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|Current Court Information:|
|United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit|
|Appointed by:||Barack Obama|
|Active:||11/23/2009 - Present|
|Preceded by:||Kenneth Ripple|
|Past post:||Southern District of Indiana|
|Past chief:||2008 - 2009|
|Past term:||10/11/1994 - 11/24/2009|
|Past position:||Seat #3|
|Home State:||Bloomington, IN|
|Undergraduate:||Haverford College, B.A., 1979|
|Law School:||Yale Law School, J.D., 1983|
David Frank Hamilton (b. 1957) is a federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He was nominated to the court by President Obama.
Early life and education
Judge Hamilton grew up in southern Indiana. He received his BA from Haverford College in 1979 and his JD from Yale Law School in 1983. His graduate work was performed as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tuebingen in Germany.  
He is a nephew of former Indiana Representative Lee H. Hamilton. 
Hamilton served as a law clerk to Richard Cudahy on the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals from 1983-1984. He served as counsel to Indiana governor Evan Bayh from 1989-1991. From 1984-1989, and again from 1991-1994 Judge Hamilton was in private practice with the law firm Barnes & Thornburg, after which he received and accepted his nomination to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana from President Clinton. 
Judge Hamilton was chair of the Indiana State Ethics Commission from 1991 to 1994, was a member of the Indiana State Recount Commission from 1986 to 1987 and is on the advisery board for the Center for Constitutional Democracy.  
Southern District of Indiana
Hamilton was nominated to a seat on the Southern District of Indiana vacated by Samuel Dillin by Democratic president Bill Clinton on June 8, 1994. Hamilton was confirmed to the federal bench on October 7, 1994 on a majority voice vote  and received his commission on October 11, 1994. He served as Chief Judge of the court from 2008-2009.  Hamilton was succeeded in this position by Tanya Walton Pratt.
The American Bar Association rated 135 of Bill Clinton's 1994 nominees, and found only three to be "Not Qualified", including David Hamilton. The reasons given for the "Not Qualified" rating included his lack of trial experience (he never tried a jury or criminal case, and only presided over three civil cases) and limited number of years practicing at the bar (12 years being the suggested minimum - Hamilton had served less than nine years in 1994).  This rating has since been revised to "Well Qualified". 
7th Circuit nomination
Judge Hamilton was the first judicial nominee from President Barack Obama. He was nominated to a position on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. . Hamilton's nomination to court is to replace Kenneth Ripple who assumed senior status in 2008. It was reported by the Indianapolis Star that both Indiana U.S. Senators Dick Lugar and Evan Bayh made the recommendation to President Obama to nominate Judge Hamilton. 
On May 22, 2009, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to whether to allow Judge Hamilton to be moved onto a full Senate floor. The Senate Republicans who serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to allow a temporary block on Judge Hamilton. In blocking the nomination, the new ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Jeff Sessions of Alabama objected harshly by stating: "Our members are concerned about this nominee. He has had a number of troubling rulings dealing with a series of prayers at the Indiana Legislature." Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont agreed to delaying the nominee, but defended Judge Hamilton by stating: "He (Judge Hamilton) is, after all, the son of a minister and he believes very strongly in the constitutional separation of church and state,". .
After the meeting and talking to reporters, Sessions said: "The reason it has taken as much time and there has been as much discussion about it is because he is controversial."
On June 4, 2009 the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 12-7 party line vote, voted to report Appeals Judge Hamilton favorably and advanced him to a full Senate vote. Hamilton was confirmed by the whole Senate on November 18, 2009. 
Some conservative groups are denouncing the nomination as too liberal. The Judicial Confirmation Network said that Hamilton has a "pretty clear leftist political record".  Pro-life group LifeNews call Hamilton President Obama's " first pro-abortion judicial candidate". 
There has been sharper criticism, from Matthew Staver of Liberty Counsel who has told CBN news that Judge Hamilton should not be given a lifetime appointment to the federal bench (7th Circuit Court of Appeals).
"So he's indicated, obviously, based on his affiliation with the ACLU and his rulings that he is somebody who believes in abortion and will legislate it from the bench. He's somebody who doesn't understand and respect our history and certainly doesn't respect the original understanding of the constitution," Staver said. Staver also commented: "He is a significant concern and this is the first nomination by President Obama. That is an even greater concern because it looks like these are the kind of individuals that he will be bringing forth as nominees to these federal benches," .
Liberal group People for The American Way call Hamilton an ideal choice for the court. 
Republican Senate Judiciary Committee member Jeff Sessions attempted a filibuster of Hamilton's nomination. Sessions conceded that he probably lacked the necessary votes to prevent a final vote on Hamilton's confirmation,  and the filibuster ended with a 70-29 vote. Only 60 votes were needed to end the filibuster; 10 Republicans voted along with Democrats to limit the debate. 
A filibuster was rumored shortly after Hamilton's nomination was made public. This is despite the bi-partisan recommendation of Hamilton from moderate Republican Senator Dick Lugar and Democratic Senator Evan Bayh. 
April 1, 2009 nomination hearing
Judge Hamilton will re-appear in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 29, 2009 for a second confirmation hearing scheduled for 2:00 PM-EDT/11:00 AM-PDT. A webcast of the hearing is avialable by CLICK HERE. Senator Hamilton is awaiting question later today. The second hearing was handled at the request of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
GOP Judiciary Committee members filibuster
On April 1st, the date of the schedule confirmation hearing, it was reported that all the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee boycotted the April 1 hearing claming that the Democrats are trying to rush through nominees.
Senator Orrin Hatch a long-time Senate Judiciary Committee member from Utah said: "There is no reason for scheduling a drive-by hearing only days after nomination except to turn the Senate into a rubber stamp for President Obama's nominees," Hatch said.
Hatch, along the rest of the Republicans on the Senate Judicary Committee, sent a letter to Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) blasting the Chairman for holding the hearing just 15 days after Hamilton's nomination.
Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire
The Senate Judiciary Committee's link to Judge Hamilton's Questionnaire. The questionnaire has made public as Hamilton's confirmation will be scheduled to a vote in Senate as once the Senate Rules Committee places his nomination up for a senate vote
Senator Dick Lugar on Judge Hamilton
In His Support for Judge Hamilton:
Senator Dick Lugar (R-Indiana) said in his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Judge Hamilton: David worked closely with Judge John Tinder then a Reagan appointee to the (Federal) district bench, whom President Bush recently appointed to the Seventh Circuit with the unanimous support of this Committee and the full Senate. When David was nominated to the district court, Judge Tinder wrote to me that David was "meticulous in asking the difficult questions of and about judicial nominees," and that his approach to these duties "typifies the deliberate and sensitive way in which he approaches matters in his professional life.".
The same is true of David's approach to his judicial duties. Leading members of the Indiana bar testify to his brilliance and, as important, to his character, dedication and fairness. David Hamilton is the type of lawyer and the type of person one wants to see on the Federal bench. His colleagues on the Southern District of Indiana bench, a talented and exceptionally collegial group from both parties, unanimously endorse that conclusion.
In Defending his Nomination:
"I do not view our Federal courts as the forum for resolving political disputes that the Legislative and Executive Branches cannot, or do not want to, resolve. Our Founders warned, in words quoted in my statement at the time of Chief Justice Roberts' nomination, against allowing "the pestilential breath of faction [to] poison the fountains of justice," which they knew "would stifle the voice both of law and of equity.
This is why I believe our confirmation decisions should not be based on partisan considerations, much less on how we hope or predict a given judicial nominee will "vote" on particular issues of public moment or controversy. I have instead tried to evaluate judicial candidates on whether they have the requisite intellect, experience, character and temperament that Americans deserve from their judges, and also on whether they indeed appreciate the vital, and yet vitally limited, role of the Federal judiciary faithfully to interpret and apply our laws, rather than seeking to impose their own policy views. I support Judge Hamilton's nomination, and do so enthusiastically, because he is superbly qualified under both sets of criteria.
Senator Evan Bayh on Hamilton
Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) On the Senate Judicial Confirmation Process:
In my view, this process has too often been consumed by ideological conflict and partisan acrimony. During the last Congress, I was proud to work with Senator Lugar to recommend Judge John Tinder as a bipartisan, consensus nominee for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Tinder was nominated by President Bush and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate by a vote of 93-0. It was my hope that Judge Tinder's confirmation would serve as an example of the benefits of nominating qualified, non-ideological jurists to the federal bench.
On Selecting and Supporting David Hamilton:
In selecting Judge Hamilton as his first judicial nominee, President Obama has demonstrated that he also appreciates the benefits of this approach. I was proud to once again join with Senator Lugar to recommend Judge Hamilton to President Obama, and I hope that going forward other Senators will adopt the "Hoosier approach" of working together to select consensus nominees.
On the merits, Judge Hamilton is an accomplished jurist who is well qualified to be elevated to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. He has served with distinction as a United States District Judge for almost 15 years, during which time he has presided over approximately 8,000 cases. Since January 2008, he has served as the Chief Judge for the Southern District of Indiana, where he has been widely praised for his effective leadership style. Throughout his career, Judge Hamilton has demonstrated the highest ethical standards and a firm commitment to applying our country's laws fairly and faithfully.
Awards and associations
Sex offender registries and privacy rights
| United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana|
*John Doe, Steve Morris, et al., v. Prosecutor, Marion County, Indiana, et al. 1:08-cv-00436-DFH-TAB
|In 2008, Hamilton struck down an amendment to state law requiring convicted sex offenders to provide personal information such as e-mail addresses to the authorities, permit searches of their home computers at any time, and to pay for a program that would monitor their internet use. Hamilton called the law unconstitutional and said that, "'The ability of the individual to retreat into his home and therefore to be free from unreasonable intrusion by the government stands at the very core' of constitutional protections against unreasonable searches".|
Prayer in IN legislature
| United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana|
*Anthony Hinrichs, et al., v. Brian Bosma 1:05-cv-0813-DFH-TAB
|In 2005, Judge Hamilton ruled that the legislature could not open session with overtly Christian prayers. This ruling received criticism from the legislature, and was overruled upon appeal to the Seventh Circuit based on the plaintiffs standing. |
Requiring waiting periods for abortions
| United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana|
*A Woman's Choice-East Side Women's Clinic, et al., v. Scott C. Newman, et al. IP95-1148-C-H/G
|In 2002, Judge Hamilton ruled that requiring a woman seeking an abortion to visit the clinic twice prior to the procedure an "undue burden" on her. His ruling was struck down upon appeal to the Seventh Circuit, where it was ruled that waiting periods for abortions are constitutional.|
- List of judges of the Southern District of Indiana
- Defining Judge Hamilton, The Brody File, March 18, 2009
- Judge Hamilton Under Attack, The Brody File, March 18, 2009
- President Obama Announces David Hamilton for the United States 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, White House Press Release, March 17, 2009
- Initial Thoughts on Judge Hamilton, Overruled Blog, March 17, 2009
- Chief Judge David F. Hamilton Bio
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Judge Hamilton Bio from the Federal Judicial Center
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Chief Judge David F. Hamilton Bio
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 New York Times, "Moderate Is Said to Be Pick for Court", March 17, 2009
- ↑ People of the Center - Advisory Board
- ↑ Library of Congress: THOMAS, search for David Hamilton
- ↑ Statement concerning the nomination of David Hamilton to be judge of the Southern District of Indiana
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Indy Star, "Indiana judge nominated for U.S. Court of Appeals", March 18, 2009
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Los Angeles Times, "Obama announces first judicial nomination", March 18, 2009
- ↑ Associated Press "Senate Confirms Obama's Controversial Judicial Nominee", November 19, 2009
- ↑ Associated Press "Senate confirms controversial judge", November 19, 2009
- ↑ Indy Star "U.S. Senate confirms Hoosier nominee", November 19, 2009
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 "Philadelphia Inquirer" GOP Blocks David Hamilton nomination, May 21, 2009
- ↑ Christian Science Monitor "Obama court nominee David Hamilton clears Senate hurdle", November 17, 2009
- ↑ LifeNews, "President Barack Obama Makes First Pro-Abortion Judicial Pick in David Hamilton", March 17, 2009
- ↑ "CBN" Confirmation Hearings for Judge David Hamilton begin, April 1, 2009
- ↑ Fox News "Senator Plans to Filibuster Obama Judicial Appointee", November 16, 2009
- ↑ Politico "Senate GOP will try to block nominee", November 16, 2009
- ↑ Associated Press "Controversial court nominee survives Senate test", November 17, 2009
- ↑ "HotAir" Judge Hamilton's Nomination may be Filler Bustered, April 1, 2009
- ↑ "THOMAS" Nomination of David Hamilton, March 28, 2009Search for David Hamilton
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 "Desert News" Senator Hatch Protests Judge David Hamilton's Confirmation, April 1, 2009
- ↑ "Senate Judiciary Committee" 111th Congress Confirmation Materials, April 1, 2009
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 "Senate Judiciary Committee" Statement of Senator Dick Lugar on David Hamilton April 17, 2009
- ↑ "Senate Judiciary Committee" Senator Evan Bayh's Statment on David Hamilton, April 17, 2009
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 The Wall Street Journal, "Meet David Hamilton, Obama's Possible First Appellate Court Pick," March 17, 2009
|Federal judicial offices|
|Southern District of Indiana
Tanya Walton Pratt
|Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
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