Richard Allen Griffin
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit|
June 10, 2005
|Appointed by||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Damon Keith|
|Born||April 1952 (age 61)
Traverse City, Michigan, U.S.
|Alma mater||Western Michigan University
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Richard Allen Griffin (born April 15, 1952) is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Previously, he was a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Griffin, born in Traverse City, Michigan, is the son of former U.S. Senator Robert P. Griffin. He received a B.A. magna cum laude from Western Michigan University in 1971 and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1977.
Sixth Circuit nomination and confirmation
On June 26, 2002, Bush nominated Griffin to a Michigan seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit vacated by Damon J. Keith, who had taken senior status in 1995. Previously, on November 8, 2001, President Bush had nominated Henry Saad, David W. McKeague and Susan Bieke Neilson to three other Michigan seats on the Sixth Circuit. During the Democratic-controlled 107th Congress, all four nominations were stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee by then chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy, D-VT. In its assessment of his nomination, the Independent Judiciary project of the liberal group Alliance for Justice described Griffin as a "deeply conservative jurist".
In the 2002 midterm congressional elections, the Republicans regained control of the Senate. During the new 108th Congress, Senator Orrin Hatch, R-UT, the new Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee began to process the previously blocked four nominees. In March 2003, Michigan's two Democratic senators, Carl Levin (who defeated Griffin's father, Robert P. Griffin, in his bid for re-election in 1978) and Debbie Stabenow announced that they would blue-slip all Bush judicial nominees from Michigan because Bush refused to renominate Helene White and Kathleen McCree Lewis, two Michigan nominees to the Sixth Circuit whose nominations the Senate Republicans had refused to process during President Bill Clinton's second term. Helene White at the time was married to Levin's cousin.
Contrary to Levin's and Stabenow's wishes, Hatch gave Saad, McKeague and Griffin committee hearings, and passed the three nominees out of committee. Furious, Levin and Stabenow convinced their caucus to filibuster the three in order to prevent them from having confirmation votes.
The Senate Republicans increased their numbers in the 109th Congress. Tensions between the Republicans and Democrats rose dramatically as the Republicans sought to break the filibusters of ten Bush court of appeals nominees (including Saad, McKeague and Griffin) by using the nuclear option. In order to defuse the explosive situation concerning the Republican use of the "nuclear option" in response to Democrats' rejection of President Bush's judicial nominations, fourteen moderate Republican and Democratic senators called the Gang of 14 joined together to forge an agreement to guarantee certain filibustered nominations up or down votes. Henry Saad and William Myers, however, were expressly excluded from the guarantee.
As part of the Gang of 14 Deal, Griffin was eventually confirmed on June 9, 2005, by a vote of 95-0. In the end, both Levin and Stabenow voted in favor of his confirmation. McKeague was confirmed on the same day. Griffin was the sixth judge nominated to the Sixth Circuit by Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate.
- Bill Clinton judicial appointment controversies
- George W. Bush judicial appointment controversies
- nuclear option
- Gang of 14
- U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy biography
- White House Judicial Nominations profile and statements of support
- Richard Allen Griffin 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 Sixth Circuit