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Roger Gregory

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Roger Gregory
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Current Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Title:   Judge
Service:
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Approval vote:   93-1-6
Active:   7/25/2001-Present
Preceded by:   New Seat
Personal History
Born:   1953
Hometown:   Philadelphia, PA
Undergraduate:   Virginia State University, 1975
Law School:   University of Michigan Law, 1978

Roger L. Gregory (b. 1953) is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He joined the court in 2001 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.[1]

Early life and education

A native Pennsylvanian, Gregory graduated from Virginia State University with his bachelor's degree in 1975 and from Michigan Law with his Juris Doctor degree in 1978.[1]

Professional career

Gregory spent his entire pre-judicial legal career as a private practice attorney. He served in the State of Michigan from 1978 to 1980, and in the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1980 to 2000.[1]

Pathways to the bench

Judge Gregory was featured in the U.S. Courts "Pathways to the Bench" education program.

Judicial career

Fourth Circuit

Gregory received a recess appointment from President Bill Clinton on December 27, 2000, to a new seat created by 104 Stat. 5089, which was approved by Congress. Gregory was re-nominated by President George W. Bush on May 9, 2001. Gregory was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 20, 2001, on a super majority 93-1-6 vote, and received commission on July 25, 2001.[2]

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.[3][4]

In dissent, Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote that the United States Constitution does not explicitly define a fundamental right for same-sex marriages, and 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.[3][4]

Corrupt sheriff not entitled to qualified immunity (2013)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Durham v. Jones, et al, 12-2303)

On December 10, 2013, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit, composed of Judges Diana Motz, Roger Gregory and Senior Judge Andre Davis, found that Maryland Sheriff Robert Jones, who fired a deputy in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights, was not entitled to qualified immunity and must answer to the $1.1 million jury award established in the federal district trial court.[5]

In the underlying case, James Durham, a deputy sheriff, used physical force and pepper spray in self defense to detain a man attempting to flee from police. Durham was later aggressively interrogated about the incident and pressured to falsify his report by superiors. Durham later did so, but then filed an internal grievance about the incident, only to be demoted. Durham then went to the media to expose the sheriff's office for its unjust behavior. Durham was then fired for "disseminating departmental information," a form of misconduct. He filed suit, and a jury at a federal trial found Jones guilty of retaliation after he fired Durham for exercising a constitutional right, awarding the deputy sheriff $1.1 million in damages.[5]

Jones appealed, claiming he should have been granted immunity against the charges, but Judge Davis, writing for the majority, affirmed, stating:[5]

Serious, to say nothing of corrupt, law enforcement misconduct is a substantial concern that must be met with a similarly substantial disruption in the calibration of the controlling balancing test. Given Jones' inability to show at trial how Durham's actions had an adverse impact on the proper functioning of the [Somerset County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Office] in some serious manner, the balance between Durham's rights as a private citizen under the First Amendment and Jones' interest in ensuring an efficient and effective work environment tilts heavily in favor of Durham and his entitlement to enjoy protected speech.[5][4]
Since it is clearly established that an employee's speech about governmental misconduct is constitutionally protected, Jones was not entitled to immunity and must pay the damages awarded to Durham at the federal jury trial.[5]

See also

External links

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
NA - new seat
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
2001–present
Succeeded by:
NA