Carolyn Dineen King

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Carolyn Dineen King
Judge Carolyn Dineen King.jpg
Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Assumed office
December 31, 2013
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
In office
January 16, 1999 – January 30, 2006
Preceded byHenry Anthony Politz
Succeeded byEdith Jones
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
In office
July 13, 1979 – December 31, 2013
Appointed byJimmy Carter
Preceded bySeat established by 92 Stat. 1629
Succeeded byJames C. Ho
Personal details
Born (1938-01-30) January 30, 1938 (age 82)
Syracuse, New York
Spouse(s)Thomas Morrow Reavley
EducationSmith College (B.A.)
Yale Law School (LL.B.)

Carolyn Dineen King (born January 30, 1938, in Syracuse, New York) is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Her chambers are in Houston, Texas.

Education and career[edit]

Born in Syracuse, New York, King received a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Smith College in 1959. She received a Bachelor of Laws from Yale Law School in 1962. After the United States Attorney's office in Houston denied her a position as an Assistant United States Attorney—she believes it was because she was a woman[1]—she joined Fulbright & Jaworski as a corporate and securities lawyer. She was in private practice of law in Houston, Texas from 1962 to 1979.[2]

Federal judicial service[edit]

King was nominated by President Jimmy Carter on April 30, 1979, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, to a new seat created by 92 Stat. 1629. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 12, 1979, and received her commission on July 13, 1979. She served as the first female Chief Judge from 1999 to 2006. She assumed senior status on December 31, 2013. She was nominated and served until January 1, 1988, under the name Carolyn Dineen Randall. In 2002, at the request of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, she became the first woman to chair the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.[2]

Honors and awards[edit]

In 2007, King received the Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award from the American Judicature Society.[3] King is also a 1997 recipient of the Smith College Medal[4] and the American Bar Association's Margaret Brent Award.[5] In 2014, she was honored by the American College of Bankruptcy with its Distinguished Service award.[6]

Notable activities[edit]

King was elected to the American Law Institute in 1985 and was elected to the ALI Council in 1991. She served as ALI's Treasurer from May 2010 to May 2013.[7]

Personal information[edit]

King served under the name "Carolyn Dineen Randall" from 1979 to 1988. She married senior Fifth Circuit Judge Thomas Morrow Reavley in August 2004.[8]

King is widely considered to be a political and judicial moderate.[9]

Notable case[edit]

On December 18, 2019, King dissented when the Fifth Circuit declared the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate unconstitutional.[10]


  1. ^ "The Honorable Carolyn Dineen King".
  2. ^ a b Carolyn Dineen King at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  3. ^ Judge Carolyn Dineen King Honored with Devitt Award[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "The Smith College Medal - Smith College".
  5. ^ "Previous Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award Recipients - Commission on Women in the Profession".
  6. ^ {cite web|url=}
  7. ^ American Law Institute - Council bios - Carolyn Dineen King Archived April 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ King, Carolyn Dineen (January 2011). "Oral History of Carolyn Dineen King" (PDF). Women Trailblazers in the Law (Interview). Interviewed by Marcy Hogan Greer. ABA Senior Lawyers Division.
  9. ^ Death Sentences in Texas Cases Try Supreme Court's Patience, The New York Times.
  10. ^

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 92 Stat. 1629
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Succeeded by
James C. Ho
Preceded by
Henry Anthony Politz
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Succeeded by
Edith Jones