|Deborah A. Batts|
|Senior Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York|
April 13, 2012
|Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York|
May 9, 1994 – April 13, 2012
|Nominated by||Bill Clinton|
|Preceded by||Richard Owen|
|Succeeded by||Vernon S. Broderick|
April 13, 1947 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||Radcliffe College
Harvard Law School
Deborah A. Batts (born April 13, 1947) is a United States federal judge, currently serving on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In June 1994, Deborah Batts was sworn in as a Federal District Judge for Manhattan, becoming the nation's first openly LGBT, African-American federal judge. She took senior status on her 65th birthday, April 13, 2012.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Batts received an A.B. from Radcliffe College in 1969, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1972. She subsequently clerked from Judge Lawrence Pierce on the Federal Court on which she now serves as a Judge. She was an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1979 to 1984. In 1984 she became an Associate Professor of Law at Fordham University. She was a Special associate counsel to the Department of Investigation for New York City from 1990 to 1991.
On January 27, 1994, following the recommendation of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, President Bill Clinton appointed Batts to a seat on the Southern District left open in 1989 when Judge Richard Owen took senior status. Batts was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 6, 1994, and received her commission on May 9, 1994. She continues to serve as an adjunct at Fordham.
1999 - criminal trial of Cheng Yong Wang and Xingqi Fu, charged in scheme to arrange transplant of organs taken from executed Chinese prisoners.
2006 - civil suit against former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman alleging that she misled people near World Trade Center site about risks of toxic air pollution after September 11, 2001 attacks.
2009 - litigation regarding the publication of an unauthorized "sequel" to "Catcher in the Rye". Batts ordered an injunction to stop the book to going to press.
2011 - Overruled by the 2nd Circuit in the case of Skaftorous v US where her decision that US District Courts have the authority to decide issues of foreign (in this case, Greek) law was rejected. According to the 2nd Circuit opinion, "It is not the business of our courts to assume responsibility for supervising the integrity of the judicial system of another sovereign nation." In addition, "US Courts are strongly discouraged from reviewing whether the demanding country has complied with its own laws." 667 F.3d 144 (2d Cir. 2011)
- Deborah Batts at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- National Black Justice Coalition (February 20, 2009), The Honorable Deborah A. Batts: Profile in Courage, http://www.nbjcoalition.org. Retrieved on March 5, 2009.
- U.S. Courts: Anticipated future judicial vacancies