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Jeffrey Sutton

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Jeffrey Sutton
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Current Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Title:   Judge
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   5/5/2003-Present
Preceded by:   David Nelson
Past post:   Attorney in private practice
Past term:   1988-2003
Personal History
Born:   1960
Hometown:   Dhahran, Suadi Arabia
Undergraduate:   Williams College, 1983
Law School:   Ohio State University Law, 1990

Jeffrey S. Sutton is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He joined the court in 2003 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.[1]


Sutton graduated from Williams College with his bachelor's degree in 1983 and from Ohio State University College of Law with his law degree in 1990.[1]

Professional career

Judicial career

On the recommendation of U.S. Senator Mike DeWine, Sutton was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by President George W. Bush on January 7, 2003, to a seat vacated by Judge David Nelson. Sutton was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 29, 2003, and received commission on May 5, 2003.[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


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
David Aldrich Nelson
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by: