Douglas Howard Ginsburg

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Douglas Howard Ginsburg (born May 25,1946) is the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals in October 1986 by Ronald Reagan. He became Chief Judge of the court on July 16, 2001.

Ginsburg attended Cornell University in 1964-1965 and then from 1968 to 1970, when he received his degree. His undergraduate education was interrupted when he started a computer dating service business called Operation Match. He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1973 and became a clerk for US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. From 1975 to 1983 he was a professor at Harvard Law School. From 1983 to 1986 he served in various positions within the Reagan administration. Ginsburg also coined the phrase Constitution in Exile, which refers to provisions limiting congressional authority that have not been strictly enforced since the 1930's

In 1987, Reagan announced his intention to nominate him to the United States Supreme Court to replace Lewis F. Powell, who was retiring. Reagan had first nominated Robert Bork, but he was not confirmed by the Senate. Ginsburg's nomination was also troubled when it became known that he had used marijuana a few times during the 1960s and 1970s. At the time, the War on Drugs and Just Say No anti-drug programs were at a peak, and Ginsburg's admission of past drug use was unacceptable to some, especially since he had used marijuana not only as a student but also as a Harvard Law School professor [1]. Secretary of Education William Bennett phoned him, urging him to withdraw his name. He did so, but remained on the Court of Appeals. Anthony Kennedy was then nominated and approved for the Supreme Court seat.

Fun Facts!

  • Nominated by President Reagan to the Supreme Court after the Senate rejection of Robert Bork in 1987. Ginsberg's nomination was famously withdrawn after he admitted use of marijuana during his days as a student and law professor.



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