Joseph F. Bataillon

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Joseph F. Bataillon
Joseph F. Bataillon District Judge.jpg
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
Assumed office
October 3, 2014
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
In office
September 18, 1997 – October 3, 2014
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Lyle E. Strom
Succeeded by Vacant
Personal details
Born 1949 (age 65–66)
Omaha, Nebraska
Alma mater Creighton University (B.A.)
Creighton University School of Law (J.D.)

Joseph F. Bataillon (born 1949) is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Bataillon received a B.A. from Creighton University in 1971 and a J.D. from Creighton University School of Law in 1974.


Bataillon was a deputy public defender, Douglas County, Nebraska from 1974 to 1980. He was in private practice in Omaha from 1980 to 1997.

Judicial service[edit]

On January 7, 1997, Bataillon was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska vacated by Lyle E. Strom. Bataillon was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 11, 1997, and received his commission on September 18, 1997. He served as chief judge of the District from 2004 to 2011. He assumed senior status on October 3, 2014.

In 2003-05, Bataillon heard Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, a federal constitutional challenge to Nebraska Initiative Measure 416, a voter initiative constitutional amendment that prohibited Nebraska from recognizing same-sex marriages or unions. In November, 2005, Bataillon ruled that Initiative Measure 416 was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause, the First Amendment, and the Contract Clause's prohibition on bills of attainder. Bataillon became the first judge in the U.S. to invalidate a state marriage amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman on federal constitutional grounds. In July, 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed his decision on all three arguments and held that "laws limiting the state-recognized institution of marriage to heterosexual couples ... do not violate the Constitution of the United States."

After the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in United States v. Windsor declaring DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional, the law which prohibited federal recognition of state-recognize same-sex marriages, lawsuits were filed in every state that prohibited same-sex marriage. A new case concerning Nebraska's ban, Waters v. Heinemen, is also before Judge Bataillon.