James C. Duff

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James C. Duff
Known for Chief Executive Officer of the Newseum

James C. Duff is chief executive officer of the Newseum, the interactive museum of news in Washington, D.C., which champions the five freedoms of the First amendment through education, information and entertainment; president and CEO of the museum’s Newseum Institute, which serves as a forum for First Amendment study, exploration and education; and president and CEO of the Freedom Forum, the non partisan foundation that supports education about the First Amendment.

Education and early career[edit]

Duff graduated magna cum laude from the University of Kentucky Honors Program in 1975 with a degree in political science and philosophy, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. He also was a "walk-on" on the university’s basketball team.[1] After studying at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 1974, he returned to the U.S. in 1975 and worked for four years as an aide in the chambers of Chief Justice Warren E. Burger.[2] He graduated from Georgetown Law School in 1981,[3] then worked at the law firm Clifford and Warnke, where in 1990 he became a partner. In 1991, a large contingent of Clifford and Warnke lawyers and staff, including Mr. Duff, merged with the firm of Howrey and Simon,[4] where he practiced antitrust, commercial litigation and international trade until 1996.

Legal and political career[edit]

From 1996 to 2000, Duff was Chief Justice William Rehnquist's Administrative Assistant, now called "Counselor to the Chief Justice," [3] serving as his liaison with the other branches of government and as Executive Director of the Judicial Fellows Commission. He preceded Sally Rider as the Chief Justice's chief of staff,[5] in which Duff assisted Rehnquist in his roles as chair of the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Federal Judicial Center Board. He also served as counselor to the Chief Justice as presiding officer of the U.S. Senate’s 1999 presidential impeachment trial.

From 2000 to 2006, Duff served as the managing partner of the Washington office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, a law firm based in Memphis, Tennessee.[6][7] There he represented the Federal Judges Association before Congress[8] as well as the Freedom Forum.[citation needed]. He also represented the University of Kentucky's federal government interests in Washington and at the request of NCAA President Dr. Myles Brand, in 2006 he authored an overview and report to the NCAA on its rules and procedures. Duff has taught Constitutional Law at Georgetown University as an adjunct professor for 15 years. He was named the prestigious Peter Mullen Professor of Law at Georgetown University for the fall of 2014 and served as the first lecturer of the Giles Seminar at Georgetown for two years.

In September 2005, Duff was a pallbearer at Rehnquist's funeral,[2][9] alongside seven of Rehnquist's former law clerks. Duff authored a tribute to Chief Justice Rehnquist in the November 2005 edition of the Harvard Law Review [10] and spoke at the unveiling Ceremony for the William H. Rehnquist bust in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court in December 2009.

From July 2006 through September 15, 2011, Duff served as Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. He was appointed in April 2006 by United States Chief Justice John Roberts.[11] On May 31, 2011, Duff announced [12] that he was stepping down to assume his current position at Freedom Forum.

He was appointed to the Georgetown Law Center’s Board of Visitors in 2014 and serves on the boards of Freedom House, the Supreme Court Historical Society and the University of Kentucky Arts & Sciences Advisory Board. He was named to the University of Kentucky Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2012 and was given the Georgetown Entertainment and Media Law Achievement Award in 2012.

On November 4, 2014 it was announced by Chief Justice John Roberts that Duff would once again become Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, effective January 5, 2015. He will succeed current Director Judge John D. Bates.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

Duff and his wife, Kathleen Gallagher Duff, live in Bethesda, Maryland, and have three children.[11]


  1. ^ "Ex-UK basketball walk-on Jim Duff has made a big mark in a different 'court'". Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  2. ^ a b Davis, Marcia (September 5, 2005). "One Man's Unwavering Constitution". The Washington Post. pp. C1. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  3. ^ a b "New Administrative Assistant Begins Duties at Supreme Court". Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  4. ^ Walsh, Sharon (December 1991). "Warnke, Others Leave Clark Clifford Law Firm." The Washington Post. C1. ProQuest. Retrieved on 2008-05-02.
  5. ^ "New Administrative Assistant at Supreme Court". Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  6. ^ "Chief Justice Roberts Appoints Jim Duff of Baker Donelson to U.S. Courts Director Position". www.BakerDonelson.com. 2006-05-12. Retrieved 2008-05-06. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Noted ...." Wall Street Journal. April 25, 2006: B11. ProQuest. Retrieved on 2008-05-08.
  8. ^ "Federal Judges Association Newsletter". November 30, 2004. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  9. ^ McGough, Michael (September 7, 2005). "Rehnquist lies in state". Post Gazette. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  10. ^ Duff, James C. 2005. "In Memoriam: William H. Rehnquist." Harvard Law Review, volume 119, issue 1, p. 16-19 [1]
  11. ^ a b Arberg, Kathy (April 2006). Press Release. (HTML). Retrieved on 2008-05-08
  12. ^ "Administrative Office Head, Jim Duff, Announces Resignation". United States Courts. May 31, 2011. Retrieved July 8, 2011. 
  13. ^ "James C. Duff to Return as AO Director in January 2015". uscourts.gov. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Press Release". Supreme Court of the United States. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 

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