Martha Craig Daughtrey

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Martha Craig Daughtrey
Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Assumed office
January 1, 2009
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
In office
November 22, 1993 – January 1, 2009
Appointed byBill Clinton
Preceded bySeat established by 104 Stat. 5089
Succeeded byJane Branstetter Stranch
Personal details
Born (1942-06-22) June 22, 1942 (age 76)
Covington, Kentucky
EducationVanderbilt University (B.A.)
Vanderbilt University Law School (J.D.)

Martha Craig "Cissy"[1] Daughtrey (/ˈdɔːtri/;[2] née Kirko;[2][spelling?] born July 21, 1942) is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Covington, Kentucky, her father Spence Emo Kirko,[spelling?] died from an infection, following wisdom teeth extraction, when she was barely a year old. Her mother took her to live in Franklin, Kentucky. Her mother remarried in 1947 when Martha was about 5.[2] Daughtrey received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University in 1964 and a Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1968.


She was briefly in private practice in Nashville, Tennessee in 1968, then became an Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, stationed in Nashville, from 1968 to 1969. She was an assistant district attorney for the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Tennessee, also in Nashville, from 1969 to 1972. She was a member of the faculty of the Vanderbilt University Law School, as an assistant professor of law from 1972 to 1975 and as a lecturer in law from 1975 to 1982, returning as an adjunct professor from 1988 to 1990. She was an Associate judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Middle Division from 1975 to 1990, becoming an Associate Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, the first woman to serve on this court, from 1990 until her appointment to the federal bench in 1993.

Federal judicial service[edit]

On August 6, 1993, Daughtrey was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a new seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, created by 104 Stat. 5089. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 20, 1993, and received her commission on November 22, 1993. She assumed senior status on January 1, 2009.

Notable case[edit]

On November 6, 2014, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals released their ruling in DeBoer v. Snyder, upholding same-sex marriage bans in four states in which Daughtrey dissented. This ran counter to rulings by the United States Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th circuits.

Daughtrey wrote:

Because the correct result is so obvious, one is tempted to speculate that the majority has purposefully taken the contrary position to create the circuit split regarding the legality of same-sex marriage that could prompt a grant of certiorari by the Supreme Court and an end to the uncertainty of status and the interstate chaos that the current discrepancy in state laws threatens.[3][4][5][6]

The United States Supreme Court later granted writ of certiorari to the case to review same-sex marriage bans when it previously declined to do so.[7][8]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Larry Daughtrey, a journalist,[2] her daughter, S. Carran Daughtrey (b. 1964),[2] her only child, is an Assistant United States Attorney, appearing in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (one of the subordinate courts to the Sixth Circuit) and currently teaching at Vanderbilt University Law School.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b President's Perspective: Celebration of women lawyer pioneers to be held in June, Kathryn Reed Edge, Tennessee Bar Association Journal, April 2001. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e Tennessee Bar Association, Fellows' Legal History Project, Interview No. 63 of Martha Craig Daughtrey by Cornelia A. Clark (Apr 9, 2010) Nashville, Tennessee on YouTube
  3. ^ DeBoer, et. al. v. Snyder, et. al., 14-1341, 55 (6th Circuit November 6, 2014).
  4. ^ Mark Joseph Stern (November 7, 2014). "Read the Hilarious, Humane Dissent From the 6th Circuit's Awful Gay Marriage Ruling". Slate. New York, N.Y: The Slate Group.
  5. ^ Ryan J. Reilly (November 7, 2014). "In Blistering Dissent, Appeals Court Judge Slams Colleagues Who Upheld Gay Marriage Bans". The Huffington Post.
  6. ^ Matthew J. Franck (November 11, 2014). "Judge Daughtrey's Tantrum". National Review.
  7. ^ Wolf, Richard (7 November 2014). "Gay marriage bans in four states upheld, Supreme Court review likely". USA Today. Gannett. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  8. ^ Wolf, Richard (16 January 2015). "Supreme Court agrees to rule on Gay Marriage". USA Today. Retrieved 7 May 2015.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 104 Stat. 5089
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Succeeded by
Jane Branstetter Stranch