David Frank Hamilton (born May 5, 1957) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He was previously a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. On March 17, 2009, he became President Barack Obama's first judicial nominee when he was named for a seat on the Seventh Circuit. He was confirmed by the Senate on November 19, 2009, in a 59–39 vote.
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit|
|Assumed office |
November 23, 2009
|Appointed by||Barack Obama|
|Preceded by||Kenneth Francis Ripple|
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana|
January 1, 2008 – November 24, 2009
|Preceded by||Larry J. McKinney|
|Succeeded by||Richard L. Young|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana|
October 11, 1994 – November 24, 2009
|Appointed by||Bill Clinton|
|Preceded by||Samuel Hugh Dillin|
|Succeeded by||Tanya Walton Pratt|
David Frank Hamilton
May 5, 1957
Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.
|Education||Haverford College (BA)|
Yale University (JD)
University of Tübingen
Early life, education, and careerEdit
Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Hamilton grew up in southern Indiana and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Haverford College in 1979, followed by a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1983. He also performed graduate work as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tübingen in Germany.
Hamilton worked from 1983 until 1984 as a law clerk for Judge Richard Dickson Cudahy of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He then entered private practice in Indianapolis until 1989 as an associate at the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg. He served as Legal Counsel to Indiana Governor Evan Bayh from 1989 until 1991. Hamilton returned to Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis, working as a partner from 1991 until becoming a federal judge in 1994. During his time in private practice, Hamilton frequently did pro bono work for the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, where he served briefly as a board member and Vice President for Litigation.
Federal judicial serviceEdit
President Clinton nominated Hamilton to be a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on June 8, 1994. The Senate confirmed Hamilton in a voice vote on October 7, 1994. In 2008, Hamilton became the Chief Judge of the Southern District of Indiana.
A number of cases Hamilton decided as a district court judge drew media attention. In American Amusement Mach. Ass'n v. Cottey, Hamilton held that the First Amendment did not prevent the city of Indianapolis from requiring parental consent for children to have access to video games containing explicit sexual content or extreme violence. This ruling was overturned by the Seventh Circuit.
Hamilton drew headlines in 2005 for ruling that the Indiana state legislature violated the Establishment Clause when it began sessions with Christian prayers imploring conversion to Christianity or representing Christianity as the only true faith. He held that prayers invoking Jesus Christ or using terms like savior were sectarian, but names for God in other languages were permissible, absent evidence that those words were used in order to advance or disparage a particular religion. The ruling was overturned by the Seventh Circuit on the ground that the taxpayer plaintiffs lacked standing.
On March 17, 2009, President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Hamilton to a vacancy on the Seventh Circuit that was created by the September 2008 transition to senior status by Judge Kenneth Francis Ripple. Obama formally nominated Hamilton later that day. On November 17, 2009, the Senate voted 70–29 to end the Republican filibuster of the nomination, and the Senate approved Hamilton's nomination in a 59–39 vote two days later.
In March 2017, Hamilton partially dissented when the circuit found that police officers could not be sued for needlessly destroying property during a search because they had prevented the owner from witnessing which officers had caused the damage and that the owner had not pled a novel “conspiracy of silence” claim.
In December 2017, Hamilton authored the majority opinion in Dassey v. Dittmann, which denied Brendan Dassey's habeas corpus petition to have his murder conviction thrown out because, his lawyers argued, it was based on a coerced false confession. Dassey's confession had become the source of national outrage when portions of it were aired in the Netflix miniseries Making a Murderer. Brendan Dassey was sixteen at the time of the confession, and had an IQ of approximately 80. Despite noting the numerous inconsistencies and troubling procedural problems with the confession, Hamilton, along with three Conservative judges on the 7th Circuit en banc appeals court, decided that the confession was a viable piece of evidence and that Dassey's murder conviction should stand.Dassey v. Dittmann, 877 F.3d 297 (7th Cir. 2017).
On August 27, 2019, Hamilton wrote the majority opinion in blocking Indiana's parental notification requirement. Hamilton was joined by Ilana Rovner, over the dissent of Michael Stephen Kanne. On November 1, 2019, the seventh circuit denied rehearing by a vote of 6–5, with Hamilton in the majority, however Frank Easterbrook, who provided the decisive vote, called on the Supreme Court to hear the case. On August 29, 2019, Hamilton was one of 3 judges that upheld Illinois' assault weapon ban.
On February 24, 2020, Hamilton authored the majority opinion in Viamedia v. Comcast, a case dealing with a contentious doctrine in American antitrust law known as refusal to deal. Although the opinion was not based on a trial and only allowed Viamedia to proceed with its monopolization claims against Comcast, some antitrust scholars believe the case could "breathe life" into refusal to deal claims, which have generally lost favor following the Supreme Court's decision in Verizon Communications Inc. v. Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko, LLP.
On December 17, 2021, Hamilton dissented in a 7-3 decision that ruled that a police officer who stopped a car because it was following another car too closely and then searched the car for drugs did not violate the 4th amendment. Hamilton showed concern that the 7th circuit's ruling could allow a police officer to detain someone at a basic traffic stop until the officer is satisfied.
Hamilton's brother, John Hamilton, is the current Mayor of Bloomington, Indiana and is married to Dawn Johnsen, whose nomination to serve as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel in the United States Department of Justice was blocked by the Senate. His father, Richard "Dick" Hamilton is a retired United Methodist minister who served the North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis for many years. Hamilton is a nephew of former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton.
- Judiciary, United States Congress Senate Committee on the (January 7, 1996). "Confirmation Hearings on Federal Appointments: Hearings Before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Second Congress, First Session, on Confirmation Hearings on Appointments to the Federal Judiciary". U.S. Government Printing Office – via Google Books.
- President Obama Announces David Hamilton for the United States 7th Circuit Court of Appeals The White House, March 17, 2009
- Neil A. Lewis, Moderate Is Said to Be Pick for Court The New York Times, March 17, 2009
- "Judicial Nominations and Confirmations: 111th Congress". Archived from the original on December 1, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- "Hamilton, David Frank - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
- "Biography of Chief Judge David F. Hamilton". United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana. Archived from the original on September 20, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
- "Chief Judge David F. Hamilton". Archived from the original on September 20, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2009.
- "Circuit Nominee Mixed Corporate, Civil Liberties Work". The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.
- American Amusement Mach. Ass'n v. Cottey, 115 F. Supp. 2d 943 (S.D. Ind. 2000).
- American Amusement Machine Association v. Kendrick, 244 F.3d 572 (7th Cir. 2001).
- "ENTRY ON POST-JUDGMENT MOTIONS, HINRICHS v. BOSMA, NO. 1:05-cv-0813-DFH-TAB" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 17, 2009. Retrieved November 22, 2009. Hinrichs v. Bosma, 400 F.Supp.2d 1103 (S.D.Ind.2005), Entry on Post Judgment Motion at 15 (Dec. 28, 2005)
- Hinrichs v. Speaker of the House of Representatives, 506 F.3rd 584 (7th Cir. 2007)
- "President Obama Announces David Hamilton for the United States 7th Circuit Court of Appeals - whitehouse.gov". whitehouse.gov. 17 March 2009 – via National Archives.
- "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 1st Session". www.senate.gov.
- Note, Recent Case: Seventh Circuit Suggests Conspiracy-of-Silence Claim for Plaintiffs Who Are Prevented from Witnessing Search, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 1171 (2018).
- Colbert v. City of Chicago, 851 F.3d 649 (7th Cir. 2017).
- "The Tragic, Real-Life Epilogue to Netflix's "Making a Murderer"". Vanity Fair. December 11, 2017.
- "Indiana Abortion Notice Injunction Upheld by Divided seventh Cir". news.bloomberglaw.com.
- "Full appeals court won't rehear Indiana abortion law case". AP NEWS. November 1, 2019.
- "PER CURIAM Opinion, WILSON v. COOK COUNTY, No. 1:17-cv-07002". August 29, 2019.
- "Seventh Circuit Breathes New Life into Refusal-to-Deal Claims". The National Law Review.
- "Trump Judge Upholds Extended Police Stop of Black Man in Ruling that Threatens to Allow Police to "Harass and Humiliate" Drivers and Conduct "Racially Discriminatory Stops and Searches": Our Courts, Our Fight". People for the American Way. January 3, 2022. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
- "US v. Janhoi Cole" (PDF). Justia. December 17, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
- "Office of the Mayor". 25 April 2007.
- "Obama Announces First Judicial Nominee". The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.
- David Hamilton at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- David Hamilton at Ballotpedia
- Recent opinions by Chief Judge David F. Hamilton, from the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana
- David Hamilton[dead link] at the Alliance for Justice