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Deborah L. Cook (born February 8, 1952) is a senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, based in Akron, Ohio.[1]

Deborah L. Cook
Deborah Cook Circuit Judge.jpg
Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Assumed office
March 6, 2019
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
In office
May 7, 2003 – March 6, 2019
Appointed byGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byAlan Eugene Norris
Succeeded byChad Readler
Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court
In office
January 1, 1995 – May 16, 2003
Preceded byA. William Sweeney
Succeeded byTerrence O'Donnell
Personal details
Born (1952-02-08) February 8, 1952 (age 67)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Akron (B.A.)
University of Akron School of Law (J.D.)



Cook received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Akron and her Juris Doctor from the University of Akron School of Law.[2] She was president of Delta Gamma sorority and president of her senior class at the University of Akron. She is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership and academic honorary society.

Following graduation from law school until her election to the Ohio Ninth District Court of Appeals, Cook was a member of Akron's oldest law firm, Roderick, Myers & Linton, as well as the firm's first female partner. She then served four years as a state appellate judge on the District Court of Appeals covering Summit, Wayne, Medina, and Lorain counties. Cook was elected to the Ohio Supreme Court in 1994 for a six-year term beginning in 1995. She was re-elected in November 2000 and served until her appointment to the Sixth Circuit in 2003.

Cook chaired the Commission on Public Legal Education, and was a member of the Ohio Courts Futures Commission and the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management. In 1996, the University of Akron presented her with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree. She is a past president of the Akron Bar Association Foundation, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and was a member of the Akron Bar Association disciplinary committee from 1981 to 1993. Cook's past community activities include: Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management; Summit County United Way Board of Trustees; President of Volunteer Center Board of Trustees, Women's Network Board of Directors and past chair of the Junior Leadership Akron Project. She currently co-chairs Collegescholars, Inc, a mentored scholarship program benefiting disadvantaged Akron students. Cook is noted as being the only woman ever to play on the all-male Sharon Golf Club's course.

Sixth Circuit nomination, confirmation, and tenureEdit

President George W. Bush nominated Cook to the Sixth Circuit on May 9, 2001 to a seat vacated by Judge Alan E. Norris. That nomination, made during the Democratic-controlled 107th Congress, never received a floor vote in the United States Senate. Cook was not confirmed until almost two years later. She was confirmed 66–25[3] by the United States Senate on May 5, 2003. Cook was the fourth judge nominated to the Sixth Circuit by Bush and confirmed by the Senate. As a Sixth Circuit Judge, she has authored notable opinions on the Fourth Amendment,[4] Voting Rights,[5] and school free speech.[6]

In 2014 Cook voted to uphold gay marriage bans in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee in a 2-1 ruling. The ruling was the second[7] to uphold gay marriage bans since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and diverged with rulings by the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th circuits, which then led the U.S. Supreme Court to grant writ of certiorari to review same-sex marriage bans when it previously declined to do so.[8][9] In Obergefell v. Hodges the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Sixth Circuit.

Possible Supreme Court candidateEdit

Cook was mentioned in 2005 as a possible nominee for the Supreme Court to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. O'Connor was eventually replaced with Samuel Alito, although Cook was mentioned as a possible nominee to the high court had Republican John McCain won the 2008 presidential election.[1][10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Biskupic, Joan (October 23, 2008). "For divided high court, two potential legacies". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  2. ^ "Justice Deborah L. Cook". Supreme Court of Ohio. State of Ohio. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
  3. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 108th Congress - 1st Session". Official website of the United States Senate. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  4. ^ "Suppression Decision Worth a Read". Sixth Circuit Blog.
  5. ^ "Tennessee Felony Disenfranchisement Statute Requiring Child Support Payments Upheld". Constitutional Law Prof Blog.
  6. ^ "First Amendment Exception for "Racially Hostile or Contemptuous Speech" — Including Display of the Confederate Flag — in K-12 Public Schools?". Volokh Conspiracy.
  7. ^ Denniston, Lyle. "Puerto Rico Ban on Same Sex Marriage Upheld". SCOTUSblog. Retrieved 2014-11-12.
  8. ^ Wolf, Richard (7 November 2014). "Gay marriage bans in four states upheld, Supreme Court review likely". USA Today. Gannett. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  9. ^ Wolf, Richard (16 January 2015). "Supreme Court agrees to rule on Gay Marriage". USA Today. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  10. ^ Rizo, Chris (2008-10-09). "Washington observers weigh in on potential Supreme Court picks". LegalNewsline.

External linksEdit