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Sharon Blackburn

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Sharon Blackburn
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #8T
Service:
Appointed by:   George H.W. Bush
Active:   5/30/1991 - Present
Chief:   2006 - 11/17/2013
Preceded by:   104 Stat. 5089
Personal History
Born:   1950
Hometown:   Pensacola, FL
Undergraduate:   University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, B.A., 1973
Law School:   Samford U. Law, J.D., 1977
Sharon Lovelace Blackburn is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. She joined the court in 1991 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush. Prior to appointment, Blackburn was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.[1]

Blackburn served as Chief Judge of the court from 2006 to late 2013.[2]

Early life and education

Born in Pensacola, Florida, Blackburn graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with her bachelor's degree in 1973 and later from Samford University's Cumberland School of Law with her Juris Doctor degree in 1977.[1]

Professional career

Blackburn was a law clerk for former Alabama Supreme Court Clerk J. O. Sentell in 1977 and then clerked for the Honorable Robert Varner in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama until 1978. In 1979, Blackburn was a Staff Attorney for Birmingham Legal Services. Blackburn was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama U.S. Attorney's Office from 1979 to 1991; serving in the Civil division from 1979 to 1985, and then in the Criminal Prosecutions division until 1991.[1]

Judicial career

Northern District of Alabama

Blackburn was nominated to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama by President George H.W. Bush on April 11, 1991 to a new judgeship created by 104 Stat. 5089, which was approved by Congress. Blackburn was confirmed by the Senate on May 24, 1991 on a Senate vote and received commission on May 30, 1991.[3] Blackburn has been Chief Judge of the Court since 2006.[1]

Notable cases

Alabama's "toughest-in-the-nation" immigration law (2011)

     United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (United States, v. State of Alabama; Governor Robert J. Bentley, 2:11-cv-02746-SLB)

On September 28, 2011, Judge Blackburn ruled that parts of a state immigration law passed in June can be enforced by the state despite the federal injunction filed against it. The federal injunction was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice arguing that it violated the Constitution in overstepping the federal government's authority to determine immigration policy. The sections approved of by Judge Blackburn, include: the requiring schools to ascertain the immigration status of all enrolling children and their parent, the invalidation of all contracts with illegal immigrants, the requiring of all immigrants to carry registration documents on their person, and allowing police officers to arrest anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant during routine traffic stops. Judge Blackburn did, however, support the federal injunction on certain aspects of the law. The parts of it she blocked included the sections that would make it a crime to transport or harbor illegal aliens and a crime for illegal aliens to solicit and perform work. The sections making it possible to file discrimination lawsuits against companies that hire illegal immigrants and forbidding employers from claiming illegal immigrants' wages as tax deductions were also blocked from going into effect.

On Friday, October 7, 2011, the Justice Department filed an appeal with the 11th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals asking it to overturn Judge Blackburn's decision and, instead, block the law completely.[4][5] The circuit court ruled on the injunction on Friday, October 14, and blocked portions of the law additional to those blocked by Judge Blackburn.[6]

The full story can be found here.

Parts of the law blocked by Judge Blackburn's ruling

  • Making it a crime to transport or harbor illegal aliens
  • Making it a crime for illegal aliens to solicit and perform work
  • Making it possible to file discrimination lawsuits against companies that hire illegal immigrants
  • Making it illegal for employers to claim illegal immigrants' wages as tax deductions

Parts of the law blocked by this Eleventh Circuit decision

  • Requiring state officials to check the immigration status of students in public schools
  • Making it a misdemeanor for immigrants to fail to carry registration

[6][7][8]

Update
In October 2013, the State of Alabama reached a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the major challengers of the immigration law. The settlement ended the federal lawsuit and parts of the law voided by the Eleventh Circuit, including the requirement that school check student citizenship and detaining individuals who could not prove citizenship at police stops. It also requires the state to pay attorney fees and expenses for bringing the suit.[9]

See also

External link

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
NA-New Seat
Northern District of Alabama
1991–Current
Seat #8T
Succeeded by:
NA