Judicial Appointments and Vacancies

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New Sixth Circuit Vacancy Announcements

Important vacancy news was announced out of the Sixth Circuit today.  Judge R. Guy Cole and Judge Helene White both announced their intent to take senior status. That makes three Sixth Circuit judges so far (including Judge Bernice Donald) who have announced their intent to take senior status during the current presidential administration. Both Judge … Continue Reading

President Biden Nominates Andre B. Mathis to the Sixth Circuit

Yesterday, President Biden nominated Memphis, Tennessee litigator Andre B. Mathis to the Sixth Circuit, filling the seat of Judge Bernice B. Donald, who announced in May that she will assume senior status upon the confirmation of her replacement. Mathis is currently a partner in the Memphis, Tennessee office of the law firm Butler Snow LLP, … Continue Reading

The Learned Sixth: “Run, Fun & Gun”

And now for something completely different. If you’re traveling for the New Year’s holiday (or perhaps resting or exercising after the last one?), consider a Learned Sixth podcast for the road: SCOTUS 101’s  interview with Sixth Circuit Judge Amul Thapar. The episode, appropriately titled Guns and Gifts, covers both the recent Supreme Court Second Amendment/mootness … Continue Reading

Reviewing Judge Amul Thapar and Other Sixth Circuit Judges on Supreme Court Shortlist

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals features as many as three “short-listers” to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the US Supreme Court: Judges Raymond Kethledge and Joan Larsen of Michigan, and Judge Amul Thapar of Kentucky. All three reportedly interviewed with President Trump last week, and all three are young and prominent enough … Continue Reading

Who is Justice Joan Larsen?

In May 2017, Justice Joan Larsen was nominated to the Sixth Circuit seat being vacated by Judge David McKeague. Both of Michigan’s democratic senators returned blue slips supporting her appointment in August. The Senate Judiciary Committee favorably reported Justice Larsen’s nomination to the full Senate earlier this month, and yesterday Senator Mitch McConnell filed in … Continue Reading

Judge Boggs Takes Senior Status

Judge Danny J. Boggs recently took senior status, creating a second vacancy on the Sixth Circuit. Judge Boggs has served the Court for over 30 years, including as Chief Judge, and he was appointed by President Reagan. Recent press reports highlight Judge Boggs’ career and accomplishments. But perhaps Judge Boggs is most famous for the … Continue Reading


While many people are evaluating the election’s impact on the Supreme Court, closer to home, President-Elect Trump will have a seat to fill at the Sixth Circuit. As we reported, President Obama nominated Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth T. Hughes for the Sixth Circuit vacancy created by Judge Martin’s retirement. The Sixth Circuit seats are … Continue Reading

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Hughes Nominated For Sixth Circuit Seat

Earlier this year, President Obama announced the nomination of Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth T. Hughes for the Sixth Circuit vacancy created by Judge Martin’s retirement.  Justice Hughes served as a judge in various Kentucky courts for nearly a decade before her appointment to the Supreme Court of Kentucky in 2007.  If confirmed, she will … Continue Reading

Interesting Profile on Judge Donald

Here is a link to an interesting profile of Judge Bernice B. Donald in the Bowling Green Daily News.  Judge Donald is the Sixth Circuit’s newest judge, although she was confirmed nearly three years ago.  There is presently one vacancy on the court, resulting from Judge Martin’s recent retirement.  Presumably, that appointment will go to … Continue Reading

24 Hours After A Michigan Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage, The Sixth Circuit Stays The Decision (At Least For Now)

As we reported this past week, Judith Ellen Levy was sworn in on Tuesday as the first openly gay federal judge in the Sixth Circuit.  Levy was nominated by President Obama back on July 25, 2013 to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan … Continue Reading

Kentucky Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Heads To The Sixth Circuit Unenforced As The First Openly Gay Judge In The Sixth Circuit Takes Her Oath

It’s the first day of Spring at the Sixth Circuit, and the new season promises new skirmishes in the ongoing legal battles over same-sex marriages. Last month, we reported on the plaintiffs’ request in Obergefell, et al. v. Wymyslo, et al. (6th Cir. Case No. 14-3057), seeking expedited briefing and argument in their high-profile case … Continue Reading

Potential New Sixth Circuit Judge?

In the wake of Judge Martin’s retirement last year, the Sixth Circuit has had an open vacancy for Kentucky, which is presently the only vacancy on the Court.  The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson is being vetted by the FBI for a potential seat on the Sixth Circuit.  Justice … Continue Reading

More on Judge Martin’s Retirement

The Louisville Courier-Journal contained an interesting article describing Judge Martin’s career in the wake of his announced retirement.  Notably, the article mentions the recent blog post that I did on Judge Martin’s retirement.  The article is an interesting read for background on Judge Martin’s career, but it also shed some possible light on the process … Continue Reading

Update on Judge Donald’s Confirmation Process

After our post yesterday regarding the Sixth Circuit confirmation process, a reader alerted me to an article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal that indicates that Judge Donald will receive a confirmation vote by the Senate on September 6.  Judge Donald was unanimously reported out favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee in early May and has … Continue Reading

Confirmation of Sixth Circuit Judges Receives Scrutiny

We have previously reported on the confirmation status of Judge Bernice Donald, who President Obama nominated for the seat vacated by Senior Circuit Judge Gilman.  Professor Carl Tobias has written an interesting article about the confirmation process as it relates to circuit judges in the current Senate.  In this article, he focuses specifically on the … Continue Reading

Judge Bouie Donald’s Confirmation for Sixth Circuit Judge Held Over

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held an executive business meeting to consider pending nominations and legislation.  The confirmation of Bernice Bouie Donald for United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit was held over. Bouie Donald has been nominated to fill the seat left vacant by Judge Ronald Lee Gilman, who recently took senior status.  Judge … Continue Reading

Confirmation Hearing Held for Sixth Circuit Judicial Candidate Bernice Bouie Donald

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee considered the nomination of Judge Bernice Bouie Donald to fill the vacancy created on the Sixth Circuit when Judge Ronald Lee Gilman took senior status.  Judge Donald currently sits as a district court judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, to which she was appointed in 1995 … Continue Reading

Senate Judiciary Committee Scheduled on Wednesday to Consider Nomination of Judge Bernice Bouie Donald to Replace Retiring Judge Gilman

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Judge Bernice Bouie Donald to replace retiring Judge Ronald Lee Gilman on the Sixth Circuit. President Obama originally nominated Judge Donald on December 1, 2010, but the Senate Judiciary Committee was unable to conduct a hearing on Judge … Continue Reading

Judge Bernice Bouie Donald Nominated for Sixth Circuit

On December 1, 2010, President Obama nominated Judge Bernice Bouie Donald to replace retiring Judge Ronald Lee Gilman on the Sixth Circuit.  Judge Donald currently sits as a district court judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, to which she was appointed in 1995 by President Clinton. In announcing the … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit’s Newest Judge Confirmed

After a record-breaking wait of more than one year, Jane Branstetter Stranch has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the Sixth Circuit vacancy left when Judge Daughtrey assumed senior status.   The Senate voted 71 to 21 in favor of  Stranch, who has waited longer than any other Obama nominee for confirmation from the Senate, the … Continue Reading

Senior Judge James L. Ryan to Retire in September

Senior Judge James L. Ryan, known for his numerous dissents, announced that he is retiring from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2010. Ryan has been on the Sixth Circuit since 1985 when he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan.  Before that, Ryan spent ten years as an associate justice on the Michigan Supreme Court, … Continue Reading