition to his second wife, Keating was survived by his daughter, Judith Keating Howe of Short Hills, New Jersey.[4]

Civil and professional memberships[edit]

Keating was a member of American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, and Rochester Bar Association.[26] He belonged to the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Association of the United States Army, and Reserve Officers Association.[26] He was also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.[26] Keating was active in Freemasonry, and attained the 33rd Degree of the Scottish Rite.[26] In addition, his fraternal memberships included the Kiwanis, Elks, Moose, and Eagles.[26] Keating belonged to the American Political Science Association, and received the organization's first Congressional Distinguished Service Award.[26]


In 1959, Keating received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Officer) to recognize his work on behalf of post-World War II Italian immigrants.[27] In 1961, Keating was awarded the Grand Cross of Merit of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, an award presented by the order to recognize non-Catholics who whose personal and professional lives espouse goodwill towards the Catholic Church.[28]

The federal building in Rochester is named for Keating.[29] Brooklyn Law School awards the annual Judge Kenneth B. Keating Memorial Prize to a member of each graduating class who demonstrates exceptional achievement in the field of conflict of laws.[6] The Kenneth Barnard Keating Papers are part of the Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation holdings at the University of Rochester.[30] Senator Keating Boulevard in the town of Brighton, a road which was constructed in the late 1990s, is named for Keating.[31]

Honorary degrees[edit]

Keating received several honorary degrees, to include:


  1. ^ Fausold, Martin L. (2000). "Keating, Kenneth Barnard: American National Biography Online". Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.0700449.
  2. ^ a b c Vanderlinde, Arlene Wright (Spring 2012). "Kenneth Barnard Keating (1900-1975): From Brighton Town Attorney to the Congress of the United States and Beyond" (PDF). Historic Brighton News. Brighton, NY: Historic Brighton. pp. 3–5.
  3. ^ "Dorothy L. Keating Leads Lima Seniors Designated to Speak in Lowe Contest". Daily Messenger. Canandaigua, NY. May 2, 1932. p. 6 – via
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Whitman, Alden (May 6, 1975). "Keating Dies at 74; Envoy, Ex‐Senator". The New York Times. New York, NY. p. 1.
  5. ^ Tarosky, Ariel (2013). "DU: Notable Brothers". Carnegie Colony, Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Pittsburgh, PA: Student Life Office, Carnegie Mellon University.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Korman, Edward R.; Leban, Abbott A. (2007). "Biography, Kenneth Barnard Keating". NY White Plains, NY: Historical Society of the New York Courts.
  7. ^ ""With the Colors": Western New Yorkers Serving with Our Fighting Forces". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. October 24, 1918. p. 9 – via
  8. ^ a b "Lawyer Army Officer Hails His Home City's War Efforts". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. March 25, 1943. p. 14 – via
  9. ^ a b "Attorney Advanced to Rank of Colonel". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. March 18, 1944. p. 11 – via
  10. ^ Dickson, Cecil B. (August 3, 1945). "As of Today: Col. Keating, Rochester, Fills New Delhi Post". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. p. 11 – via
  11. ^ a b c d "Colonel Raps Leave Pay as 'Rank Injustice' to GIs". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. January 13, 1946. p. 17 – via
  12. ^ "British to Offer Lawmaker Honor". The Ithaca Journal. Ithaca, NY. August 5, 1947. p. 1 – via
  13. ^ "Rep. Keating to Speak at Welcome for Veterans". Star-Gazette. Elmira, NY. October 27, 1953. p. 12 – via
  14. ^ "Col. Townson Gets Stars of General". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. February 6, 1948. p. 19 – via
  15. ^ Montgomery, Ruth (May 22, 1962). "Washington Wonderland: Congressional Directory Bristles with War Brags". Carlsbad Current-Argus. Carlsbad, NM. p. 4 – via
  16. ^ "Goldwater Urges Study of Reserve". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, WA. Associated Press. May 16, 1963. p. 39 – via
  17. ^ "Kenneth B. Keating: A Featured Biography". Senate.Gov. Washington, DC: Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Baker, Kevin (October 1999). "In the News: The Carpetbaggers". American Heritage. Rockville, MD: American Heritage Publishing Co.
  19. ^ Loevy, Robert D. (2006). On the Forward Edge: American Government and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-7618-3327-7 – via Google Books.
  20. ^ United States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration (1962). Report of the Subcommittee on Standing Rules of the Senate: Proposed Amendments. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 1 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ Dobbs, Michael (2008). One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War (1st ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-4358-3. OCLC 176951842 – via Google Books.
  22. ^ Robinson, Layhmond (October 2, 1964). "Keating Affirms His Independence; Declares in Nassau He Will Not Support Goldwater". The New York Times. New York, NY. p. 23.
  23. ^ "Keating's Condition 'Stable'". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. April 23, 1975. p. C-1 – via
  24. ^ "Military Burial for Keating At Arlington Tomorrow". The New York Times. New York, NY. United Press International. May 7, 1975. p. 46.
  25. ^ a b "Obituary, Mary Pitcairn Keating". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis, MO. February 15, 2009. p. C8 – via
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i Joint Committee on Printing, United States Congress (1964). Official Congressional Directory, 89th Congress, 2d Session. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 104 – via Google Books.
  27. ^ "Keating Will Get Italy Decoration". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. Gannett News Service. May 19, 1959. p. 28 – via
  28. ^ "Grand Cross of Order of Malta Will Be Conferred on Keating". The Sunday Press. Binghamton, NY. October 15, 1961. p. 14-A – via
  29. ^ "City of Rochester | Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building".
  30. ^ Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation (1998). "Collection Overview: Kenneth Barnard Keating Papers". River Campus Libraries. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester.
  31. ^ Morrell, Alan (February 25, 1998). "Rebuilding of Westfall in 2nd Phase". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. p. 3B – via
  32. ^ "UR to Honor Woman, 4 Men; Keating to Receive Doctorate". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. May 14, 1954. p. 25 – via
  33. ^ "Keating gets Honorary Degree At Hobart". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. October 25, 1959. p. 10 – via
  34. ^ "'Evangelist' Role Urged for Grads". Press & Sun-Bulletin. Binghamton, NY. Associated Press. June 6, 1960. p. 1 – via
  35. ^ "LeMoyne Has Extra Praise for Four". The Post-Standard. Syracuse, NY. June 8, 1959. p. 6 – via
  36. ^ The State of the Union: Being the Report of the President and the Report of the Treasurer of Union College. Schenectady, NY: Union College. 1959. p. 8 – via Google Books.
  37. ^ "U.S. Sen. Keating Will Speak at Alfred Event". Wellsville Daily Reporter. Wellsville, NY. October 4, 1960. p. 3 – via
  38. ^ "Minds of Men Soviet Target, Keating Says". Daily News. New York, NY. March 23, 1960. p. K9 – via
  39. ^ "440 Graduate from Yeshiva University; Harman Awarded Honorary Degree". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. New York, NY. June 15, 1962.
  40. ^ "Culture Is Losing Its Meaning: Keating". Newsday. Melville, NY. October 1, 1963. p. 23 – via
  41. ^ "Keating to Receive Honorary Degree". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. May 29, 1962. p. 8 – via
  42. ^ "Keating to Receive Honorary Degree". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY. United Press International. May 15, 1964. p. 4 – via
  43. ^ "Honorary EC Degree Given Sen. Keating". Star-Gazette. Elmira, NY. June 8, 1964. p. 10 – via
  44. ^ "Previous Honorary Degree Recipients, 1954—2018" (PDF). New York, NY: Pace University. 2018. p. 1.
  45. ^ a b "Keating Carries Hopes of GOP". Mamaroneck Daily Times. Mamaroneck, NY. October 22, 1965. p. 35 – via
  46. ^ "Sen. Keating Gets Honorary Degree". Holyoke Transcript-Telegram. Holyoke, MA. United Press International. June 10, 1965. p. 14 – via

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from New York
(Class 1)

1958, 1964
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 40th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 38th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New York
Served alongside: Jacob K. Javits
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to India
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Israel
Succeeded by