United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Last updated
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
(D.C. Cir.)
Seal of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.png
DC locator map with state names w usmap.png
Location E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse
Appeals from
EstablishedFebruary 9, 1893
Judges11
Circuit Justice John Roberts
Chief Judge Merrick Garland
www.cadc.uscourts.gov

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.

Case citation a system for uniquely identifying individual rulings of a court

Case citation is a system used by legal professionals to identify past court case decisions, either in series of books called reporters or law reports, or in a neutral style that identifies a decision regardless of where it is reported. Case citations are formatted differently in different jurisdictions, but generally contain the same key information.

An appellate court, commonly called an appeals court, court of appeals, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In most jurisdictions, the court system is divided into at least three levels: the trial court, which initially hears cases and reviews evidence and testimony to determine the facts of the case; at least one intermediate appellate court; and a supreme court which primarily reviews the decisions of the intermediate courts. A jurisdiction's supreme court is that jurisdiction's highest appellate court. Appellate courts nationwide can operate under varying rules.

Appeal process for reviewing and changing court decisions

In law, an appeal is the process in which cases are reviewed, where parties request a formal change to an official decision. Appeals function both as a process for error correction as well as a process of clarifying and interpreting law. Although appellate courts have existed for thousands of years, common law countries did not incorporate an affirmative right to appeal into their jurisprudence until the 19th century.

Contents

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. [1]

Territorial jurisdiction (United States)

Territorial jurisdiction in United States law refers to a court's power over events and persons within the bounds of a particular geographic territory. If a court does not have territorial jurisdiction over the events or persons within it, then the court cannot bind the defendant to an obligation or adjudicate any rights involving them. Territorial jurisdiction is to be distinguished from subject-matter jurisdiction, which is the power of a court to render a judgment concerning a certain subject matter, or personal jurisdiction, which is the power of a court to render a judgment concerning particular persons, wherever they may be. Personal jurisdiction, territorial jurisdiction, subject-matter jurisdiction, and proper notice to the defendant are prerequisites for a valid judgment.

Administrative law is the body of law that governs the activities of administrative agencies of government. Government agency action can include rule making, adjudication, or the enforcement of a specific regulatory agenda. Administrative law is considered a branch of public law. As a body of law, administrative law deals with the decision-making of the administrative units of government that are part of a national regulatory scheme in such areas as police law, international trade, manufacturing, the environment, taxation, broadcasting, immigration and transport. Administrative law expanded greatly during the twentieth century, as legislative bodies worldwide created more government agencies to regulate the social, economic and political spheres of human interaction.

Independent agencies of the United States federal government are agencies that exist outside the federal executive departments and the Executive Office of the President. In a more narrow sense, the term may also be used to describe agencies that, while constitutionally part of the executive branch, are independent of presidential control, usually because the president's power to dismiss the agency head or a member is limited.

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, 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.

Chief Justice of the United States senior justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

The Chief Justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, and as such the highest-ranking judge of the federal judiciary. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution grants plenary power to the President of the United States to nominate, and with the advice and consent of the United States Senate, appoint a chief justice, who serves until they resign, are impeached and convicted, retire, or die.

Clarence Thomas Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Clarence Thomas is an American judge, lawyer, and government official who currently serves as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He is currently the most senior associate justice on the Court following the retirement of Anthony Kennedy. Thomas succeeded Thurgood Marshall and is the second African American to serve on the Court. Among the current members of the Court he is the longest-serving justice, with a tenure of 10,071 days as of May 20, 2019.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an American lawyer and jurist who is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice of four to be confirmed to the court. Following O'Connor's retirement, and until Sotomayor joined the court, Ginsburg was the only female justice on the Supreme Court. During that time, Ginsburg became more forceful with her dissents, which were noted by legal observers and in popular culture. She is generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the court. Ginsburg has authored notable majority opinions, including United States v. Virginia, Olmstead v. L.C., and Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.

E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse Meade and Prettyman Courthouse.jpg
E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse

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. [2]

Federal Communications Commission independent agency of the United States government

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency of the United States government created by statute to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The FCC serves the public in the areas of broadband access, fair competition, radio frequency use, media responsibility, public safety, and homeland security.

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

E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse

The E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse is a historic building in Washington, D.C. It was built in 1949–50 and currently houses the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first President of the United States and a Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

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).

An effective date or as of date is the date upon which something is considered to take effect, which may be a past, present or future date. This may be different from the date upon which the event occurs or is recorded.

Decisions of the U.S. Courts of Appeals are published in the Federal Reporter , an unofficial reporter from Thomson Reuters. [3]

Current composition of the court

As of March 18,2019:

#TitleJudgeDuty stationBornTerm of serviceAppointed by
Active Chief Senior
53Chief Judge Merrick Garland Washington, D.C. 19521997–present2013–present Clinton
49Circuit Judge Karen L. Henderson Washington, D.C. 19441990–present G.H.W. Bush
51Circuit Judge Judith W. Rogers Washington, D.C. 19391994–present Clinton
52Circuit Judge David S. Tatel Washington, D.C. 19421994–present Clinton
56Circuit Judge Thomas B. Griffith Washington, D.C. 19542005–present G.W. Bush
58Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan Washington, D.C. 19672013–present Obama
59Circuit Judge Patricia Millett Washington, D.C. 19632013–present Obama
60Circuit Judge Cornelia Pillard Washington, D.C. 19612013–present Obama
61Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins Washington, D.C. 19632014–present Obama
62Circuit Judge Gregory G. Katsas Washington, D.C. 19642017–present Trump
63Circuit Judge Neomi Rao Washington, D.C. 19732019–present Trump
38Senior Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards Washington, D.C. 19401980–20051994–20012005–present Carter
43Senior Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman Washington, D.C. 19351985–20002000–present Reagan
44Senior Circuit Judge James L. Buckley inactive19231985–19961996–present Reagan
45Senior Circuit Judge Stephen F. Williams Washington, D.C. 19361986–20012001–present Reagan
46Senior Circuit Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg Washington, D.C. 19461986–20112001–20082011–present Reagan
47Senior Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle Washington, D.C. 19431987–20132008–20132013–present Reagan
50Senior Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph Washington, D.C. 19431990–20082008–present G.H.W. Bush

List of former judges

#JudgeStateBorn–diedActive service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed byReason for
termination
1 Richard Henry Alvey MD 1826–19061893–19051893–1905 Cleveland retirement
2 Martin Ferdinand Morris DC 1834–19091893–1905 Cleveland retirement
3 Seth Shepard TX 1847–19171893–19171905–1917 Cleveland (associate);
T. Roosevelt (chief) [4]
retirement
4 Charles Holland Duell NY 1850–19201905–1906 T. Roosevelt resignation
5 Louis E. McComas MD 1846–19071905–1907 T. Roosevelt death
6 Charles Henry Robb VT 1867–19391906 [5] –19371937–1939 T. Roosevelt death
7 Josiah Alexander Van Orsdel WY 1860–19371907 [5] –1937 T. Roosevelt death
8 Constantine Joseph Smyth NE 1859–19241917–19241917–1924 Wilson death
9 George Ewing Martin OH 1857–19481924–19371924–19371937–1948 Coolidge death
10 William Hitz DC 1872–19351931–1935 Hoover death
11 Duncan Lawrence Groner VA 1873–19571931–19481937–19481948–1957 Hoover (associate);
F. Roosevelt (chief) [4]
death
12 Harold Montelle Stephens UT 1886–19551935–19551948–1955 F. Roosevelt (associate);
Truman (chief) [4]
death
13 Justin Miller CA 1888–19731937–1945 F. Roosevelt resignation
14 Henry White Edgerton DC 1888–19701937–19631955–19581963–1970 F. Roosevelt death
15 Fred M. Vinson KY 1890–19531938–1943 F. Roosevelt resignation
16 Wiley Blount Rutledge KY 1894–19491939–1943 F. Roosevelt elevation to Supreme Court
17 Thurman Arnold WY 1891–19691943–1945 F. Roosevelt resignation
18 Bennett Champ Clark MO 1890–19541945–1954 Truman death
19 E. Barrett Prettyman DC 1891–19711945–19621958–19601962–1971 Truman death
20 Wilbur Kingsbury Miller KY 1892–19761945–19641960–19621964–1976 Truman death
21 James McPherson Proctor DC 1882–19531948–1953 Truman death
22 David L. Bazelon IL 1909–19931949 [5] –19791962–19781979–1993 Truman death
23 Charles Fahy GA 1892–19791949 [5] –19671967–1979 Truman death
24 George Thomas Washington OH 1908–19711949 [5] –19651965–1971 Truman death
25 John A. Danaher CT 1899–19901953 [5] –19691969–1990 Eisenhower death
26 Walter Maximillian Bastian DC 1891–19751954 [5] –19651965–1975 Eisenhower death
27 Warren E. Burger MN 1907–19951956–1969 Eisenhower elevation to Supreme Court
28 James Skelly Wright LA 1911–19881962–19861978–19811986–1988 Kennedy death
29 Carl E. McGowan IL 1911–19871963–19811981–19811981–1987 Kennedy death
30 Edward Allen Tamm DC 1906–19851965–1985 L. Johnson death
31 Harold Leventhal DC 1915–19791965–1979 L. Johnson death
32 Spottswood William Robinson III VA 1916–19981966–19891981–19861989–1998 L. Johnson death
33 George MacKinnon MN 1906–19951969–19831983–1995 Nixon death
34 Roger Robb DC 1907–19851969–19821982–1985 Nixon death
35 Malcolm Richard Wilkey TX 1918–20091970–19841984–1985 Nixon retirement
36 Patricia Wald DC 1928–20191979–19991986–1991 Carter retirement
37 Abner Mikva IL 1926–20161979–19941991–1994 Carter resignation
39 Ruth Bader Ginsburg NY 1933–present1980–1993 Carter elevation to Supreme Court
40 Robert Bork CT 1927–20121982–1988 Reagan resignation
41 Antonin Scalia IL 1936–20161982–1986 Reagan elevation to Supreme Court
42 Kenneth Starr VA 1946–present1983–1989 Reagan resignation
48 Clarence Thomas GA 1948–present1990–1991 G.H.W. Bush elevation to Supreme Court
54 John Roberts MD 1955–present2003–2005 G.W. Bush elevation to Supreme Court
55 Janice Rogers Brown CA 1949–present2005–2017 G.W. Bush retirement
57 Brett Kavanaugh MD 1965–present2006–2018 G.W. Bush elevation to Supreme Court

Chiefs

Chief
as Chief Justice
Alvey 1893–1905
Shepard 1905–1917
Smyth 1917–1924
Martin 1924–1937
Groner 1937–1948
Stephens 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 or remain 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.

See also

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Hearn, Ted (September 4, 2008). "Comcast Sues FCC Over Network Management Finding: Cabler Wants Agency's Decision on Its P2P Policies Reversed". Multichannel News.
  3. "Judicial Decisions | Law Library of Congress". loc.gov. Library of Congress. 2014-12-31. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  4. 1 2 3 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.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Recess appointment, confirmed by the Senate at a later date.

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References