G. Steven Agee

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G. Steven Agee
Judge G. Steven Agee.jpg
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Assumed office
July 1, 2008
Appointed byGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byJ. Michael Luttig
Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia
In office
March 1, 2003 – June 30, 2008
Preceded byHarry L. Carrico
Succeeded byLeRoy F. Millette, Jr.
Judge of the Virginia Court of Appeals
In office
January 1, 2001 – March 1, 2003
Preceded bySam W. Coleman
Succeeded byElizabeth A. McClanahan
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 8th district
In office
January 8, 1992 – January 12, 1994
Preceded byThomas M. Jackson
Succeeded byMorgan Griffith
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 15th district
In office
January 12, 1983 – January 8, 1992
Preceded byClinton Miller
Succeeded byAndy Guest
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 7th district
In office
January 13, 1982 – January 12, 1983
Serving with Richard Cranwell
Preceded byChip Woodrum
Succeeded byG. C. Jennings
Personal details
George Steven Agee

(1952-11-12) November 12, 1952 (age 68)
Roanoke, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Nancy Howell
EducationBridgewater College (BA)
University of Virginia (JD)
New York University (LLM)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army Reserve
Years of service1986–1997
UnitJ.A.G. Corps

George Steven Agee (born November 12, 1952) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia.


Born in Roanoke, Virginia, Agee was educated at Bridgewater College (Bachelor of Arts), the University of Virginia School of Law (Juris Doctor) and New York University School of Law (Master of Laws, Taxation). He has litigated cases in Virginia and federal courts, including arguing for the appellant before the Supreme Court of the United States in Patterson v. Shumate, 504 U.S. 753 (1992).

From 1982 to 1994, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates. Opting to pursue the Republican nomination for Attorney General of Virginia in 1993, he did not seek re-election to the House. In 2001, he became a Judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia. In 2003, he was elevated to the Supreme Court of Virginia, filling the vacancy created by Chief Justice Harry L. Carrico, who took Senior Justice status.

Fourth Circuit nomination and confirmation[edit]

Agee was nominated on March 13, 2008 by President George W. Bush to fill a vacancy on the Fourth Circuit created by Judge J. Michael Luttig, who resigned on May 10, 2006. President Bush asked the Senate to consider his nomination swiftly because of the court’s heavy caseloads, and because five of the fifteen seats were vacant.[1] Agee received a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1, 2008, and was unanimously voted out of committee on May 15, 2008. Agee was confirmed on May 20, 2008, by a vote of 96-0 just over two months after his nomination.[2] Agee was the fourth judge nominated to the Fourth Circuit by Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate. He received his commission on July 1, 2008, and was sworn in by his colleague and former law professor, United States Circuit Judge James Harvie Wilkinson III, on July 2, 2008.

In 2016, Agee found that sectarian prayers offered by Rowan County, North Carolina commissioners at their meetings did not violate the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution, over the dissent of Judge Wilkinson. That judgment was then rejected by the full circuit en banc by a vote of 10-5, with Wilkinson now writing for the majority while Agee and Paul V. Niemeyer authored dissents.[3][4] In June 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States denied review, over the written dissent of Justice Clarence Thomas joined by Neil Gorsuch.[5][6]


  1. ^ "Maryland Daily Record".
  2. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110th Congress - 2nd Session".
  3. ^ Note, Fourth Circuit Holds that County Commissioners’ Practice of Offering Sectarian Prayers at Public Meetings Is Unconstitutional, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 626 (2017).
  4. ^ Lund v. Rowan County, 863 F.3d 268 (4th Cir. 2017 (en banc).
  5. ^ Rowan County v. Lund, 138 S.Ct. 2564 (2018).
  6. ^ Note, Pressure to Pray? Thinking beyond the Coercion Test for Legislator-Led Prayer, 86 U. Chicago L. Rev. 151 (2017).


Legal offices
Preceded by
J. Michael Luttig
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit