Joe L. Heaton
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|Joe L. Heaton|
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma|
Assumed office |
November 25, 2015
|Preceded by||Vicki Miles-LaGrange|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma|
Assumed office |
December 10, 2001
|Appointed by||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Ralph Gordon Thompson|
Joe L. Heaton|
1951 (age 66–67)
Northwestern Oklahoma State University (B.A.)|
University of Oklahoma College of Law (J.D.)
Joe L. Heaton (born 1951), is the Chief United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Education and career
Born in Alva, Oklahoma, Heaton received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 1973 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1976. He was a Legislative assistant to United States Senator Dewey F. Bartlett from 1976 to 1977. He was in private practice in Oklahoma City, from 1977 to 1992 and from 1993 to 1996, also serving as an adjunct instructor at the University of Central Oklahoma from 1980 to 1981 and from 1992 to 1993. Then he was elected as a Republican to serve in the Oklahoma House of Representatives as a state representative in 1984, and was re-elected three times, serving from 1985 to 1993. Next, Heaton was a special Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma from 1992 to 1993. Following that, he was a First Assistant United States Attorney of the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma from 1996 to 2001.
District court service
On September 4, 2001, Heaton was nominated by President George W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma vacated by Ralph Gordon Thompson. Heaton was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 6, 2001, and received his commission on December 10, 2001. He became Chief Judge on November 25, 2015.
In November 2012, Heaton ruled against Hobby Lobby in its bid not to be forced to provide emergency contraception to its employees. On July 19, 2013, he granted the company a preliminary injunction, barring HHS from enforcing the contraception mandate against Hobby Lobby and its affiliate Mardel Christian Bookstores.
- Stempel, Jonathan (2013-07-19). "Hobby Lobby wins a stay against birth control mandate". Reuters. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
- Joe L. Heaton at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
Ralph Gordon Thompson
| Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
| Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma|