United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (in case citations, D.C. Cir.) known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Appeals from the D.C. Circuit, as with all U.S. Courts of Appeals, are heard on a discretionary basis by the Supreme Court. It should not be confused with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which is limited in jurisdiction by subject matter rather than geography, or with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, which is roughly equivalent to a state supreme court in the District of Columbia, and was established in 1970 to relieve the D.C. Circuit from having to take appeals from the local D.C. trial court.
|United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit|
|Location||E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse|
|Established||February 9, 1893|
|Circuit Justice||John Roberts|
|Chief Judge||Merrick Garland|
While it has the smallest geographic jurisdiction of any of the United States courts of appeals, the D.C. Circuit, with eleven active judgeships, is arguably the most important inferior appellate court. The court is given the responsibility of directly reviewing the decisions and rulemaking of many federal independent agencies of the United States government based in the national capital, often without prior hearing by a district court. Aside from the agencies whose statutes explicitly direct review by the D.C. Circuit, the court typically hears cases from other agencies under the more general jurisdiction granted to the Courts of Appeals under the Administrative Procedure Act. Given the broad areas over which federal agencies have power, this often gives the judges of the D.C. Circuit a central role in affecting national U.S. policy and law. Because of this, the D.C. Circuit is often referred to as the second-most powerful court in the United States, second only to the Supreme Court.
A judgeship on the D.C. Circuit is often thought of as a stepping-stone for appointment to the Supreme Court. As of October 2018[update], four of the nine justices on the Supreme Court are alumni of the D.C. Circuit: Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Brett Kavanaugh. Associate Justice Elena Kagan was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the same seat that Roberts would later fill, but was never given a vote in the Senate. In addition, Chief Justices Fred M. Vinson and Warren Burger, as well as Associate Justices Wiley Blount Rutledge and Antonin Scalia, served on the D.C. Circuit before their elevations to the Supreme Court. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan put forth two failed nominees from the D.C. Circuit: former Judge Robert Bork, who was rejected by the Senate, and former (2001–2008) Chief Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg (no relation to Ruth Bader Ginsburg), who withdrew his nomination after it became known that he had used marijuana as a college student and professor in the 1960s and 1970s. Likewise, in 2016 President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland from the D.C. Circuit to replace the late Scalia, but the Senate controversially did not give Garland a full vote.
Because the D.C. Circuit does not represent any state, confirmation of nominees can be procedurally and practically easier than for nominees to the Courts of Appeals for the other geographical districts, as home-state senators have historically been able to hold up confirmation through the "blue slip" process. However, in recent years, several nominees to the D.C. Circuit were stalled and some were ultimately not confirmed because senators claimed that the court had become larger than necessary to handle its caseload. The court has a history of reversing the Federal Communications Commission's major policy actions.
From 1984 to 2009, there were twelve seats on the D.C. Circuit. One of those seats was eliminated by the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007 on January 7, 2008, with immediate effect, leaving the number of authorized judgeships at eleven. (The eliminated judgeship was assigned to the Ninth Circuit effective January 21, 2009).
Current composition of the courtEdit
As of March 18, 2019[update]:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|53||Chief Judge||Merrick Garland||Washington, D.C.||1952||1997–present||2013–present||—||Clinton|
|49||Circuit Judge||Karen L. Henderson||Washington, D.C.||1944||1990–present||—||—||G.H.W. Bush|
|51||Circuit Judge||Judith W. Rogers||Washington, D.C.||1939||1994–present||—||—||Clinton|
|52||Circuit Judge||David S. Tatel||Washington, D.C.||1942||1994–present||—||—||Clinton|
|56||Circuit Judge||Thomas B. Griffith||Washington, D.C.||1954||2005–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|58||Circuit Judge||Sri Srinivasan||Washington, D.C.||1967||2013–present||—||—||Obama|
|59||Circuit Judge||Patricia Millett||Washington, D.C.||1963||2013–present||—||—||Obama|
|60||Circuit Judge||Cornelia Pillard||Washington, D.C.||1961||2013–present||—||—||Obama|
|61||Circuit Judge||Robert L. Wilkins||Washington, D.C.||1963||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|62||Circuit Judge||Gregory G. Katsas||Washington, D.C.||1964||2017–present||—||—||Trump|
|63||Circuit Judge||Neomi Rao||Washington, D.C.||1973||2019–present||—||—||Trump|
|38||Senior Circuit Judge||Harry T. Edwards||Washington, D.C.||1940||1980–2005||1994–2001||2005–present||Carter|
|43||Senior Circuit Judge||Laurence Silberman||Washington, D.C.||1935||1985–2000||—||2000–present||Reagan|
|44||Senior Circuit Judge||James L. Buckley||inactive||1923||1985–1996||—||1996–present||Reagan|
|45||Senior Circuit Judge||Stephen F. Williams||Washington, D.C.||1936||1986–2001||—||2001–present||Reagan|
|46||Senior Circuit Judge||Douglas H. Ginsburg||Washington, D.C.||1946||1986–2011||2001–2008||2011–present||Reagan|
|47||Senior Circuit Judge||David B. Sentelle||Washington, D.C.||1943||1987–2013||2008–2013||2013–present||Reagan|
|50||Senior Circuit Judge||A. Raymond Randolph||Washington, D.C.||1943||1990–2008||—||2008–present||G.H.W. Bush|
List of former judgesEdit
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|1||Richard Henry Alvey||MD||1826–1906||1893–1905||1893–1905||—||Cleveland||retirement|
|2||Martin Ferdinand Morris||DC||1834–1909||1893–1905||—||—||Cleveland||retirement|
|3||Seth Shepard||TX||1847–1917||1893–1917||1905–1917||—|| Cleveland (associate);
T. Roosevelt (chief)
|4||Charles Holland Duell||NY||1850–1920||1905–1906||—||—||T. Roosevelt||resignation|
|5||Louis E. McComas||MD||1846–1907||1905–1907||—||—||T. Roosevelt||death|
|6||Charles Henry Robb||VT||1867–1939||1906–1937||—||1937–1939||T. Roosevelt||death|
|7||Josiah Alexander Van Orsdel||WY||1860–1937||1907–1937||—||—||T. Roosevelt||death|
|8||Constantine Joseph Smyth||NE||1859–1924||1917–1924||1917–1924||—||Wilson||death|
|9||George Ewing Martin||OH||1857–1948||1924–1937||1924–1937||1937–1948||Coolidge||death|
|11||Duncan Lawrence Groner||VA||1873–1957||1931–1948||1937–1948||1948–1957|| Hoover (associate);
F. Roosevelt (chief)
|12||Harold Montelle Stephens||UT||1886–1955||1935–1955||1948–1955||—||F. Roosevelt (associate);
|13||Justin Miller||CA||1888–1973||1937–1945||—||—||F. Roosevelt||resignation|
|14||Henry White Edgerton||DC||1888–1970||1937–1963||1955–1958||1963–1970||F. Roosevelt||death|
|15||Fred M. Vinson||KY||1890–1953||1938–1943||—||—||F. Roosevelt||resignation|
|16||Wiley Blount Rutledge||KY||1894–1949||1939–1943||—||—||F. Roosevelt||elevation to Supreme Court|
|17||Thurman Arnold||WY||1891–1969||1943–1945||—||—||F. Roosevelt||resignation|
|18||Bennett Champ Clark||MO||1890–1954||1945–1954||—||—||Truman||death|
|19||E. Barrett Prettyman||DC||1891–1971||1945–1962||1958–1960||1962–1971||Truman||death|
|20||Wilbur Kingsbury Miller||KY||1892–1976||1945–1964||1960–1962||1964–1976||Truman||death|
|21||James McPherson Proctor||DC||1882–1953||1948–1953||—||—||Truman||death|
|22||David L. Bazelon||IL||1909–1993||1949–1979||1962–1978||1979–1993||Truman||death|
|24||George Thomas Washington||OH||1908–1971||1949–1965||—||1965–1971||Truman||death|
|25||John A. Danaher||CT||1899–1990||1953–1969||—||1969–1990||Eisenhower||death|
|26||Walter Maximillian Bastian||DC||1891–1975||1954–1965||—||1965–1975||Eisenhower||death|
|27||Warren E. Burger||MN||1907–1995||1956–1969||—||—||Eisenhower||elevation to Supreme Court|
|28||James Skelly Wright||LA||1911–1988||1962–1986||1978–1981||1986–1988||Kennedy||death|
|29||Carl E. McGowan||IL||1911–1987||1963–1981||1981–1981||1981–1987||Kennedy||death|
|30||Edward Allen Tamm||DC||1906–1985||1965–1985||—||—||L. Johnson||death|
|31||Harold Leventhal||DC||1915–1979||1965–1979||—||—||L. Johnson||death|
|32||Spottswood William Robinson III||VA||1916–1998||1966–1989||1981–1986||1989–1998||L. Johnson||death|
|35||Malcolm Richard Wilkey||TX||1918–2009||1970–1984||—||1984–1985||Nixon||retirement|
|39||Ruth Bader Ginsburg||NY||1933–present||1980–1993||—||—||Carter||elevation to Supreme Court|
|41||Antonin Scalia||IL||1936–2016||1982–1986||—||—||Reagan||elevation to Supreme Court|
|48||Clarence Thomas||GA||1948–present||1990–1991||—||—||G.H.W. Bush||elevation to Supreme Court|
|54||John Roberts||MD||1955–present||2003–2005||—||—||G.W. Bush||elevation to Supreme Court|
|55||Janice Rogers Brown||CA||1949–present||2005–2017||—||—||G.W. Bush||retirement|
|57||Brett Kavanaugh||MD||1965–present||2006–2018||—||—||G.W. Bush||elevation to Supreme Court|
|as Chief Justice|
|as Chief Judge|
When Congress established this court in 1893 as the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, it had a Chief Justice, and the other judges were called Associate Justices, which was similar to the structure of the Supreme Court. The Chief Justiceship was a separate seat: the President would appoint the Chief Justice, and that person would stay Chief Justice until he left the court.
On June 25, 1948, 62 Stat. 869 and 62 Stat. 985 became law. These acts made the Chief Justice a Chief Judge. In 1954, another law, 68 Stat. 1245, clarified what was implicit in those laws: that the Chief Judgeship was not a mere renaming of the position but a change in its status that made it the same as the Chief Judge of other inferior courts.
Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless the circuit justice (i.e., the Supreme Court justice responsible for the circuit) is also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the circuit judges. To be chief, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position.
When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.
Succession of seatsEdit
The court has eleven seats for active judges after the elimination of seat seven under the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007. The seat that was originally the Chief Justiceship is numbered as Seat 1; the other seats are numbered in order of their creation. If seats were established simultaneously, they are numbered in the order in which they were filled. Judges who retire into senior status remain on the bench but leave their seat vacant. That seat is filled by the next circuit judge appointed by the President.
- John Roberts (2006). "What Makes the D.C. Circuit Different? A Historical View" (PDF). Virginia Law Review. 92: 375. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 25, 2012.
- Hearn, Ted (September 4, 2008). "Comcast Sues FCC Over Network Management Finding: Cabler Wants Agency's Decision on Its P2P Policies Reversed". Multichannel News.
- "Judicial Decisions | Law Library of Congress". loc.gov. Library of Congress. 2014-12-31. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
- Prior to 1948, the court consisted of a Chief Justice and up to five Associate Justices. Much like with the Supreme Court of the United States, the Chief Justice would be separately nominated and subject to a separate confirmation process, regardless of whether or not he was elevated from an associate justice position. In 1948, the positions of Chief Justice and Associate Justice were reassigned to Circuit Judge positions and the position of Chief Judge was assigned based on seniority.
- Recess appointment, confirmed by the Senate at a later date.
- "Standard Search". Federal Law Clerk Information System. Archived from the original on 2005-10-21. Retrieved 2005-06-02.
- Source for the duty station for Judge Williams
- "Instructions for Judicial Directory". Website of the University of Texas Law School. Archived from the original on 2005-11-11. Retrieved 2005-07-04.
- Source for the duty station for Judges Silberman and Buckley
- Data is current to 2002
- "U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit". Official website of the Federal Judicial Center. Archived from the original on 2005-04-04. Retrieved 2005-05-26.
- Source for the state, lifetime, term of active judgeship, term of chief judgeship, term of senior judgeship, appointer, termination reason, and seat information
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