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Joan Louise Larsen (born December 1, 1968) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and a former Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.

Joan Larsen
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Assumed office
November 2, 2017
Appointed byDonald Trump
Preceded byDavid McKeague
Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court
In office
October 1, 2015 – November 2, 2017
Appointed byRick Snyder
Preceded byMary Beth Kelly
Succeeded byElizabeth T. Clement
Personal details
Joan Louise Larsen

(1968-12-01) December 1, 1968 (age 50)
Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Adam Pritchard
EducationUniversity of Northern Iowa (BA)
Northwestern University (JD)


Joan Larsen was born on December 1, 1968, in Waterloo, Iowa. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Northern Iowa and received her Juris Doctor from the Northwestern University School of Law,[1] where she graduated first in her class in 1993.[2] While at Northwestern, she served as articles editor of the Northwestern University Law Review.

Larsen became a professor at the University of Michigan School of Law in 1998. She clerked for David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1994 term.[3] She served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel from January 2002 to May 2003 in the administration of President George W. Bush.[4] Larsen did not contribute to the OLC's Torture Memos, and in March 2002 she authored a memo addressing detainee court access.[5]

Michigan Supreme Court serviceEdit

On October 1, 2015, Larsen was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by Governor Rick Snyder[1] to replace Justice Mary Beth Kelly, who announced plans to resign and return to private practice, effective October 1, 2015.[6] She was elected on November 8, 2016, to fill the remainder of Kelly's unexpired term, which ran through the end of 2018.[7] Larsen received 58.7% of the vote in a three-way race against Deborah Thomas and Kerry Morgan.[8] She was on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's May 2016 list of potential Supreme Court justices.[9] Her service was terminated due to her appointment to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Federal judicial serviceEdit

On May 8, 2017, President Trump nominated Larsen to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, to the seat soon to be vacated by Judge David W. McKeague.[10][11][12] Larsen's nomination was held up for months by Michigan's Democratic U.S. Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters. The pair initially refused to return their blue slips for Larsen, an informal United States Senate practice that essentially gives Senators veto power over federal judicial nominees from their home state.[13] Larsen met separately with Peters and Stabenow on July 26, 2017.[14] Stabenow and Peters both returned blue slips in August 2017, allowing Larsen's hearing to move forward.[15]

A hearing on Larsen's nomination before the Senate Judiciary Committee was held on September 6, 2017.[16] On October 5, 2017, the Judiciary Committee voted on a party-line vote of 11–9 to recommend her to the full U.S. Senate for a confirmation vote.[17][18] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a cloture motion to limit debate on Larsen's nomination on October 26, 2017,[19] clearing the path for the full Senate to vote on Larsen's nomination in the first week of November 2017.[20] The Senate voted to invoke cloture and thus end debate on Larsen's nomination on October 31, 2017, by a vote of 60–38, with Stabenow and Peters voting to proceed with the nomination and give Larsen a final up-or-down vote before the full Senate.[21][22] On November 1, 2017, Larsen was confirmed by the full Senate by the same 60–38 vote.[23] Both Stabenow and Peters, along with six other Senate Democrats, joined all 52 Senate Republicans voting to confirm Larsen.[24] She received her commission on November 2, 2017.[25]

Electoral historyEdit

Michigan Supreme Court – Partial Term Results, November 8, 2016[26]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Joan Larsen (incumbent) 2,023,611 58.66%
Democratic Deborah Thomas 976,660 28.31%
Libertarian Kerry L. Morgan 449,221 13.02%
Majority 1,046,951 30.35%
Total votes 3,449,492 100.00%
Republican hold

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Egan, Paul (September 30, 2015). "Snyder appoints Joan Larsen to Supreme Court". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  2. ^ "Justice Joan L. Larsen". Michigan Supreme Court. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  3. ^ Larsen, Joan L. (February 16, 2016). "What I Learned From Justice Scalia". The New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  4. ^ Heinlein, Gary (September 30, 2015). "Snyder picks UM law professor Larsen for Supreme Court". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  5. ^ Howe, Amy (January 9, 2017). "Potential nominee profile: Joan Larsen". SCOTUSblog. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  6. ^ Egan, Paul (August 17, 2015). "Kelly stepping down from Michigan Supreme Court". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  7. ^ Eggert, David (September 30, 2015). "UM law professor Joan Larsen appointed to Michigan Supreme Court". Crain's Detroit Business. Associated Press. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  8. ^ "Michigan Supreme Court Partial Term Results: Joan Larsen Wins". New York Times. August 1, 2017. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  9. ^ Colvin, Jill. "Trump Unveils List of His Top Supreme Court Picks". Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 19, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  10. ^ Egan, Paul (May 8, 2017). "President Trump names Justice Joan Larsen to U.S. 6th Circuit". Detroit Free Press.
  11. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Judicial Candidate Nominations" (Press release). The White House. May 8, 2017.
  12. ^ "Presidential Nomination 371, 115th United States Congress". United States Congress. May 8, 2017. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  13. ^ Nann Burke, Melissa (July 4, 2017). "Trump's Michigan judicial nominee hits a snag". The Detroit News. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  14. ^ Nann Burke, Melissa (July 24, 2017). "Stabenow, Peters to meet with judicial nominee Larsen". The Detroit News. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  15. ^ Spangler, Todd (August 4, 2017). "Stabenow, Peters let Joan Larsen nomination move forward". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  16. ^ United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary: Nominations for September 6, 2017
  17. ^ Spangler, Todd (October 5, 2017). "Michigan Justice Joan Larsen inches closer to becoming federal appeals court judge". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  18. ^ "Daily Digest/Senate Committee Meetings, Committee on the Judiciary". Congressional Record, 115th Congress, 1st Session. 163 (160): D1059–D1060. October 5, 2017. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  19. ^ "Cloture Motions - 115th Congress". United States Senate. October 26, 2017.
  20. ^ Lesniewski, Niels (October 26, 2017). "McConnell Sets Table for Full Week of Judicial Wars". Roll Call.
  21. ^ Nann Burke, Melissa (October 31, 2017). "Senate set to vote this week on Larsen nomination". The Detroit News.
  22. ^ "Roll Call Vote 115th Congress - 1st Session". United States Senate. October 31, 2017.
  23. ^ Egan, Paul (November 1, 2017). "U.S. Senate confirms appointment of Joan Larsen to federal appeals court". Detroit Free Press.
  24. ^ "Roll Call Vote 115th Congress - 1st Session". United States Senate. November 1, 2017.
  25. ^ "Judges". United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  26. ^ "Michigan Supreme Court Partial Term Results: Joan Larsen Wins". The New York Times. November 8, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit