William Walter Wilkins

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William Wilkins
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
In office
February 15, 2003 – July 1, 2007
Preceded by Harvie Wilkinson
Succeeded by Karen Williams
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
In office
June 16, 1986 – July 1, 2007
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Emory Sneeden
Succeeded by Albert Diaz
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
In office
July 22, 1981 – June 16, 1986
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Robert Hemphill
Succeeded by Karen Henderson
Personal details
Born (1942-03-29) March 29, 1942 (age 72)
Anderson, South Carolina, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Davidson College
University of South Carolina, Columbia

William Walter Wilkins (born 1942) is a former United States federal judge.[1]

Born in Anderson, South Carolina, Wilkins received a B.A. from Davidson College in 1964 and a J.D. from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1967. He served on active duty for two years, in active reserves, and the South Carolina National Guard for twenty-five years. He holds the retired rank of Brigadier General. He was a law clerk to then chief judge, Clement F. Haynsworth, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit from 1969 to 1970. He was a legal assistant to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond from 1970 to 1971. He was in private practice in Greenville, South Carolina from 1971 to 1978, also serving as the Solicitor (District Attorney) of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, South Carolina from 1974 to 1981.

On July 9, 1981, Wilkins was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. Wilkins was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 20, 1981, and received his commission on July 22, 1981. He was the newly elected President's first appointment to the federal bench in the nation. He was named the first chair of the United States Sentencing Commission in 1985, a position he held until 1994. On June 3, 1986, Reagan nominated Wilkins to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Wilkins was again confirmed by the United States Senate on June 13, 1986, and received his commission on June 16, 1986. He served as chief judge from 2003 to 2007, assuming senior status on July 1, 2007, and retiring completely on October 5, 2008 in order to re-enter the private practice of law. He presently leads Nexsen Pruet law firm's Appellate Advocacy, Corporate Compliance / Crisis Management, and White Collar Crime practices and is active with the firm's business litigation practice.[2]

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Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert Hemphill
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
1981–1986
Succeeded by
Karen Henderson
Preceded by
Emory Sneeden
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
1986–2007
Succeeded by
Albert Diaz
Preceded by
Harvie Wilkinson
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
2003–2007
Succeeded by
Karen Williams