Raymond Gruender

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Raymond W. Gruender
Raymond Gruender US Attorney.jpg
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Assumed office
June 5, 2004
Appointed byGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byPasco Bowman II
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri
In office
October 2001 – June 2004
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byAudrey G. Fleissig
Succeeded byJames Martin
Personal details
Born (1963-07-05) July 5, 1963 (age 59)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationWashington University in St. Louis (BA, MBA, JD)

Raymond W. Gruender (born July 5, 1963) is a United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Education and early career[edit]

Gruender was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from the prestigious Jesuit, all-boy college College-preparatory school, St. Louis University High School, in 1981. He then attended Washington University in St. Louis and Washington University School of Law and earned three degrees: a Bachelor of Arts, a Juris Doctor, and a Master of Business Administration. In 2006, he received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from the law school.[1]

Prior to joining the federal bench, Gruender worked as an attorney both in private practice and public service. After law school, he was in private practice at Lewis, Rice & Fingersh from 1987 to 1990, at which point he became an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. In 1994, he ran for election as St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney and lost to the incumbent. He then returned to private practice at Thompson Coburn. In 1996, he was the Missouri state campaign director for Bob Dole's president campaign.[2] In 2000, he left Thompson Coburn to rejoin the United States Attorneys' Office, and in 2001 he became the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, a position he remained in until his confirmation to the Eighth Circuit in 2004.[3]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Gruender was nominated to the Eighth Circuit by President George W. Bush on September 29, 2003 to fill a seat vacated by Judge Pasco Bowman II. The United States Senate confirmed him almost eight months later on May 20, 2004 by a 97–1 vote, with the only vote against his confirmation coming from U.S. Senator Tom Harkin.[4] Gruender received his commission on June 5, 2004.[5]


Gruender authored the Eighth Circuit's opinion in In Re Union Pacific Railroad Employment Practices Litigation, No. 06-1706, which concluded that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 did not give female employees the right to insurance coverage for contraceptives used solely to prevent pregnancy.[6][7] This opinion has been cited in the context of the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contraception mandate.[8][9]

In Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota v. Rounds, No. 05-3093, a panel of the Eighth Circuit upheld an injunction that struck down a South Dakota informed consent law that required abortion providers to inform patients, among other things, that an "abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being." Gruender dissented, arguing that the law was constitutional and did not unduly burden women seeking abortions or infringe on the freedom of speech of physicians. The Eighth Circuit heard the case en banc and ruled in 2008 by a vote of 7–4, in an opinion authored by Gruender, that the law was, on its face, constitutional.[10][11]

In Little Rock School District v. North Little Rock School District, No. 04-2923 (2006), Gruender opposed the opinion of a panel of the Eighth Circuit that affirmed the district court's conclusion that federal desegregation monitoring should remain in effect in Little Rock, Arkansas. After the desegregation effort of the Little Rock Nine in 1957, the federal government began monitoring the school district in 1965. The Eighth Circuit agreed with the district court that the Little Rock district did not successfully evaluate its academic programs for how well they helped black students. Gruender dissented, arguing that the district court abused its discretion in mandating federal monitoring by using "impossibly subjective" criteria. The district court subsequently agreed with Gruender's reasoning and freed the school district from federal desegregation monitoring. In 2009, the Eighth Circuit then upheld the district court's decision in another appeal, No. 07-1866.[12][13]

Possible Supreme Court nomination[edit]

Gruender has been consistently mentioned as a possible nominee for the Supreme Court in a Republican administration.[14][15] On May 18, 2016, then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced that Gruender was on his list of potential Supreme Court nominees.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "WULS: Raymond W. Gruender". Archived from the original on June 4, 2010. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
  2. ^ "DOLE WON'T DEBATE PEROT DURING VISIT: BUT GOP CANDIDATE WILL SPEAK AT SLU.(News) – HighBeam Business: Arrive Prepared". Archived from the original on May 31, 2016.
  3. ^ Johnson, Matthew E. (December 2004). "New Faces on the 8th Circuit: Do Recent Appointments Portend a Change?". Bench & Bar of Minnesota. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  4. ^ "On the Nomination (Confirmation Raymond W. Gruender of Missouri to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit)".
  5. ^ Raymond Gruender at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  6. ^ Walter, Donna (March 21, 2007). "8th Circuit rules pregnancy act doesn't require contraceptive". The Kansas City Daily News-Press. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  7. ^ "Eighth Circuit Holds That Benefits Plans Excluding All Contraceptives Do Not Discriminate Based on Sex" (PDF). Harvard Law Review. 121: 1447–1454. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 31, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  8. ^ "The EEOC and Federal Contraceptive Regulation". National Review. March 23, 2012.
  9. ^ "The Persecution of Belmont Abbey". October 26, 2009.
  10. ^ Colb, Sherry (July 9, 2008). "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit Approves An "Informed Consent" Requirement for Abortions: The Slippery Quality of Statutory Definitions". FindLaw's Writ. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  11. ^ Slevin, Peter (July 20, 2008). "Ruling Gives South Dakota Doctors a Script to Read". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  12. ^ Bartels, Charles (April 2, 2009). "Little Rock school desegregation order upheld". FOX News. Associated Press. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  13. ^ "Court upholds Little Rock desegregation". Bay State Banner. Associated Press. June 29, 2006. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  14. ^ "8 Highly Qualified Candidates to Serve on the Supreme Court". March 30, 2016.
  15. ^ "The Daily 202: Key conservatives pushing Mike Lee for the Supreme Court". The Washington Post.
  16. ^ "ABC News". ABC News.
  17. ^ Colvin, Jill. "Trump Unveils List of His Top Supreme Court Picks". Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 19, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2016.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri
Succeeded by
Preceded by Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit