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    * U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit *

    United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

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    (Wikipedia) - United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit   (Redirected from U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit) Not to be confused with United States Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Location Appeals from Established Chief judge Active judges Senior judges Circuit justice
    United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Cir.)
    E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse, Washington, D.C.
    • District of Columbia
    February 9, 1893
    Merrick B. Garland
    John Roberts
    Official site

    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 the 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, established in 1970 to relieve the D.C. Circuit from having to take appeals from the local D.C. trial court.

    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 January 2013, four of the nine justices on the Supreme Court are alumni of the D.C. Circuit:Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Elena Kagan was nominated by Bill Clinton to the same seat that Roberts would later fill, but was never given a vote in the Senate. In addition, the Reagan Administration put forth two failed nominees in 1987 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. Before the 1980s, Chief Justices Fred M. Vinson and Warren Burger, as well as Associate Justice Wiley Blount Rutledge, served on the D.C. Circuit before their elevations to the Supreme Court.

    E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse

    Unlike the Courts of Appeals for the other geographical districts where home-state senators have the privilege of holding up confirmation by the "blue slip" process, because the D.C. Circuit does not represent any state, confirmation of nominees is often procedurally and practically easier. However, in recent years, several nominees 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.

    The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit meets at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse, near Judiciary Square in downtown Washington, D.C.

    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 instead assigned to the Ninth Circuit, with the assignment taking effect on January 21, 2009).

    The D.C. Circuit is the only U.S. Court of Appeals that publishes its cases in its own official reporter. All decisions of the other U.S. Courts of Appeals are published only in the Federal Reporter, an unofficial reporter from Thomson West.


    Current composition of court Active and senior judges # Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by Active Chief Senior
    53 Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland Washington 1952 1997–present 2013–present Clinton
    49 Circuit Judge Karen L. Henderson Washington 1944 1990–present G.H.W. Bush
    51 Circuit Judge Judith Ann Wilson Rogers Washington 1939 1994–present Clinton
    52 Circuit Judge David S. Tatel Washington 1942 1994–present Clinton
    55 Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown Washington 1949 2005–present G.W. Bush
    56 Circuit Judge Thomas B. Griffith Washington 1954 2005–present G.W. Bush
    57 Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh Washington 1965 2006–present G.W. Bush
    58 Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan Washington 1967 2013–present Obama
    59 Circuit Judge Patricia Ann Millett Washington 1963 2013–present Obama
    60 Circuit Judge Nina Pillard Washington 1961 2013–present Obama
    61 Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins Washington 1963 2014–present Obama
    38 Senior Judge Harry T. Edwards Washington 1940 1980–2005 1994–2001 2005–present Carter
    43 Senior Judge Laurence H. Silberman Washington 1935 1985–2000 2000–present Reagan
    44 Senior Judge James L. Buckley inactive 1923 1985–1996 1996–present Reagan
    45 Senior Judge Stephen F. Williams Washington 1936 1986–2001 2001–present Reagan
    46 Senior Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg Washington 1946 1986–2011 2001–2008 2011–present Reagan
    47 Senior Judge David B. Sentelle Washington 1943 1987–2013 2008–2013 2013–present Reagan
    50 Senior Judge A. Raymond Randolph Washington 1943 1990–2008 2008–present G.H.W. Bush
    List of former judges # Judge State Born/Died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for termination
    1 Alvey, Richard HenryRichard Henry Alvey MD 1826–1906 1893–1905 1893–1905 Cleveland retirement
    2 Morris, Martin FerdinandMartin Ferdinand Morris DC 1834–1909 1893–1905 Cleveland retirement
    3 Shepard, SethSeth Shepard TX 1847–1917 1893–1917 1905–1917 Cleveland (associate); T. Roosevelt (chief) retirement
    4 Duell, Charles HollandCharles Holland Duell NY 1850–1920 1905–1906 Cleveland resignation
    5 McComas, Louis EmoryLouis Emory McComas MD 1846–1907 1905–1907 T. Roosevelt death
    6 Robb, Charles HenryCharles Henry Robb VT 1867–1939 1906–1937 1937–1939 T. Roosevelt death
    7 Van Orsdel, Josiah AlexanderJosiah Alexander Van Orsdel WY 1860–1937 1907–1937 T. Roosevelt death
    8 Smyth, Constantine JosephConstantine Joseph Smyth NE 1859–1924 1917–1924 1917–1924 Wilson death
    9 Martin, George EwingGeorge Ewing Martin OH 1857–1948 1924–1937 1924–1937 1937–1948 Coolidge death
    10 Hitz, WilliamWilliam Hitz DC 1872–1935 1931–1935 Hoover death
    11 Groner, Duncan LawrenceDuncan Lawrence Groner VA 1873–1957 1931–1948 1937–1948 1948–1957 Hoover (associate); F. Roosevelt (chief) death
    12 Stephens, Harold MontelleHarold Montelle Stephens UT 1886–1955 1935–1955 1948–1955 F. Roosevelt (associate); Truman (chief) death
    13 Miller, JustinJustin Miller CA 1888–1973 1937–1945 F. Roosevelt resignation
    14 Edgerton, Henry WhiteHenry White Edgerton DC 1888–1970 1937–1963 1955–1958 1963–1970 F. Roosevelt death
    15 Vinson, Fred M.Fred M. Vinson KY 1890–1953 1938–1943 F. Roosevelt resignation
    16 Rutledge, Wiley BlountWiley Blount Rutledge KY 1894–1949 1939–1943 F. Roosevelt elevated to SCOTUS
    17 Arnold, Thurman WesleyThurman Wesley Arnold WY 1891–1969 1943–1945 F. Roosevelt resignation
    18 Clark, Bennett ChampBennett Champ Clark MO 1890–1954 1945–1954 Truman death
    19 Miller, Wilbur KingsburyWilbur Kingsbury Miller KY 1892–1976 1945–1964 1960–1962 1964–1976 Truman death
    20 Prettyman, E. BarrettE. Barrett Prettyman DC 1891–1971 1945–1962 1958–1960 1962–1971 Truman death
    21 Proctor, James McPhersonJames McPherson Proctor DC 1882–1953 1948–1953 Truman death
    22 Bazelon, David L.David L. Bazelon IL 1909–1993 1949–1979 1962–1978 1979–1993 Truman death
    23 Fahy, CharlesCharles Fahy GA 1892–1979 1949–1967 1967–1979 Truman death
    24 Washington, George ThomasGeorge Thomas Washington OH 1908–1971 1949–1965 1965–1971 Truman death
    25 Danaher, John AnthonyJohn Anthony Danaher CT 1899–1990 1953–1969 1969–1990 Eisenhower death
    26 Bastian, Walter MaximillianWalter Maximillian Bastian DC 1891–1975 1954–1965 1965–1975 Eisenhower death
    27 Burger, Warren E.Warren E. Burger MN 1907–1995 1956–1969 Eisenhower elevated to SCOTUS
    28 Wright, James SkellyJames Skelly Wright LA 1911–1988 1962–1986 1978–1981 1986–1988 Kennedy death
    29 McGowan, Carl E.Carl E. McGowan IL 1911–1987 1963–1981 1981–1981 1981–1987 Kennedy death
    30 Tamm, Edward AllenEdward Allen Tamm DC 1906–1985 1965–1985 L. Johnson death
    31 Leventhal, HaroldHarold Leventhal DC 1915–1979 1965–1979 L. Johnson death
    32 Robinson III, Spottswood WilliamSpottswood William Robinson III VA 1916–1998 1966–1989 1981–1986 1989–1998 L. Johnson death
    33 MacKinnon, GeorgeGeorge MacKinnon MN 1906–1995 1969–1983 1983–1995 Nixon death
    34 Robb, RogerRoger Robb DC 1907–1985 1969–1982 1982–1985 Nixon death
    35 Wilkey, Malcolm RichardMalcolm Richard Wilkey TX 1918–2009 1970–1984 1984–1985 Nixon retirement
    36 Wald, PatriciaPatricia Wald DC 1928–present 1979–1999 1986–1991 Carter retirement
    37 Mikva, Abner J.Abner J. Mikva IL 1926–present 1979–1994 1991–1994 Carter resignation
    39 Ginsburg, Ruth BaderRuth Bader Ginsburg NY 1933–present 1980–1993 Carter elevated to SCOTUS
    40 Bork, RobertRobert Bork CT 1927–2012 1982–1988 Reagan resignation
    41 Scalia, AntoninAntonin Scalia NJ 1936–present 1982–1986 Reagan elevated to SCOTUS
    42 Starr, KennethKenneth Starr VA 1946–present 1983–1989 Reagan resignation
    48 Thomas, ClarenceClarence Thomas GA 1948–present 1990–1991 G.H.W. Bush elevated to SCOTUS
    54 Roberts, JohnJohn Roberts MD 1955–present 2003–2005 G.W. Bush elevated to SCOTUS
    Chiefs Chief
    as Chief Justice
    Alvey 1893–1905
    Shepard 1905–1917
    Smyth 1917–1924
    Martin 1924–1937
    Groner 1937–1948
    Stephens 1948–1948
    as Chief Judge
    Stephens 1948–1955
    Edgerton 1955–1958
    Prettyman 1958–1960
    W. Miller 1960–1962
    Bazelon 1962–1978
    Wright 1978–1981
    McGowan 1981–1981
    Robinson 1981–1986
    Wald 1986–1991
    Mikva 1991–1994
    Edwards 1994–2001
    D. Ginsburg 2001–2008
    Sentelle 2008–2013
    Garland 2013–present

    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 chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

    Succession of seats

    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.

    Seat 1
    Established on February 9, 1893 as Chief Justice by 27 Stat. 434
    Alvey 1893–1905
    Shepard 1905–1917
    Smyth 1917–1924
    Martin 1924–1937
    Groner 1937–1948
    Stephens 1948–1948
    Seat redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge persuant to 62 Stat. 869, 62 Stat. 985, and 68 Stat. 1245
    Stephens 1948–1955
    Burger 1956–1969
    Wilkey 1970–1984
    Williams 1986–2001
    Brown 2005–present
    Seat 2
    Established on February 9, 1893 as Associate Justice by 27 Stat. 434
    Morris 1893–1905
    McComas 1905–1907
    Van Orsdel 1907–1937
    J. Miller 1937–1945
    Prettyman 1945–1948
    Redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge by 62 Stat. 869, 985
    Prettyman 1948–1962
    Wright 1962–1986
    D. Ginsburg 1986–2011
    Pillard 2013–present
    Seat 3
    Established on February 9, 1893 as Associate Justice by 27 Stat. 434
    Shepard 1893–1905
    Duell 1905–1906
    C. Robb 1906–1937
    Vinson 1938–1943
    W. Miller 1945–1948
    Redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge by 62 Stat. 869, 985
    W. Miller 1948–1964
    Leventhal 1965–1979
    R. B. Ginsburg 1980–1993
    Tatel 1994–present
    Seat 4
    Established on June 19, 1930 as Associate Justice by 46 Stat. 785
    Hitz 1931–1935
    Stephens 1935–1948
    Redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge by 62 Stat. 869, 985
    Proctor 1948–1953
    Danaher 1953–1969
    R. Robb 1969–1982
    Scalia 1982–1986
    Sentelle 1987–2013
    Wilkins 2014–present
    Seat 5
    Established on June 19, 1930 as Associate Justice by 46 Stat. 785
    Groner 1931–1937
    Edgerton 1937–1948
    Redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge by 62 Stat. 869, 985
    Edgerton 1948–1963
    McGowan 1963–1981
    Bork 1982–1988
    Thomas 1990–1991
    Rogers 1994–present
    Seat 6
    Established on May 31, 1938 as Associate Justice by 52 Stat. 584
    Rutledge 1939–1943
    Arnold 1943-1945
    Clark 1945–1948
    Redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge by 62 Stat. 869, 985
    Clark 1948–1954
    Bastian 1954–1965
    Tamm 1965–1985
    Buckley 1985–1996
    Roberts 2003–2005
    Millett 2013–present
    Seat 7
    Established on August 3, 1949 by 63 Stat. 493
    Bazelon 1949–1979
    Edwards 1980–2005
    Seat Eliminated on January 7, 2008 by Court Security Improvement Act of 2007
    Seat 8
    Established on August 3, 1949 by 63 Stat. 493
    Fahy 1949–1967
    MacKinnon 1969–1983
    Starr 1983–1989
    Henderson 1990–present
    Seat 9
    Established on August 3, 1949 by 63 Stat. 493
    Washington 1949–1965
    Robinson 1966–1989
    Randolph 1990–2008
    Srinivasan 2013–present
    Seat 10
    Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
    Wald 1979–1999
    Griffith 2005–present
    Seat 11
    Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
    Mikva 1979–1994
    Garland 1997–present
    Seat 12
    Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
    Silberman 1985–2000
    Kavanaugh 2006–present

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