Catherine Blake

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Catherine Blake
Court Information:
United States District Court for the District of Maryland
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #9
Station:   Baltimore, MD
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   08/14/1995 - Present
Preceded by:   John Hargrove
Past post:   District of Maryland, Magistrate Judge
Past term:   1987 - 1995
Personal History
Born:   1950
Hometown:   Boston, MA
Undergraduate:   Harvard-Radcliffe College, A.B., 1972
Law School:   Harvard Law, J.D., 1975

Catherine C. Blake is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. She joined the court in 1995 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.

Early life and education

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Blake graduated from Radcliffe College with her bachelor's degree in 1972, and from Harvard Law School with her Juris Doctor in 1975.[1]

Professional career

  • 1986-1987: First Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Maryland
  • 1985-1986: Chief U.S. District Attorney, District of Maryland
  • 1983-1985: First Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Maryland
  • 1977-1983: Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Maryland
  • 1975-1977: Attorney in private practice, Massachusetts[1]

Judicial career

District of Maryland

Blake was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland by President Bill Clinton on May 4, 1995, to a seat vacated by John Hargrove. Blake was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 11, 1995, on a Senate vote and received commission on August 14, 1995.[2]

Magistrate, District of Maryland

In 1987, Blake was appointed to an eight-year term as a Federal Magistrate Judge for the District of Maryland.[1]

Notable cases

Maryland assault rifle ban is constitutional (2014)

United States District Court Judge Catherine Blake ruled that the Maryland assault rifle ban is constitutional, as those guns fall outside of Second Amendment protection because they are dangerous and unusual arms. Further, Judge Blake noted that, at heart, the Second Amendment is about protecting one's self and one's home. Judge Blake reasoned that the ban will have little impact as these types of guns are rarely used for Second Amendment purposes and are not widely owned in any event.


Segregation still present in Maryland's higher education (2013)

     United States District Court for the District of Maryland (Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, et al v. Maryland Higher Education Commission, et al, 1:06-cv-02773-CCB)

On October 7, 2013, Judge Blake found that the State of Maryland failed to correct segregation issues in public schools of higher education, thus discouraging non-black students from applying to historically black institutions (HBIs).[3]

In the underlying case, the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education (Coalition), a group composed of students and alumni from Maryland's HBIs, filed suit against the state in 2006. The Coalition's arguments centered around whether state funding and policies put HBIs at a disadvantage in terms of program duplication. Judge Blake found that HBIs "[would] be more empowered to attract a diverse student body" if academic programming were unique, and further found that state officials provided no justification, educational or otherwise, for duplicated college programming:[3]

The State offered no evidence that it has made any serious effort to address continuing historic duplication. Second, and even more troublingly, the State has failed to prevent additional unnecessary duplication, to the detriment of the HBIs.[4]

Judge Blake suggested that the parties attend mediation to come to an agreement on the duplication issue, and delayed entering a final judgment.[3]

Maryland's strict gun law goes into effect (2013)

     United States District Court for the District of Maryland
On October 1, 2013, Judge Blake refused a temporary restraining order which would have prevented Maryland's Firearm Safety Act of 2013 from taking effect. The law, proposed and signed by Governor Martin O'Malley, mandated the taking of fingerprints and required buyers to have a handgun qualification license. This process could take up to thirty days, as the Maryland State Police processed applications. It also limited the number of handgun magazines citizens can buy, and added 45 guns to the banned assault weapons list.[5]

The gun owners and advocacy groups seeking the order took issue with the state's unpreparedness to process new licenses, pointing to a backlog of over 53,000 applications.[6] In the ruling, Judge Blake said:

There's a strong public interest in lessening the risk of tragedies. Potentially the only economic harm could be on behalf of the dealers.[7][4]
Judge Blake took specific issue with opponents waiting until a few days before the law became effective to challenge it. Opponents planned to seek a temporary injunction for the law.[6]

Alan Fabian case (2011)

     United States District Court for the District of Maryland (United States of America v. Alan Brian Fabian, Civil No. CCB-09-2810 Criminal No. CCB-07-0355)

In 2011, Judge Blake ruled that the sentence and charges against Alan Fabian would stand, denying his motion. Two years earlier, Fabian was convicted of mail fraud and filing a fake tax return, crimes to which he confessed. As a result, he was sentenced to nine years in prison and $40 million restitution. Fabian, an entrepreneur and political fundraiser, challenged the legality of the sentence for thirteen reasons. Because of the plea deal agreed to by Fabian and the exhaustive confirmations of that deal in the first trial, Blake found no reason to re-hear the case.[8]

See also

External links


Political offices
Preceded by:
John Hargrove
District of Maryland
Seat #9
Succeeded by:

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