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Robert Leon Wilkins

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This is the page about the federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. If you are looking for information on the circuit court judge for the Missouri 23rd Circuit Court, please see Robert Wilkins (Missouri). If you are looking for information on the district court judge for the North Carolina 19B District, please see Robert M. Wilkins


Robert Leon Wilkins
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Current Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Title:   Judge
Station:   D.C.
Service:
Appointed by:   Barack Obama
Approval vote:   55-43
Active:   9/12/2014-Present
Preceded by:   David Sentelle
Past term:   12/27/2010-1/13/2014
Personal History
Born:   1963
Hometown:   Indiana
Undergraduate:   Rose-Hulman Inst. of Tech., B.S., 1986
Law School:   Harvard Law, J.D., 1989
Robert Leon Wilkins is a federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In June of 2013, President Obama nominated Robert Wilkins for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[1] Wilkins was confirmed by the Senate on January 13, 2014, on a vote of 55-43.[2] He was formally sworn in on September 12, 2014.[3]

Prior to joining the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Wilkins was a judges of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He was nominated to this position on May 20, 2010 and was confirmed by the Senate on December 22, 2010.[4]

Early life and education

Wilkins is from Muncie, Indiana. He earned his J.D. in 1989 from Harvard Law School and his B.S. in 1986 from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.[5]

Professional career

  • 2008-2010 Partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Venable LLP
  • 1996-2008: Attorney with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
  • 2007-2008: Vice chair
  • 2002-2007: Trustee
  • 1996-2000: Chief of special litigation

Judicial Career

District of Columbia Circuit

Nomination Tracker
 Candidate:Robert Leon Wilkins
 Court:District of Columbia Circuit
 Progress:Confirmed 223 days after nomination.
ApprovedANominated:June 4, 2013
ApprovedAABA Rating:Unanimously Well Qualified
ApprovedAQuestionnaire:Questionnaire
ApprovedAHearing:September 11, 2013
ApprovedAQFRs:QFRs
ApprovedAReported:October 31, 2013 
ApprovedAConfirmed:January 13, 2014
 Vote: 55-43

On June 4, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Robert Leon Wilkins to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to fill the vacancy left by David Sentelle upon his retirement.[6] Obama commented on the nomination, stating,

So these three individuals are highly qualified to serve on the D.C. Circuit. They have broad bipartisan support from across the legal community. The non-partisan American Bar Association have given them -- each of them -- its highest rating. These are no slouches. These are no hacks. There are incredibly accomplished lawyers by all accounts. And there are members of Congress here today who are ready to move forward with these nominations, including the Chairman, Patrick Leahy. So there’s no reason -- aside from politics -- for Republicans to block these individuals from getting an up or down vote."[7][8]

Wilkins was rated Unanimously Well Qualified by the American Bar Association. You can find his Committee Questionnaire available here.[9]

On October 31, 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8, along party lines, to advance Wilkins' nomination to the full Senate. Opponents of the nomination in the committee did not address Wilkins or his qualifications, but instead focused on the low caseload of the District of Columbia Circuit. [10]

Wilkins was the only nominee who was held over by the Senate when nominations were returned on January 3, 2014. Being held over means that Wilkins did not have to start the nomination process over again.[11]

On January 13, 2014, the United States Senate confirmed Wilkins on vote of 55-43.[2]

Reaction to confirmation

I am pleased that the Senate has confirmed Judge Robert Wilkins to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Judge Wilkins spent a decade as a public defender, providing legal representation to individuals who could not afford an attorney, as well as eight years in private practice.

His accomplishments outside the courtroom include helping to establish the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. In 2010, I nominated Judge Wilkins to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and since being confirmed without opposition by the Senate to that position, he has applied the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity.

I am confident that he will continue to do so on the D.C. Circuit. Judge Wilkins is the fourth of my nominees to be confirmed to this important court, which now has a full bench to render justice fairly and swiftly. [8]

—President Barack Obama[12]

Senate filibuster

On November 18, 2013, the U.S. Senate filibustered Wilkins's confirmation. The 53-38 cloture vote wasn't enough to end debate on the candidate effectively blocking the nomination. This was the third such filibusters of nominees to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the other two were Patricia Ann Millett and Cornelia T. L. Pillard, that spurred Democrats in the Senate to change to filibuster rules to only require a simple majority instead of the 60% majority to close debate on a candidate.[13][14]

District of Columbia

Nomination Tracker
 Candidate:Robert Leon Wilkins
 Court:District of Columbia
 Progress:Confirmed 126 days after nomination.
ApprovedANominated:May 20, 2010
ApprovedAABA Rating:Unanimously Well Qualified
ApprovedAHearing:July 28, 2010
ApprovedAHearing Transcript:Hearing Transcript
ApprovedAReported:Sept. 23, 2010 
ApprovedAConfirmed:September 23, 2010
 Vote: Voice


On May 20, 2010 Wilkins was nominated by President Obama to serve as a District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He was nominated to fill the seat vacated by James Robertson.[15]

The American Bar Association gave Wilkins a unanimous rating of "Well Qualified".[16]

Wilkins' hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee was on July 28, 2010.[17] You can find his hearing transcript here. On September 23, 2010, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to send Wilkins' nomination to the U.S. Senate for a vote.[18]

Wilkins was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 22, 2010.[4][19]

Awards and associations

  • President of the National African American Museum & Cultural Complex
  • Founding member of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission
  • Named one of the 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years by The Legal Times, 2008[20]
  • Served on the D.C. Advisory Commission on Sentencing
  • Served on the D.C. Truth-In-Sentencing Commission
  • Served on the D.C. Juvenile Justice Advisory Group[5]

See also

External links

References

  1. The Blog of Legal Times, "Obama demands action in nominating three for D.C. Circuit," June 4, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Senate.gov, "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 2nd Session," accessed January 14, 2014
  3. The Washington Post, "Wilkins sworn in as US Appeals Court judge," September 12, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Blog of Legal Times, "Senate Confirms Five Judicial Nominees," December 22, 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 White House Press Release, "President Obama Names Three to United States District Court," May 20, 2010
  6. "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate" 6/4/2013
  7. "Remarks by the President on the Nominations to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit," 6/4/2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  9. 113th Congress Nomination Materials
  10. The Blog of Legal Times, "Robert Wilkins Nomination for D.C. Circuit Passes Committee," October 31, 2013
  11. Legal Times, "Judicial Nominees Start Over in Senate," January 7, 2014
  12. Green Bay Press Gazette, "Obama remaking federal judiciary," January 14, 2014
  13. Washington Post, "Senate Republicans block another Obama court pick," November 18, 2013
  14. New York Times, "Republicans Again Reject Obama Pick for Judiciary," November 12, 2013
  15. White House Press Release, "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate," 5/20/10
  16. Judicial Nomination Materials (dead link)
  17. U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Judicial Nomination Materials: 111th Congress (dead link)
  18. San Jose Mercury News, "Democrats: GOP now blocking picks for lower courts," September 23, 2010 (dead link)
  19. The Metropolitan News-Enterprise, "Senate Confirms Mary Murguia to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals," December 23, 2010
  20. Legal Times, "The 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years," May 19, 2008




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