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Randolph Daniel Moss (born April 27, 1961) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Randolph Moss
Moss Randolph.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Assumed office
November 14, 2014
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byRobert L. Wilkins
Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel
In office
1998 – 2001[1]
Acting until 2000
Appointed byBill Clinton
Preceded byDawn Johnsen
Succeeded byJay Bybee
Personal details
Raymond Daniel Moss

(1961-04-27) April 27, 1961 (age 58)
Springfield, Ohio
EducationHamilton College (A.B.)
Yale Law School (J.D.)



Moss was born Raymond Daniel Moss in Springfield, Ohio.[2] He received an Artium Baccalaureus degree, summa cum laude, in 1983 from Hamilton College. He received a Juris Doctor in 1986 from Yale Law School. He began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Pierre N. Leval of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1986 to 1987, and then served as a law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court, from 1988 to 1989. He worked at the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering from 1989 to 1996. From 1996 to 2001, he worked at the United States Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, in a number of capacities. He served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General, from 1996 to 1998, Acting Assistant Attorney General, from 1998 to 2000, and as Assistant Attorney General, from 2000 to 2001.[1] After his service in the Justice Department, he returned to his previous law firm, now known as Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr LLP, where he chaired the firm's Regulatory and Government Affairs Department, leaving the firm upon his confirmation as a federal judge in November 2014.[3][4]

Federal agency serviceEdit

In 2000, when Moss was an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) of the United States Department of Justice, he wrote the memorandum opinion advising that the Department could not indict a sitting president.[5] "The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions."[5]

The Mueller Report (March 2019, Vol. II, p. 1[6]) cited the Moss memorandum in partial justification of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's decision not to indict President Donald Trump. "Given the role of the Special Counsel as an attorney in the Department of Justice and the framework of the Special Counsel regulations, see 28 U.S.C. § 515; 28 C.F.R. § 600.7(a), this Office accepted OLC's legal conclusion for the purpose of exercising prosecutorial jurisdiction."[6]

Federal judicial serviceEdit

Judge Moss in 2015

On April 3, 2014, President Obama nominated Moss to serve as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, to the seat vacated by Judge Robert L. Wilkins, who terminated service on the court due to his elevation to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on January 24, 2014.[7] He received a hearing before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on May 20, 2014.[8] On June 19, 2014 his nomination was reported out of committee by a roll call vote of 11–7.[9] On September 18, 2014 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed for cloture on his nomination. On Wednesday, November 12, 2014 cloture was invoked by the Senate by a vote of 53–45.[10] On November 13, 2014 the Senate voted 54–45 in favor of final confirmation.[11] He received his judicial commission on November 14, 2014.[4]

Notable rulingsEdit

In May 2016, Moss found that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act prevented an Ethiopian dissident living under asylum in the United States from suing the Ethiopian government for infecting his home computer with FinSpy spyware and then surveilling him in Maryland.[12][13]

On October 16, 2018 Moss ruled against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos after she stopped an Obama-era rule from taking effect which protected students against fraud from for-profit colleges.[14][15]


  1. ^ a b "District Judge Randolph D Moss | United States District Court". Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  3. ^ "President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the United States District Courts". 3 April 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Moss, Randolph Daniel – Federal Judicial Center".
  5. ^ a b "A Sitting President's Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution, October 16, 2000" (PDF). Department of Justice. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election, March 2019". New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate". 3 April 2014.
  8. ^ "May 20, 2014: Judicial Nominations". United States Senate.
  9. ^ "Executive Business Meeting" (PDF). United States Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  10. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 2nd Session". Vote Summary: Vote Number 271. United States Senate. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  11. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 2nd Session". Vote Summary: Vote Number 273. United States Senate. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  12. ^ Note, Recent Case: D.C. Circuit Finds Ethiopia Immune in Hacking Suit, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 1179 (2018).
  13. ^ Doe v. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 189 F. Supp. 3d 6 (D.D.C. 2016).
  14. ^ Rodrigo, Chris Mills (2018-10-16). "Court rules Obama-era student loan regulations must take effect". TheHill. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  15. ^ Lobosco, Katie (2018-10-18). "Obama-era student debt relief takes effect". Retrieved 2018-11-19.

External linksEdit