J. Harvie Wilkinson III
Wilkinson (left) and Edward Becker at a reception
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit|
August 13, 1984
|Appointed by||Ronald Reagan|
|Preceded by||John Butzner|
|Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit|
February 14, 1996 – February 15, 2003
|Preceded by||Samuel Ervin|
|Succeeded by||William Wilkins|
September 29, 1944 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Lawrenceville School
University of Virginia
James Harvie Wilkinson III (born September 29, 1944) is a federal judge serving on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. His name has been raised at several junctures in the past as a possible nominee to the United States Supreme Court.
Early life and career
Wilkinson was born in New York, New York and raised in Richmond, Virginia, where he attended St. Christopher's School, Richmond. He graduated from the Lawrenceville School and with honors from Yale University in 1967, where he was a member of St. Anthony Hall and, the Chairman of the Conservative Party of the Yale Political Union, and the President of the Political Union. He served in the Army from 1968–1969, and in 1970, Wilkinson made an unsuccessful bid for a Virginia seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, running as a Republican. He then attended the University of Virginia's law school, graduating in 1972. From 1972-1973, he served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, an experience about which he wrote a book. His clerkship was followed by five years as an Associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, and three years working as an editor for Norfolk's The Virginian-Pilot. In 1982, he was given a position in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
On January 30, 1984, after a brief return to the University of Virginia School of Law, Wilkinson was nominated to the Fourth Circuit by Ronald Reagan. Wilkinson was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 9, 1984 by a vote of 58-39.
From 1996-2003, he served as chief judge on that court. In 2003, Wilkinson wrote the majority opinion upholding the right of the United States government to detain Yaser Esam Hamdi indefinitely without access to counsel or a court. Hamdi was a U.S. citizen captured during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The decision was overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States.
With the announcement of Chief Justice Rehnquist's illness in the fall of 2004, many commentators listed Wilkinson as a potential Bush nominee to the Supreme Court. Wilkinson talked about his July interview with Bush in the New York Times, reportedly undermining his candidacy amongst the Bush inner circle.
In 2006, Wilkinson penned an article in the Washington Post, castigating both the left and right on the issue of gay marriage. He wrote that the "American constitutional tradition" has been a "chief casualty in the struggle over same-sex marriage" and that marriage should be regulated through ordinary legislative means and opposed "the rush to constitutionalize" the dispute.
On June 24, 2008, Wilkinson authored a concurring opinion in Richmond Medical Center For Women v. Herring, which upheld the Virginia ban on partial-birth abortions. In his concurrence, he voiced a strong opposition to the practice of partial-birth abortions: "The fact is that we—civilized people—are retreating to the haven of our Constitution to justify dismembering a partly born child and crushing its skull. Surely centuries hence, people will look back on this gruesome practice done in the name of fundamental law by a society of high achievement. And they will shudder."
Wilkinson has written five books:
- Harry Byrd and The Changing Face of Virginia Politics, 1945-1966, Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1968.
- Serving Justice: A Supreme Court Clerk's View, New York: Charterhouse, 1974.
- From Brown to Bakke: The Supreme Court and School Integration, 1954-1978, New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, ISBN 0-19-502567-9.
- One Nation Indivisible: How Ethnic Separatism Threatens America, Reading, MA: Addison Wesley Longman, 1997, ISBN 0-201-18072-3.
- Cosmic Constitutional Theory: Why Americans Are Losing Their Inalienable Right to Self-Governance, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012, ISBN 0-19-984601-4.
- List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States
- George W. Bush Supreme Court candidates
- J. Harvie Wilkinson III at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
|Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit