Ellen Segal Huvelle

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Ellen Segal Huvelle
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Assumed office
June 3, 2014
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
In office
October 26, 1999 – June 3, 2014
Appointed byBill Clinton
Preceded byJohn Garrett Penn
Succeeded byAmit Mehta
Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
In office
Appointed byGeorge H. W. Bush
Succeeded byJohn Ramsey Johnson[1]
Personal details
Ellen Judith Segal

(1948-06-03) June 3, 1948 (age 75)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
SpouseJeffrey G. Huvelle
EducationWellesley College (BA)
Yale University (MCP)
Boston College (JD)

Ellen Judith Huvelle (née Segal; born June 3, 1948) is an inactive Senior United States district judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.[2] She has overseen several significant cases. In a case decided in May 2001, Huvelle "upheld federal regulations that restrict the sale of consumers' names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and phone numbers."[3] Later that year, Huvelle heard requests by family members of Vince Foster seeking access to pictures of his body taken after his death. In November 2005, she accepted the guilty plea in the high-profile prosecution of lobbyist Michael Scanlon. Huvelle assumed senior status on June 3, 2014.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Huvelle grew up in Newton, Massachusetts and graduated from Newton High School in 1966.[5][6]


She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College in 1970 and a Master in City Planning from the Yale School of Architecture in 1972. With her father and brother both lawyers, Huvelle focused on the law [5] and in 1975 earned a Juris Doctor from the Boston College Law School.

Early career[edit]

In 1973 she was a law clerk for the appellate division of the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in Massachusetts. In 1974 she was a public defender for the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Boston.

Legal career[edit]

Following law school, she served as law clerk to Chief Justice Edward F. Hennessey of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1975 to 1976. From 1976 until 1984, Huvelle was an associate at the firm of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C. and in 1984, she became the first female partner at that firm,[5] where she remained until 1990.

In 1983, Huvelle was one of three attorneys who drafted an amicus brief on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of America in the landmark case of Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.. As a partner at Williams & Connolly, Huvelle represented several notable clients including hotel magnate Leona Helmsley and fight promoter Don King.

Judicial service[edit]

District of Columbia superior court service[edit]

Huvelle was appointed by President George H. W. Bush as an Associate Judge of the District of Columbia Superior Court in September 1990 and served in the Civil, Criminal and Family Divisions until her appointment to the federal bench.[7] While serving on that court, she was a lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Law from 1997 to 1999.

Federal judicial service[edit]

On March 25, 1999, Huvelle was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, vacated by John Garrett Penn.[8] She was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 15, 1999, receiving her commission on October 26, 1999. Senator Patrick Leahy cited the long delays in Huvelle's confirmation as United States District Judge as a troubling example of problems in the confirmation process.[9] She took senior status on June 3, 2014.[4]

Huvelle has been a Fellow of the American Bar Association, a member of the Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court, and has taught trial practice at Harvard Law School's Trial Advocacy Workshop and at the University of Virginia School of Law.[10]

Notable opinions[edit]

Privacy and "opt out"[edit]

According to CNN Huvelle played a key role in ensuring that ordinary consumers can opt out of information collection on their personal information.[3]

A.C.L.U. v. U.S. Dept. of Justice[edit]

Huvelle ruled on American Civil Liberties Union, et al v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 265 F.Supp.2d 20.[11]

Murat Kurnaz v. George W. Bush[edit]

Huvelle made a ruling on Guantanamo captive Murat Kurnaz's habeas corpus petition in Murat Kurnaz v. George W. Bush.[12]

XM Radio[edit]

In the summer of 2006 Huvelle amalgamated related cases into a class action against In re XM Satellite Radio Holdings Securities Litigation, C.A. No. 06-0802.[13]

Former Interior Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles[edit]

Huvelle ruled on the sentencing of former Deputy Secretary of the Interior J. Steven Griles.[14]

Drone strikes[edit]

In February 2016, Huvelle found that the next friend of Yemenis killed in a U.S. drone strike could not sue under the Torture Victims Protection Act nor the Alien Tort Statute because the attack raised a political question.[15][16]

Personal life[edit]

Huvelle is married to labor lawyer Jeffrey Huvelle.[5]


  1. ^ Report of District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission.
  2. ^ "Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle". United States Department of Justice. Archived from the original on 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  3. ^ a b Holden Lewis (May 16, 2001). "For privacy, opt out: Protect your private information from stalkers, telemarketers, identity thieves". CNN Money. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  4. ^ a b "Huvelle, Ellen Segal - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
  5. ^ a b c d "I, Ellen Huvelle, Do Solemnly Swear". www.lawmagazine.bc.edu.
  6. ^ Newton High School (Class of 1966).
  7. ^ Pres. Nom. 1,181, 101st Cong. (1990).
  8. ^ Pres. Nom.180, 106th Cong. (1999).
  9. ^ Patrick Leahy (December 11, 2001). "Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy on Judicial Nominations". United States Senate. Archived from the original on 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  10. ^ "Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle". United States Department of Justice. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  11. ^ https://www.aclu.org/files/FilesPDFs/huvelle.opinion.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  12. ^ "Murat Kurnaz v. George W. Bush" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. April 12, 2005. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  13. ^ "XM SATELLITE: Consolidated Complaint in D.C. Stock Suit Filed". bankrupt.com. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  14. ^ Dan Berman (June 16, 2007). "ETHICS: Griles seeks community service with motorized-recreation group". Project on Government Oversight. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  15. ^ Note, Recent Case: D.C. Circuit Holds Statutory Challenge to Drone Strike is Nonjusticiable, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 1473 (2018).
  16. ^ bin Ali Jaber v. United States, 155 F.Supp.3d 70 (D.D.C. 2016).

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Succeeded by