Jerome Holmes

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Jerome A. Holmes
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Assumed office
August 9, 2006
Appointed byGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byStephanie Kulp Seymour
Personal details
Jerome A. Holmes

(1961-11-18) November 18, 1961 (age 57)
Washington, D.C.
EducationWake Forest University (B.A)
Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.)
Harvard University (M.P.A.)

Jerome A. Holmes (born November 18, 1961 in Washington, D.C.) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He is the first African American to serve on the Tenth Circuit.


Holmes graduated from Wake Forest University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then attended the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was editor of the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal and received his Juris Doctor in 1988. In 2000, Holmes received a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Holmes began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge Wayne E. Alley of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in 1988. Holmes then clerked for another federal judge, William Judson Holloway, Jr., on the Tenth Circuit from 1990 to 1991. Next, he entered private practice with Steptoe & Johnson in its Washington, D.C. office in 1991. He practiced at the firm as an associate for three years before he returned to Oklahoma to serve as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. Holmes served in that capacity from 1994 to 2005. Holmes re-entered private practice in 2005 as a Director of the Oklahoma firm Crowe & Dunlevy, where his practice was focused on white collar criminal defense, complex civil litigation, and corporate law.

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit[edit]

Nomination and confirmation[edit]

Judge Holmes was initially nominated for a federal judgeship in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, having been chosen from group of finalists that included Tulsa attorneys Lane Wilson and John M. O'Connor (Wilson would later serve as U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District before leaving to become General Counsel at the Williams Companies).[1] Bush's previous pick to replace Judge Seymour, United States District Judge James H. Payne, withdrew over criticism of his handling of cases in which he allegedly had a conflict of interest. While his nomination for a United States District Court seat was pending, Holmes was nominated by President George W. Bush on May 4, 2006 to fill a seat vacated by Judge Stephanie Kulp Seymour.[2] The United States Senate confirmed his nomination less than three months later on July 26, 2006 by a vote of 67-30.[3] Holmes is the fifth and last judge Bush appointed to the Tenth Circuit.

Notable cases[edit]

Holmes' first published opinion for the court, United States v. Ahidley, was released on May 25, 2007. Holmes wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel holding that a criminal defendant was improperly ordered to pay immediate restitution to the victim of his crime. Holmes was on the first federal appellate court panel to weigh affirmatively on the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry. He penned an important concurrence on the role of animus in the ban of same-sex marriage in Oklahoma.[4] In 2017, Holmes found that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act did not permit the United States Department of the Interior to force a state to participate in mediation with a tribe after the state had asserted its sovereign immunity.[5]


  1. ^ Myers, Jim (15 February 2006). "OKC lawyer gets federal judge nod". Tulsa World. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  2. ^ Pres. Nom. 1536, 109th Cong. (2006).
  3. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 109th Congress - 2nd Session".
  4. ^ Liptak, Adam (28 July 2014). "Opinion May Pose Obstacle for Same-Sex Unions" – via
  5. ^ Note, Recent Case: Tenth Circuit Holds that Severability Analysis Cannot Extend to Construing Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to Support an Administrative Remedy, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 1828 (2018).

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Stephanie Kulp Seymour
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit