United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, known informally as the "D.C. Circuit," is the federal appellate court for the U.S. district court in Washington, DC. 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 District of Columbia Court of Appeals, which is roughly equivalent to a state supreme court in the District of Columbia.
While it has the smallest geographic jurisdiction of any of the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the D.C. Circuit, with twelve active seats, is nonetheless one of the most important intermediate appellate courts. The court is given the responsibility of directly reviewing the decisions and rulemaking of many federal agencies, 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 Procedures 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.
A judgeship on the D.C. Circuit is often thought of as a stepping stone for appointment to the Supreme Court. Circuit Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., who has served on the court since 2003, is President George W. Bush's nominee to replace outgoing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. If confirmed, Roberts will be the fourth alumnus of the D.C. Circuit sitting on the current Supreme Court, joining Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. In addition, the Reagan administration put forth two failed nominees from the D.C. Circuit: former Judge Robert Bork, rejected by the Senate in 1987, and current Chief Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg who withdrew after it became known that he had used marijuana.
Current composition of the court
As of 2005, the judges on the court are:
|Title||Name||Duty Station||Born||Term of Active Service||Term of Service as Chief||Term of Senior Service||Appointed by|
|Chief Judge||Douglas Howard Ginsburg||Washington, DC||1946||1986 – present||2001 – present||—||Reagan|
|Circuit Judge||Harry Thomas Edwards||Washington, DC||1940||1980 – 2001||1994 – present||—||Carter|
|Circuit Judge||David Bryan Sentelle||Washington, DC||1943||1987 – present||—||—||Reagan|
|Circuit Judge||Karen LeCraft Henderson||Washington, DC||1944||1990 – present||—||—||G.H.W. Bush|
|Circuit Judge||Arthur Raymond Randolph||Washington, DC||1943||1990 – present||—||—||G.H.W. Bush|
|Circuit Judge||Judith Ann Wilson Rogers||Washington, DC||1939||1994 – present||—||—||Clinton|
|Circuit Judge||David S. Tatel||Washington, DC||1942||1994 – present||—||—||Clinton|
|Circuit Judge||Merrick B. Garland||Washington, DC||1952||1997 – present||—||—||Clinton|
|Circuit Judge||John G. Roberts, Jr.||Washington, DC||1955||2003 – present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|Circuit Judge||(vacant - seat 1)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)|
|Circuit Judge||(vacant - seat 10)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)|
|Circuit Judge||(vacant - seat 12)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)||(n/a)|
|Senior Circuit Judge||Laurence Hirsch Silberman||Washington, DC||1935||1985 – 2000||(none)||2000 – present||Reagan|
|Senior Circuit Judge||James Lane Buckley||(inactive)||1923||1985 – 1996||(none)||1996 – present||Reagan|
|Senior Circuit Judge||Stephen Fain Williams||Washington, DC||1936||1986 – 2001||(none)||2001 – present||Reagan|
- On July 25, 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Janice Rogers Brown to Seat 1, vacated by Stephen F. Williams. The Senate confirmed Justice Brown on June 8, 2005, by a 56-43 vote. She received her commission on June 10,2005. She has not yet been sworn in.
- On May 10, 2004, President George W. Bush nominated Thomas B. Griffith to Seat 10 vacated by Patricia M. Wald. The Senate confirmed Mr. Griffith on June 14, 2005, by a 73-24 vote. He received his commission on June 29,2005. He has not yet been sworn in.
- On July 25, 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Brett M. Kavanaugh to Seat 12 vacated by Laurence H. Silberman.