Justice James D. Hopkins studied at Columbia College before earning a law degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1933. He served on the Westchester County Board of Supervisors in the position of majority leader and chairman, and from 1954 to 1957, he was Westchester County Executive.
Hopkins was named a county judge in 1957. He was appointed to the State Supreme Court in 1960 by Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller. He was designated as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department in 1962. In 1981, Justice Hopkins joined a majority opinion ruling that New York State's system of basing public education financing on local property taxes violated the State Constitution because it created a disadvantage for children in poor districts.
He retired from the bench in 1981, thereafter serving as acting dean of the Pace University School of Law. He also co-authored Appellate Justice in New York, published in 1982, with Robert MacCrate and Maurice Rosenberg. From 1984 until 1994 he served as a judicial hearing officer.
He was married to Bertha Bower Hopkins and had two children and two grandchildren. He died on January 5, 1996 in Mount Kisco, NY at the age of 84.
"Court Invalidates School Financing in New York State." New York Times (1923-Current file): 1. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Oct 27 1981. Web. 6 Jan. 2012.
"James Hopkins, 84, Appeals Court Judge." New York Times (1923-Current file): 30. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Jan 07 1996. Web. 14 Dec. 2011.