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Paul Niemeyer

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Paul Niemeyer
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Current Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Title:   Judge
Appointed by:   George H.W. Bush
Active:   8/7/1990-Present
Preceded by:   Harrison Winter
Past post:   District of Maryland
Past term:   1988-1990
Past position:   Seat #5
Personal History
Born:   1941
Hometown:   Princeton, NJ
Undergraduate:   Kenyon College, 1962
Law School:   Notre Dame Law, 1966

Paul Victor Niemeyer is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He joined the court in 1990 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush.[1]


Niemeyer graduated from Kenyon College with his bachelor's degree in 1962 and from Notre Dame Law with his J.D. degree in 1966.[1]

Professional Career

Niemeyer spent legal career in private practice in the State of Maryland from 1966 to 1988.

Judicial career

Fourth Circuit

Niemeyer was nominated by President George H.W. Bush on May 11, 1990, to a seat vacated by Judge Harrison Winter as Winter assumed senior status. Niemeyer was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 3, 1990, on unanimous consent, and received commission on August 7, 1990.[2]

District of Maryland

Niemeyer was nominated by Ronald Reagan on September 11, 1987, to a seat vacated by Judge Frank Kaufman as Kaufman assumed senior status. Niemeyer was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 19, 1988, on unanimous consent of the Senate and received commission on February 22, 1988.[3] Niemeyer left the District of Maryland on August 10, 1990, due to his appointment to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Niemeyer was succeeded in this position by Judge Benson Legg.

Notable cases

Challenge to Virginia ban on same-sex marriage (2014)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Bostic v. Rainey, et al, No. 14-1173)

Judge Henry Floyd wrote the 2-1 opinion affirming the Eastern District of Virginia's ruling that found a ban on same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional. Judge Roger Gregory joined the majority opinion and Paul Niemeyer wrote the dissent. The majority found the defendants arguments that the law protected responsible procreation, proper child-rearing and the tradition of marriage, to be in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. Judge Floyd wrote in conclusion:
We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws. Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security. The choice of whether and who to marry is an intensely personal decision that alters that course of an individual's life. Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.[4][5]

In dissent, Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote that the United States Constitution does not explicitly define fundamental right for same-sex marriages it should be left to the States to decided if it should be recognized or not. He wrote:

The U.S. Constitution does not, in my judgement, restrict the States' policy choices on this issue. If given the choice, some States will surely recognize same-sex marriage and some will surely not. But that is, to be sure, the beauty of federalism.[4][5]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Frank Kaufman
District of Maryland
Seat #5
Succeeded by:
Benson Legg
Preceded by:
Harrison Winter
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by: