Robert L. Wilkins

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Robert Wilkins
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 15, 2014
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by David Sentelle
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
In office
December 27, 2010 – January 15, 2014
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by James Robertson
Succeeded by Randolph D. Moss
Personal details
Born 1963 (age 50–51)
Muncie, Indiana, U.S.
Alma mater Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Harvard University

Robert Leon Wilkins (born 1963) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Early life and education[edit]

Wilkins was born in 1963 in Muncie, Indiana,[1] where he was raised by a single mother.[2] He studied chemical engineering at Rose–Hulman Institute of Technology and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1986.[3] Wilkins then earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1989.[4]

Professional career[edit]

After completing law school, Wilkins served as a law clerk for Judge Earl B. Gilliam of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.[5]

Wilkins worked at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia from 1990 to 2002,[1] serving as chief of special litigation from 1996 to 2000.[4] Starting in 2002, Wilkins was a partner at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Venable LLP.[6]

Wilkins was a member of the presidential commission that advised President George W. Bush on the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture.[7]

Wilkins v. Maryland State Police[edit]

In May 1992, Wilkins was in a rented vehicle with three other family members when they were pulled over by Maryland State Police for violating the speed limit.[8] At the time, the Maryland State Police Department instructed their officers to focus on black males in expensive vehicles when conducting traffic stops.[9] Wilkins filed suit in the case of Wilkins v. Maryland State Police and eventually won a "landmark" settlement against the state of Maryland.[9][10] As part of the case settlement, Maryland was required to maintain records of all traffic stops that resulted in vehicle search requests.[9] The case helped bring national attention to the practice of racial profiling and helped popularize the term "driving while black".[11][12]

Judicial service[edit]

District Court[edit]

During the 111th Congress, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton recommended Wilkins for filling a vacancy on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.[13] On May 20, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Wilkins to a judgeship on the District Court for the District of Columbia.[4] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 22, 2010.[14] Wilkins received his commission on December 27, 2010.[15]

President Barack Obama delivers a statement announcing the nomination of Robert Leon Wilkins, Cornelia "Nina" Pillard, and Patricia Ann Millett

Nomination to U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit[edit]

On June 4, 2013, Obama nominated Wilkins to serve as a United States Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to the seat vacated by Judge David B. Sentelle, who took senior status on February 12, 2013.[16]

On October 31, 2013, the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary voted to report Wilkins' nomination to the floor of the United States Senate in a 10-8, party-line vote.[17]

On November 14, 2013, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid motioned to invoke cloture on Wilkins' nomination, seeking to end a filibuster of his nomination by Senate Republicans. The Senate failed to invoke cloture on November 18, 2013 by a vote of 53-38, with 1 senator voting "present".[18] Reid planned to hold a vote on Wilkins' nomination before the Senate adjourned for the year on December 20, but the vote did not take place. Cloture was subsequently invoked on January 9, 2014 by a vote of 55-38, with 1 senator voting "present". He was confirmed by the United States Senate 55-43 on January 13, 2014.[19] His confirmation marked the first time the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit had a full complement of judges in over 22 years since Clarence Thomas left the court on October 23, 1991 upon his joining the United States Supreme Court. He received his commission on January 15, 2014.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Senate Judiciary Committee Questionnaire: Robert Leon Wilkins, (May 19, 2010).
  2. ^ Grant Smith, Alumnus Robert Wilkins Clears Next Hurdle in Nomination to Become U.S. District Court Judge, Rose–Hulman Alumni Affairs (August 5, 2010).
  3. ^ a b c President Obama Names Three to United States District Court, whitehouse.gov (May 20, 2010).
  4. ^ Grant Smith, Obama Nominates Alumnus Robert Wilkins for Federal Bench in Washington, D.C., Rose–Hulman Alumni Affairs (June 1, 2010).
  5. ^ Becker, Amanda (May 31, 2010). "Venable partner nominated U.S. District Court seat". The Washington Post. 
  6. ^ Lynette Clemetson, Smithsonian Picks Notable Spot for Its Museum of Black History, New York Times (January 31, 2006).
  7. ^ Muffler, Steven J. Racial Profiling: Issues, Data and Analyses. Nova Science Publishers. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-1-59454-547-4. 
  8. ^ a b c Brent Staples, Editorial Observer; Why 'Racial Profiling' Will be Tough to Fight, New York Times (May 24, 1999).
  9. ^ "ACLU, Civil Rights Groups and Maryland Officials Reach Landmark Racial Profiling Settlement". aclu.org, April 2, 2003. Retrieved December 23, 2010.
  10. ^ Racial Profiling, Transcript: NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (March 13, 2001).
  11. ^ Meeks, Kenneth. Driving While Black: What To Do If You Are A Victim of Racial Profiling. Broadway. pp. 21–38. ISBN 978-0-7679-0549-7. 
  12. ^ Mike Scarcella, Venable's Robert Wilkins Nominated for Federal Bench in D.C., The Blog of Legal Times (May 20, 2010).
  13. ^ David Ingram, Senate Confirms Five Judicial Nominees, The Blog of Legal Times (December 22, 2010).
  14. ^ Robert L. Wilkins at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  15. ^ Shear, Michael D. (June 3, 2013). "Obama Names 3 to Top Appeals Court in Challenge to Republicans". The New York Times. Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  16. ^ http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2013/10/robert-wilkins-nomination-for-dc-circuit-passes-committee.html
  17. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 1st Session". Secretary of the Senate. 
  18. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 2nd Session". Secretary of the Senate. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
James Robertson
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
2010–2014
Succeeded by
Randolph D. Moss
Preceded by
David Sentelle
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
2014–present
Incumbent