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James E. Boasberg

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James E. Boasberg
Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Title:   Judge
Appointed by:   Barack Obama
Approval vote:   96-0
Active:   03/14/2011 - Present'
Preceded by:   Thomas Hogan
Succeeded by:   John McCabe
Past post:   Associate judge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Past term:   2002 - 2011
Personal History
Born:   1963
Hometown:   San Francisco, CA
Undergraduate:   Yale, 1985
Law School:   Yale Law, 1990
Grad. School:   Oxford U., 1986
James Emanuel Boasberg is a judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He joined the court in 2011 after being nominated by President Barack Obama.[1] Prior to his nomination, he was an Associate Judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.[2] Boasberg was appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts to join the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on May 19, 2014.[3][4]

Early life and education

Boasberg received his B.A. from Yale College in 1985, and his M.St. from Oxford University in 1986. In 1990, he earned his J.D. from Yale Law School.[2]

Professional career

Judicial career

District of Columbia

Nomination Tracker
 Candidate:James E. Boasberg
 Court:District of Columbia
 Progress:Confirmed 270 days after nomination.
ApprovedANominated:June 17, 2010
ApprovedAABA Rating:Unanimously Well Qualified
ApprovedAHearing:September 15, 2010
ApprovedAHearing Transcript:Hearing Transcript
ApprovedAReported:February 3, 2011 December 1, 2010
ApprovedAConfirmed:March 14, 2011
 Vote: 96-0

Boasberg was nominated for the federal bench by President Barack Obama. Announcing three appointments on the same day, Obama said collectively, "These distinguished individuals have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to public service throughout their careers. I am grateful for their decision to serve the American people from the District Court bench."[1] Boasberg was nominated to fill the seat vacated by Thomas Hogan.[5]

The American Bar Association unanimously rated Boasberg "Qualified." He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 15, 2010, and you can find his hearing transcript here.[6]

He was moved out of committee on a voice vote on December 1, 2010.[7] Boasberg's nomination was returned to the President at the end of the 111th Congress. President Obama resubmitted the nomination on January 5, 2011. Boasberg's nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 14, 2011, by a Senate vote of 96-0.[8]

Notable cases

Government won’t face charges in fishing regulations case (2014)

On February 20, 2014, Judge Boasberg found that the federal government was immune to claims concerning groundfish overfishing laws, noting that the National Marine Fisheries Service's and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's amended procedures to monitor commercial fishing were neither arbitrary nor capricious. In his opinion, Judge Boasberg further remarked that the plaintiffs failed to show that the government’s new system was more concerned with costs than accountability.


D.C. school closures case (2013)

     United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Smith, et al., v. Henderson, Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, et al., 13-420)

In May 2013, Judge Boasberg ruled against a group of activists, holding that the District of Columbia Public School system could move forward with plans to close 15 schools in the District. The group, including parents and advisory neighborhood commissioners, was seeking an injunction to prevent "irreparable harm" to the students. Judge Boasberg acknowledged, as the plaintiffs alleged, that the closures would disproportionately affect students of color and disabled students, but held that there was no evidence the officials intended any discrimination. According to city officials, the closures were sought in order to use resources more efficiently, as many of the schools targeted were in areas of the city where charter schools were prevalent, and enrollment had dropped markedly. The closures would displace over 2,700 students, all but two of whom were black or Hispanic. Ultimately, Judge Boasberg found the city had given reasonable justification for the closures as well as the disparate impact on minority students. On the day of the opinion, the Chicago Teachers Union filed two complaints in federal court to stop that city from closing 53 schools, citing the same racially discriminatory effects as the basis of their claim. [9][10]

Awards and associations


  • Special Achievement Awards, United States Attorney's Office
  • Sutherland Cup, Yale Law School
  • Dick Derby Award, Yale College


  • 2010-present: Member, St. Albans School Governing Board
  • 1995-present: Yale Law School Association of Washington, D.C.
  • 1995-2006: Vice President, Boasberg Historic Preservation Fund
  • 1995-2000: Secretary, Yale Class of 1985[11]

See also

External links


Washington, D.C.Washington, D.C. judicial newsJudicial selection in Washington, D.C.United States District Court for the District of ColumbiaUnited States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia CircuitDistrict of Columbia Court of AppealsSuperior Court of the District of ColumbiaDCTemplate.jpg