Martha Daughtrey

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Martha Daughtrey
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Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Title:   Senior Judge
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   11/22/1993-1/1/2009
Senior:   1/1/2009-Present
Preceded by:   Susan Neilson
Succeeded by:   Jane Stranch
Past post:   Justice, Tennessee Supreme Court
Past term:   1990-1993
Personal History
Born:   1942
Hometown:   Covington, KY
Undergraduate:   Vanderbilt University, 1964
Law School:   Vanderbilt University Law, 1968

Martha Craig Daughtrey is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She joined the court in 1993 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton. She began serving on senior status on January 1, 2009.[1]


Daughtrey graduated from Vanderbilt with her bachelor's degree 1964 and from Vanderbilt Law with her J.D. degree in 1968.[1]

Professional career

Judicial career

On the recommendation of U.S. Senators Harlan Matthews and James Sasser, Daughtrey was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by President Bill Clinton on August 6, 1993, to a new seat created by 104 Stat. 5089. Daughtrey was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 20, 1993, and received commission on November 22, 1993.[2]

Notable cases

Same-sex marriage ban upheld in Sixth Circuit (2014)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (DeBoer, et al v. Snyder, et al, Case 2:12-cv-10285)

Judge Jeffrey Sutton was the opinion writing judge in DeBoer et al v. Snyder, et al, a case upholding the bans on same-sex marriage in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. In the court's opinion upholding the ban, Sutton based the reversal on allowing states the ability to govern themselves through the democratic process without the fear of a select few judges overruling a decision made by the majority. Sutton stated in his conclusion:
Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political process, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.[3][4]

Judge Deborah Cook joined Sutton's opinion.[5]

The dissenting opinion in the 2-1 ruling was written by Martha Daughtrey. She expressed that the three branches of government are equal, and the legislative branch should not be given higher authority over the judicial branch. In her counterargument, Daughtrey stated:

Today, my colleagues seem to have fallen prey to the misguided notion that the intent of the framers of the United States Constitution can be effectuated only by cleaving to the legislative will and ignoring and demonizing an independent judiciary. Of course, the framers presciently recognized that two of the three co-equal branches of government were representative in nature and necessarily would be guided by self-interest and the pull of popular opinion. To restrain those natural, human impulses, the framers crafted Article III to ensure that rights, liberties, and duties need not be held hostage by popular whims.[3][4]
The American Civil Liberties Union expressed its intent to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.[5]

See also

External links


Political offices
Preceded by:
NA - new seat
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by:
Jane Stranch