Paul Victor Niemeyer (born April 5, 1941) is a United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.

Paul V. Niemeyer
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Assumed office
August 7, 1990
Appointed byGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byHarrison Lee Winter
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland
In office
February 22, 1988 – August 10, 1990
Appointed byRonald Reagan
Preceded byFrank Albert Kaufman
Succeeded byBenson Everett Legg
Personal details
Paul Victor Niemeyer

(1941-04-05) April 5, 1941 (age 83)
Princeton, New Jersey
EducationKenyon College (AB)
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
University of Notre Dame (JD)

Education and career edit

Niemeyer was born in Princeton, New Jersey. He attended Kenyon College (Artium Baccalaureus, 1962), where he played on the school's baseball team. He then studied at the University of Munich, before pursuing his legal education at Notre Dame Law School (Juris Doctor, 1966). He was admitted to the Maryland bar and practiced commercial law at Piper & Marbury (now DLA Piper) in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1966 to 1988. In 1984, Niemeyer co-authored the Maryland Rules Commentary,[1] a treatise on the rules of procedure in the Maryland state courts.

From 1973–88, he was a member of the Maryland Court of Appeals Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure.[2]

In 2006, Niemeyer published A Path Remembered: The Lives of Gerhart & Lucie Niemeyer.[3] Niemeyer's father, Gerhart Niemeyer (1907–1997),[4] was a political philosopher and professor of government at the University of Notre Dame. Niemeyer is married and has three sons.[5]

Niemeyer's father was a conservative political philosopher and friend of William F. Buckley, Jr. Upon Hitler's rise, in 1933, Niemeyer's father left Germany for Spain and then the US. Niemeyer, like his father, studied at the University of Munich. The New York Times obituary of June 29, 1997, states that Niemeyer's father: "wrote that fascism, communism and other such modern mass movements were the legacy of disoriented philosophers. He said their ideas corroded the cultural mettle of a society and spawned ideologies with a limited view of humanity."[6][5]

Federal judicial service edit

Niemeyer was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on September 11, 1987, to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, to fill the seat vacated by Judge Frank Albert Kaufman. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 19, 1988, and received his commission on February 22, 1988. Niemeyer served on the district court until was elevated to the court of appeals on August 10, 1990.[5]

On May 11, 1990, President George H. W. Bush nominated Niemeyer to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to fill the seat vacated by Judge Harrison Lee Winter. Niemeyer was confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on August 3, 1990, and received his commission on August 7, 1990.[5] His chambers are located in Baltimore. In 1993, Niemeyer became a member of the Advisory Committee on Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. He served as chair of the committee from 1996 through 2000. Niemeyer is a member of the American Law Institute and has taught Appellate Practice at Duke Law School.

Notable cases edit

On July 28, 2014, Niemeyer dissented from a 4th Circuit ruling that struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. In his dissent, he argued that under a rational basis test Virginia's ban should be deemed constitutional.[7]

On April 19, 2016, Niemeyer dissented in part from a 4th Circuit ruling (G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board) in an appeal from the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at Newport News where the majority of the 4th Circuit panel reversed the district court's dismissal of a transgender boy's claims under Title IX. Niemeyer's dissent states: "This unprecedented holding overrules custom, culture, and the very demands inherent in human nature for privacy and safety ... More particularly, it also misconstrues the clear language of Title IX and its regulations"; and "And finally, it reaches an unworkable and illogical result".[8]

The Majority rejected Niemeyer's assertions, concluding that "the record is devoid of any evidence tending to show that [the plaintiff's] use of the boys' restroom creates a safety issue."[8] Further, the Majority rejected Niemeyer's "suggestion that . . . the enforcement of separate restroom facilities [would be] impossible because it 'would require schools to assume gender identity based on appearances, social expectations, or explicit declarations of identity.' Accepting [such a] position would equally require the school to assume 'biological sex' based on 'appearances, social expectations, or explicit declarations of [biological sex].' Certainly, no one is suggesting mandatory verification of the 'correct' genitalia before admittance to a restroom. The Department [of Justices]’s vision of sex-segregated restrooms which takes account of gender identity presents no greater 'impossibility of enforcement' problem than does the [dissent's] 'biological gender' vision of sex-segregated restrooms."[8]

On May 25, 2017, Niemeyer wrote a dissent when the en banc circuit upheld a lower court's injunction against the President's travel ban by a vote of 10–3 in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump.[9] The decision would later be overruled by the Supreme Court in Trump v. Hawaii (2018).

In March 2018, Niemeyer wrote a dissent when the circuit denied en banc rehearing to a divided panel's conclusion that the Bladensburg Peace Cross memorial from World War I now violated the Constitution's Establishment Clause.[10][11] The Fourth Circuit's judgment was then reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court in American Legion v. American Humanist Association (2019).[12]

In August 2020, Niemeyer dissented from the 2–1 majority in G. G. v. Gloucester County School Board. In a 2–1 decision, the court ruled for Gavin Grimm, a transgender man who had sued the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia who had prohibited him from using the boys' bathroom.[13][14] Niemeyer wrote in dissent “I readily accept the facts of Grimm’s sex status and gender identity and his felt need to be treated with dignity. Affording all persons the respect owed to them by virtue of their humanity is a core value underlying our civil society. At the same time, our role as a court is limited. We are commissioned to apply the law and must leave it to Congress to determine policy. In this instance, the School Board offered its students male and female restrooms, legitimately separating them on the basis of sex. It also provided safe and private unisex restrooms that Grimm, along with all other students, could use. These offerings fully complied with both Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause.”[15]

References edit

  1. ^ "Maryland Rules Commentary, Third Edition – LexisNexis(R) Bookstore". Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2006-10-14.
  2. ^ "Welcome – Maryland Courts". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Home page – ISI Books". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Gerhart Niemeyer Tribute". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2006-10-14.
  5. ^ a b c d "Niemeyer, Paul Victor - Federal Judicial Center". Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  6. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (1997-06-29). "Gerhart Niemeyer, Scholar Of Political Philosophy, 90". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-19.
  7. ^ Gerstein, Josh (July 28, 2014). "Court: Virginia same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional". Politico. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit". Retrieved 2016-04-19.
  9. ^ Adam Liptak (May 26, 2017). "Appeals Court Will Not Reinstate Trump's Revised Travel Ban". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  10. ^ Am. Humanist Ass’n v. Md.-Nat’l Capital Park & Planning Comm’n, 891 F.3d 117 (4th Cir. 2018) (mem.).
  11. ^ Note, Recent Case: En Banc Fourth Circuit Denies Rehearing of Holding that Cross-Shaped World War I Memorial Violates Establishment Clause, 132 Harv. L. Rev. 1353 (2019).
  12. ^ Note, The Supreme Court, 2018 Term — Leading Cases, 133 Harv. L. Rev. 262 (2019).
  13. ^ Davies, Emily. "Court rules in favor of transgender student barred from using boys' bathroom". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  14. ^ Stratford, Michael (26 August 2020). "Court rules 'resoundingly yes' for transgender rights in Gavin Grimm bathroom access battle". POLITICO. Retrieved 2020-08-28.
  15. ^ "GAVIN GRIMM, Plaintiff – Appellee, v. GLOUCESTER COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, Defendant – Appellant" (PDF). United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 26 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.

External links edit

Legal offices
Preceded by Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit