United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- 1 Vacancy warning level
- 2 Active judges
- 3 Jurisdiction
- 4 Caseloads
- 5 Notable cases
- 6 History
- 7 Former judges
- 8 Federal courthouse
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 11 References
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, sometimes referred to as the Sixth Circuit, is one of thirteen federal appellate courts. The court was established by the Evarts Act of 1891. The Sixth Circuit is located in the Potter Stewart United States Courthouse in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Vacancy warning level
There are no pending nominations for the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Article III judges
|Judge Helene White||W. Bush||8/8/2008-Present||Susan Neilson||Barnard College||University of Pennsylvania Law, 1978|
|Judge Raymond Kethledge||W. Bush||7/7/2008-Present||James Ryan||University of Michigan, 1989||University of Michigan Law, 1993|
|Judge Bernice Donald||Obama||10/20/2011-Present||Ronald Gilman||Memphis State University, 1974||Memphis State University, 1979|
|Chief Judge Alice Batchelder||12/2/1991-Present||2009-Present||Pierce Lively||Ohio Wesleyan University, 1964||Akron University Law, 1971|
|Judge Eric Clay||Clinton||8/1/1997-Present||Ralph Guy, Jr||University of North Carolina, 1969||Yale Law, 1972|
|Judge David McKeague||W. Bush||6/10/2005-Present||Richard Suhrheinrich||University of Michigan, 1968||University of Michigan Law, 1971|
|Judge Deborah Cook||W. Bush||5/7/2003-Present||Alan Norris||University of Akron, 1974||University of Akron Law, 1978|
|Judge Julia Gibbons||W. Bush||7/31/2002-Present||Gilbert Merritt||Vanderbilt University, 1972||University of Virginia School of Law, 1975|
|Judge John M. Rogers (Sixth Circuit)||W. Bush||11/26/2002-Present||Eugene Siler||Stanford University, 1970||University of Michigan Law, 1974|
|Judge Jeffrey Sutton||5/5/2003-Present||David Nelson||Williams College, 1983||Ohio State University Law, 1990|
|Judge Danny Boggs||Reagan||3/25/1986-Present||2003-2009||Harvard, 1965||University of Chicago Law, 1968|
|Judge Richard Griffin||W. Bush||6/10/2005-Present||Damon Keith||Western Michigan University, 1973||University of Michigan Law, 1977|
|Judge Karen Moore||3/24/1995-Present||Robert Krupansky||Radcliffe College, 1970||Harvard Law, 1973|
|Judge Guy Cole||Clinton||12/26/1995 - Present||Nathaniel Jones||Tufts University, 1972||Yale Law School, 1975|
|Judge Jane Stranch||Obama||9/13/2010-Present||Martha Daughtrey||Vanderbuilt University, 1975||Vanderbuilt University Law, 1978|
Active Article III judges by appointing political party
This graph displays the percent of active judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.
|Senior Judge Damon Keith||Carter||10/21/1977-5/1/1995||5/1/1995-Present||West Virginia State College, 1943||Howard University School of Law, 1949|
|Senior Judge Gilbert Merritt||Carter||10/31/1977-1/17/2001||1989-1996||1/17/2001-Present||Yale University, 1957||Vanderbilt University Law School, 1960|
|Senior Judge Ralph Guy||Reagan||10/17/1985-9/1/1994||9/1/1994-Present||University of Michigan, 1951||University of Michigan Law, 1953|
|Senior Judge James L. Ryan||Reagan||10/17/1985-1/1/2000||1/1/2000-Present||University of Detroit, 1992||University of Detroit Law, 1956|
|Senior Judge Alan Norris||Reagan||7/1/1986-7/1/2001||7/1/2001-Present||Otterbein College, 1957||New York University Law, 1960|
|Senior Judge Richard Suhrheinrich||H.W. Bush||7/10/1990-8/15/2001||8/15/2001-Present||Wayne State University, 1960||Detroit College of Law, 1963|
|Senior Judge Martha Daughtrey||Clinton||11/22/1993-1/1/2009||1/1/2009-Present||Vanderbilt University, 1964||Vanderbilt University Law, 1968|
|Senior Judge Ronald Gilman||Clinton||11/7/1997-11/21/2010||11/21/2010-Present||Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1964||Harvard Law, 1967|
|Senior Judge Harry Wellford||Reagan||8/20/1982-1/15/1991||1/15/1991-Present||Washington and Lee University, 1947||Vanderbilt University Law, 1950|
|Senior Judge Eugene Siler||H.W. Bush||9/16/1991-12/31/2001||12/31/2001-Present||Vanderbilt University, 1958||University of Virginia School of Law, 1963|
Senior judges by appointing political party
This graph displays the percent of senior judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.
The Sixth Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over cases heard in one of its subsidiary districts. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law. Appeals of rulings by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals are petitioned to the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Elena Kagan is the Circuit Justice for the Sixth Circuit.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over the United States district courts in the following federal judicial districts:
|Federal Court Caseload Statistics*|
|Year||Starting case load:||Cases filed:||Total cases:||Cases terminated:||Remaining cases||Terminations on merits:||Terminations on Procedure||Cross Appeals:||Total Terminations:||Written decisions per Judge**|
|*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website (for District Courts) and reflect the calendar year through September. **This statistic reflects only judges that are active for the entire 12 month period.|
For a search-able list of decisions from the Sixth Circuit, please see:
Sixth Circuit Searchable Opinions
|• Woman terminated for considering divorcing her husband cannot sue religious organization for discrimination (2015)||Click for summary→|
|Alyce Conlon worked for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA in 2011 when she and her husband began experiencing marital difficulties. She informed her superiors and was put on paid leave. The organization’s policies state that it reserves the right to consider an employee’s separation or divorce when making decisions about his or her continued employment with the company. When Conlon’s husband filed for divorce, InterVarsity fired her. She sued, claiming male employees who had gone through divorces were allowed to keep their jobs. The three-judge panel (Alice Batchelder, John M. Rogers and Sandra Beckwith (sitting by designation)) of the 6th Circuit found that “[t]he government cannot dictate to a religious organization who its spiritual leaders” are.
Judge Batchelder, writing for the panel, relied upon the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in ‘’Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’’, which stands for the proposition that federal discrimination laws do not apply to religious leaders at religious organizations, and used Conlon’s work title (“spiritual director”) as the basis for their determination that Conlon was a religious leader at InterVarsity.
|• Expulsion of unprofessional med student upheld by Sixth Circuit (2015)||Click for summary→|
|Amir Al-Dabagh was known at Case Western Reserve Medical School as academically excellent but personally unprofessional. His reputation included “butt-grabbing” of female students, asking professors to lie on his behalf and dodging paying taxi fare by jumping out of a moving cab. His intern experience, too, was filled with tension. The female office staff complained about his attitude towards them, and a family once asked him to be removed from the exam room. The school demanded that Al-Dabagh take classes on professionalism, gender and to repeat his internship prior to graduation.
It was not until the university learned of Al-Dabagh’s conviction for DUI in North Carolina that it decided it would not grant Al-Dabagh a degree, despite his academic achievements. He was expelled from the school, though the university had offered to allow him to withdraw on his own so he could apply to another medical school, an offer which Al-Dabagh refused. He filed suit, claiming that the university refusing to grant him a degree was tantamount to bad faith. Though Al-Dabagh won at the district court level, the university appealed to the 6th Circuit and won.
Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote for the three-judge panel (Jeffrey Sutton, Alice Batchelder and Deborah Cook). He particularly highlighted the fact that professionalism has been important to the medical field for centuries. Further, among the core competencies each degree candidate must meet at Case Western is professionalism, which ranks at number one on the list. Interestingly, medical knowledge is number five.
Ultimately, Judge Sutton wrote that the university’s Committee on Students made an academic judgment when it refused to grant Al-Dabagh a degree and such determinations are given deference unless they are outside “academic norms.”Cite error: Invalid
|• Sixth Circuit affirms injunction against early voting law in Ohio (2014)||Click for summary→|
|In Ohio, for one “Golden” week, residents could register and vote on the same day. This Golden Week was the first week of the five-week early voting period in the state. The Ohio Legislature, however, passed a law banning this week. This law was met with protest, particularly from minority groups who are more likely to vote during early voting periods when special voting programs are directed towards them. One such program is “Souls to the Polls,” which takes place on Sundays and works with African American churches. Further, early voting often utilizes special voting times, such as evening hours and on weekends, making it easier for lower-income people and minorities to make it to the polls.
The three-judge panel, consisting of judges Karen Moore, Eric Clay and Damon Keith, found that the state did not prove that the Golden Week increased the likelihood of voter fraud or that the costs associated with early voting in general were too burdensome. Judge Moore wrote for the panel and stated that there was “extensive evidence in the record of the burdens African American, lower-income, and homeless voters will face in voting” without access to early voting.
|• Sixth Circuit says judges have immunity (2014)||Click for summary→|
|Judge D. Dean Evans was sued by an attorney, Robert Bright, after the two disagreed about whether the judge should accept a plea deal. Judge Evans had refused to accept the plea. Bright then filed a motion asking the court to accept the plea deal of his client, who initially refused the deal but almost immediately changed his mind. Bright accused the judge of abusing his discretion in the matter. In return, Judge Evans filed a complaint with the Ohio Supreme Court, removed Bright from the case upon which they disagreed and also removed Bright from every other felony case to be heard in his courtroom. In total, Judge Evans removed Bright from 70 cases. Defense Corp., the employer of Bright, fired him a month later because he could no longer represent clients before the judge, who is the only one hearing criminal cases in the county. Bright sued not only Judge Evans for costing him his job, but the county in which Judge Evans sits on the bench and his former employer, Defense Corp.
The first judge to hear the case, Judge James Graham of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, refused to dismiss it, claiming that Judge Evans acted “outside his jurisdiction” and was thus not entitled to judicial immunity. Judge Graham dismissed the claims against the county and Defense Corp., however.
The case was taken to the Sixth Circuit, and a three-judge panel consisting of Helene White, Karen Moore and Bernice Donald, reversed Judge Graham's ruling. Judge Moore wrote for the panel that, while Judge Evans acted “petty, unethical, and unworthy of his office,” judicial immunity still applied. They also found that because Judge Evans’ court had subject matter jurisdiction over criminal proceedings in the county, he was not acting outside of his jurisdiction. Further, the panel indicated that it wished to protect judicial immunity for the sake of the entire judicial community. The panel affirmed the dismissal of Bright’s claims against the county and Defense, Corp.
The Sixth Circuit was established by the United States Congress in 1891 with the Evarts Act of 1891, which established the first nine appeals circuits. Over the years, fourteen additional seats were added to the court resulting in a total of sixteen seats.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Sixth Circuit:
|March 3, 1891||26 Stat. 826||2|
|January 25, 1899||30 Stat. 803||3|
|May 8, 1928||45 Stat. 492||4|
|May 31, 1938||52 Stat. 584||5|
|May 24, 1940||54 Stat. 219||6|
|March 18, 1966||80 Stat. 75||8|
|June 18, 1968||82 Stat. 184||9|
|October 20, 1978||92 Stat. 1629||11|
|July 10, 1984||98 Stat. 333||15|
|December 1, 1990||104 Stat. 5089||16|
Former chief judges
In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy in the office of chief judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.
For more information on the judges of the Sixth Circuit, see former federal judges of the Sixth Circuit.
The Court shares the Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse in Cincinnati with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and the U.S. Marshall Service. The building is located in the business district of Cincinnati and has more than 440,000 square feet of usable space. Originally completed in 1938, the courts main features include a marble detailed two story lobby and courtrooms with original wood paneling.
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- Recent opinions from FindLaw
- Judges of the Sixth Circuit
- Sixth Circuit blog
- Circuit Six blog
- ‘Courthouse News, “Woman Fired for Broken Marriage Cannot Sue,” February 9, 2015
- [ http://www.courthousenews.com/2015/01/29/medical-school-expulsion-justified-6th-circ-finds.htm Courthouse News, "Medical School Expulsion Justified, 6th Circ. Finds," January 29, 2015]
- Federal Judicial Center, "History of the Sixth Circuit"
- United States Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions"
- United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
- United States General Services Administration, "Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse"
Chief Judge: Alice Batchelder • Helene White • Raymond Kethledge • Bernice Donald • Eric Clay • David McKeague • Deborah Cook • Julia Gibbons • John M. Rogers (Sixth Circuit) • Jeffrey Sutton • Danny Boggs • Richard Griffin • Karen Moore • Guy Cole • Jane Stranch
|Former judges||Cornelia Kennedy • Boyce Martin • Julian William Mack • Robert Krupansky • Leroy Contie • Herbert Milburn • Albert Engel • Pierce Lively • Halmer Hull Emmons • John Baxter • William E. Miller • Howell Edmunds Jackson • William Howard Taft • Horace Harmon Lurton • Henry Franklin Severens • William Rufus Day • Loyal Edwin Knappen • John Kelvey Richards • Arthur Carter Denison • John Wesley Warrington • Maurice Donahue • John Weld Peck • Smith Hickenlooper • Xenophon Hicks • Charles Casper Simons • Charles Harwood Moorman • Florence Ellinwood Allen • Elwood Hamilton • John Donelson Martin • Herschel Arant • Shackelford Miller • Wade Hampton McCree, Jr. • Henry Brooks • Clifford O'Sullivan • Paul Weick • Lester Cecil • John Peck II • Bailey Brown • Anthony Celebrezze • Bertram Combs • George Edwards (Sixth Circuit) • Thomas McAllister • Nathaniel Jones • Susan Neilson • Harry Phillips • David Aldrich Nelson •|
|Former Chief judges||
Gilbert Merritt • Boyce Martin • Danny Boggs • Albert Engel • Pierce Lively • Xenophon Hicks • Charles Casper Simons • Florence Ellinwood Allen • John Donelson Martin • Shackelford Miller • Paul Weick • Lester Cecil • George Edwards (Sixth Circuit) • Thomas McAllister • Harry Phillips •