James M. Maloney

James M. maloney, October 14, 2017
​ Jim Maloney on a merchant ship in the early 1980
​ Maloney on the bridge wing of a merchant ship, early 1980s.

Jim Maloney graduated from Maritime in 1980, after having been among the first to join the new Humanities Study Area Concentration. From 1980 to 1987, he made his living as a licensed deck officer on American merchant ships, returning to the College to teach aboard the Training Ship Empire State V for the 1985 Summer Sea Term and then teaching Electronic Navigation during Spring 1986. Later that year, he completed a paramedic training program in which he had enrolled in order to be better prepared for handling medical emergencies at sea. In 1987, Maloney was offered, and accepted, a job as a paramedic at Saint Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan. While working full-time in that capacity, Jim attended Fordham Law School's evening program. He was a member of the Fordham Law Review, where he authored and published two articles on constitutional law while a student (see below). Jim also received awards in Admiralty and International Law upon his graduation in 1995. Maloney next worked as an associate attorney at two historic New York maritime law firms, Burlingham Underwood and Kirlin Campbell & Keating. He began his private solo practice in late 1999, and earned a Master of Laws degree from NYU Law School in 2004 in a self-designed program in Constitutional Law, studying federalism and federal systems such as those that exist in the United States, Germany and the European Union. Among his professors there were Dieter Grimm, formerly a judge on the Bundesverfassungsgericht (German Federal Constitutional Court), and András Sájo (since 2008 a judge on the European Court of Human Rights).


In addition to practicing maritime law, Maloney has pursued constitutional claims in federal court both on behalf of clients and in his own name, his best known case being one he began in 2003 involving the right to keep and bear arms (specifically, the martial-arts weapon known as the nunchaku), which reached the United States Supreme Court as Maloney v. Rice (2010), and which is now once again in litigation in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He has also represented other plaintiffs in cases challenging New York's criminalization of the peaceful possession of nunchaku in one's own home, including another federal case commenced in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York in 2013 that has been stayed pending the final outcome in his 2003 case (opinion here).

licenseSince 2011, Jim has served as a volunteer court-annexed mediator at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Maloney is admitted to practice in the states of New York and New Jersey, and before numerous federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits, the Court of International Trade, the Court of Federal Claims, and the United States District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York, Northern District of Florida, Eastern District of Texas, Northern District of Illinois, District of Connecticut, and District of New Jersey. He is a Proctor Member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States.  Unfortunately, his last United States Coast Guard license expired in 2002.


Selected Publications and Work Product

“Piloting and Radar Navigation” chapter in The Merchant Marine Officers’ Handbook (1989)

"Shooting for an Omnipotent Congress: The Constitutionality of Federal Regulation of Intrastate Firearms Possession" (1994)

"Suits for the Hirsute: Defending Against America's Undeclared War on Beards in the Workplace" (1995)

"A Breach in Tort’s Clothing: Pleading Cargo Claims to Gain Lien Priority" in Journal of Maritime Law & Commmerce (1996)

"Fighting for Basic Human Rights in the Workplace: A Conversation with Lewis Maltby" in Regional Labor Review (2003)

Petition for Certiorari, American Petroleum & Transport, Inc. v. City of New York (2014)

Amicus Brief on behalf of Seamen's Church Institute, Asignacion v. Rickmers Genoa Schiffahrtsgesellschaft mbH & CIE KG (2015)


Other Links

"The Saga of Fort Schuyler" (manuscript of James Harvey Tomb, 1943)*

Margaret Tracy and Balbina Johnson: The Women Behind Bacitracin (another tale from 1943)*

How to Make Natto (Japanese fermented soybeans) (using same species of bacteria as in Bacitracin)

Repository of Documents filed in Maloney v. Rice (maintained by Michel & Associates, P.C.)

"WHEN NROTC WAS LOST AND RETURNED" at SUNY Maritime (News From Fort Schuyler, 1999)

Interview with Jim Maloney (pages 8-10 in Summer 2014 issue of Fort Schuyler MARINER)

"What Good Is Celestial Navigation?" (pages 22-25 in November 2004 issue of Fort Schuyler MARINER)*


* Links marked with an asterisk above are to web pages captured on the Wayback Machine.



State University of New York Maritime College
Bachelor of Science (Marine Business & Commerce; Humanities Study Area Concentration), 1980
Chartering Certificate (awarded jointly with Association of Ship Brokers and Agents (U.S.A.)), 1996

Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS)
Courses in Shipboard Emergency Medical Care, Tanker Operations, 1981-1983

St. Vincent's Institute of Emergency Care
Paramedic Training Program, completed 1986

Fordham University School of Law
Juris Doctor (J.D.), 1995

New York University School of Law
Master of Laws (LL.M.), 2004

Honors & Awards

Emmet J. McCormack Foundation Prize (Admiralty Law) (Fordham University School of Law, May 21, 1995)
Whitmore Gray Prize (International Law) (Fordham University School of Law, May 21, 1995)


[GBLW 433] Admiralty Law - 3 class hours, 3 credits. Topics include jurisdiction of admiralty courts, limitation of liability, collisions, rights of seamen, bills of lading, charter parties, cargo claims, maritime liens, vessel arrest and Rule B attachment, the Robins Dry Dock rule, insurance, salvage, pilotage and general average.

[TMGT 8440] Maritime Law - 3 class hours, 3 credits. The course lays out the above general maritime law principles at a graduate-student level as appropriate for ship's officers and those working in the maritime industry ashore. American admiralty and maritime law and practice as applicable to shipowners, seafarers, marine insurers/insureds and charterers is surveyed and explained.

[PROPOSED] Second Amendment Law - 3 class hours, 3 credits. The course, if offered, would examine the developing jurisprudence of the right to keep and bear arms, from the ratification of the Second Amendment as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791 through the Supreme Court's first substantive case in 1939 (United States v. Miller), its decision in 2008 holding that the right is an individual one (District of Columbia v. Heller), its decision in 2010 holding that the right is applicable as against the states (McDonald v. City of Chicago), lower federal court decisions after Heller and McDonald, and the future of Second Amendment law. Key issues examined include balancing individual liberty with pubic safety, the level of scrutiny to be applied by courts when reviewing weapons statutes, which weapons are protected, and which individuals may exercise the right and in what context (e.g., citizens versus aliens, in-home possession versus carrying in public). Ultimately, the course will address the timely and urgent question of whether and to what extent a better-developed Second Amendment jurisprudence, by allowing opposite sides in the gun-control debate to agree on key points, could ultimately lead to comprehensive national legislation that is actually effective in solving the horrific problems of mass shootings and other firearm-related violence in the United States. European legal models of constitutional law such as subsidiarity and proportionality will be examined in context.

Eight Bells (yearbook) blurb, 1980, by James Michael Maloney ("Sweeney")