Thomas Griffith

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Thomas Griffith
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Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Title:   Judge
Position:   56
Station:   D.C.
Appointed by:   Pres. George W. Bush
Active:   6/29/2005-Present
Preceded by:   Patricia Wald
Personal History
Born:   1954
Hometown:   Yokohama, Japan
Undergraduate:   Brigham Young University, 1978
Law School:   University of Virginia Law, 1985

Thomas Beall Griffith is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He joined the court in 2005 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.


Griffith graduated from Brigham Young University with his bachelor's degree in 1978 and later from University of Virginia Law School with his J.D. in 1985.[1]

Professional career

Judicial career

DC Circuit

On the recommendation of the Congressional delegation for the District of Columbia, Griffith was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President George W. Bush on February 14, 2005, to a seat vacated by Patricia Wald. Wald assumed senior status at that time. Griffith was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 14, 2005, on a Senate vote and received commission on June 29, 2005.[2]

Notable cases

Circuits split over federal subsidies for Obamacare (2014)

On July 22, 2014, two circuits ruled in opposition to the other on the issue of federal subsidies available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Federal Circuit) ruled that the federal subsidies are being given illegally to residents who use the federal marketplace to sign up for health insurance. Meanwhile, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that they are legal.

The Federal Circuit, in a 2 to 1 decision, based its ruling on the fact that the subsidies portion of the Affordable Care Act indicates federal money would be made available to people “enrolled through an Exchange established by the State.”[3] The White House argued, however, that Congress intended for all Americans to receive the subsidies, regardless of whether they purchased their insurance through a state marketplace. The court pointed to the fact that the IRS drafted rules for the issuance of the subsidies in every state, even if the state chose to not set up its own marketplace. Judge Thomas Griffith wrote for the three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit]], stating that the IRS rules are not dispositive. The federal government is unable to “stand in the state’s shoes” in the marketplace.[3] Judge Harry Edwards dissented from the majority opinion, saying it could have “disastrous consequences.”[4]

The Fourth Circuit was more amenable to the White House’s argument. It found instead that the question of whether subsidies were to go to individuals in states that set up no marketplace was not answered in the ACA; thus, the IRS acted accordingly in setting out its rules on the subject. Judge Roger Gregory, writing for the three-judge panel, said that “widely available tax credits are essential to fulfilling the Act’s primary goals and that Congress was aware of their importance when drafting the bill.”[3]

Nine out of 10 people who lived in states that did not set up marketplaces relied upon the federal subsidies to purchase health insurance through Obamacare in 2014. Twenty-seven states chose not to set up their own marketplaces.


See also

External links


This page is part of WikiProject District of Columbia, a WikiProject dedicated to articles related to Washington, D.C. Check out the project page.