Charles P. Sifton, a federal judge in Brooklyn whose rulings paved the way for women to join the New York Fire Department and for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to run for a third term, died Monday at his home in Brooklyn.
He was 74.
The cause was complications of sarcoidosis, a lung disease, his son Sam said.
Judge Sifton handled many major cases in more than 30 years on the bench, many of them as chief judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
In November 1985, Judge Sifton determined that a non-jury trial should be held to resolve ownership of the library housed at Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway.
The court would decide if at the time of his death in 1950 the library had been the personal property of Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneerson, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe and his heirs: his two daughters and grandson, Barry Gourary, or whether it belonged to the Lubavitch community.
On January 6, 1987, the decison of Judge Sifton was handed down in Brooklyn. The court awarded forty thousand books and manuscripts to the Lubavitch community.
Judge Sifton wrote: “The conclusion is inescapable that the library was not held by the sixth Rebbe at his death as his personal property, but had been delivered by to plaintiff to be held in trust for the benefit of the religious community of Chabad Chasidism.”