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Richard J. Sullivan

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Richard J. Sullivan
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Assumed office
October 17, 2018
Appointed byDonald Trump
Preceded byRichard C. Wesley
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
In office
August 1, 2007 – October 25, 2018
Appointed byGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byMichael Mukasey
Succeeded byJennifer H. Rearden
Personal details
Born (1964-04-10) April 10, 1964 (age 60)
Manhasset, New York, U.S.
EducationCollege of William & Mary (BA)
Yale University (JD)

Richard Joseph Sullivan (born April 10, 1964) is an American lawyer who serves as a United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was formerly a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York from 2007 to 2018. He has been a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization. [1]

Background and education[edit]

Sullivan was born in Manhasset, New York. He graduated from Chaminade High School in 1982 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in government and English at the College of William & Mary in 1986. He received a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1990.[2]

Legal career[edit]

After law school, Sullivan worked as a law clerk to Judge David M. Ebel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and as a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.[2]

From 1994 to 2005, Sullivan served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he successfully prosecuted the Maisonet heroin organization, which sold approximately $100,000 worth of heroin per day in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx and carried out numerous murders in aid of its racketeering activity.[3] Among those prosecuted in that case was Bronx defense attorney Pat Stiso, who acted as house counsel to the RICO enterprise.[4] Other notable cases included the investigation and indictment of Mario Villanueva Madrid, who as governor of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo accepted millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels in exchange for providing safe passage for ton quantities of cocaine en route to the United States.[5] Madrid was eventually extradited to the United States, where he pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy.[6]

In 2002, Sullivan became chief of the newly created International Narcotics Trafficking Unit (INT), which was responsible for investigating and prosecuting the world's largest and most powerful narcotics organizations.[7] Among the noteworthy defendants prosecuted by that unit were Colombia kingpins Alberto Orlandez Gamboa, Diego Murillo Bejarano, and Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela; Afghan warlord Bashir Noorzai; Dutch ecstasy kingpin Henk Rommy; and the leadership of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Sullivan was named Prosecutor of the Year by the Federal Law Enforcement Association in 1998 and was awarded the Henry L. Stimson Medal from the New York City Bar Association in 2003.[8] In 2005, Sullivan joined Marsh, Inc., a global risk and insurances firm, as deputy general counsel for litigation.[9] He was named general counsel of Marsh in June 2006.

Federal judicial service[edit]

District court service[edit]

On February 15, 2007, Sullivan was nominated by President George W. Bush to the seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by Judge Michael Mukasey, who assumed senior status on August 1, 2006. Sullivan was confirmed by the United States Senate by a 99–0 vote on June 28, 2007,[10] and received his commission on August 1, 2007.[11] Sullivan was among the "Judges to Watch" named in the September 2012 issue of The American Lawyer.[12] Sullivan sits on the executive board of the New York American Inn of Court and is an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law, where he teaches courses on white collar crime and trial advocacy,[13] and Columbia Law School, where he teaches a course on sentencing.[14] In 2015, Above the Law listed Sullivan as one of several District Court "feeder" judges who have sent multiple former clerks on to Supreme Court clerkships.[15] His service on the district court terminated on October 25, 2018 when he was elevated to the court of appeals.[11]

Court of appeals service[edit]

On April 26, 2018, President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Sullivan to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.[16][17] On May 7, 2018, his nomination was sent to the Senate. He was nominated to the seat vacated by Judge Richard C. Wesley, who assumed senior status on August 1, 2016. On August 1, 2018, a hearing on his nomination was held before the Senate Judiciary Committee.[18] On September 13, 2018, his nomination was reported out of committee by a 17–4 vote.[19] On October 11, 2018, his nomination was confirmed by a 79–16 vote.[20] He received his judicial commission on October 17, 2018.[11]


  1. ^ "Richard Sullivan". Alliance for Justice. Retrieved June 19, 2024.
  2. ^ a b Severino, Carrie (April 29, 2018). "Who is Judge Richard Sullivan?". National Review. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  3. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (January 15, 1998). "U.S. Indicts Bronx Lawyer Accused of Abetting a Drug Gang". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  4. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (August 13, 1998). "Lawyer Admits He Held Clients' Drug Money". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  5. ^ "U.S. v. Madrid, 02 Cr. 416 (NRB), Indictment" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 28, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  6. ^ "Former Mexican Governor Pleads Guilty". The New York Times. Reuters. August 2, 2012 – via NYTimes.com.
  7. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (March 27, 2011). "For Prosecutor in New York, a Global Beat". The New York Times – via NYTimes.com.
  8. ^ "The Henry L. Stimson Medal".
  9. ^ "Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. – News Release".
  10. ^ "On the Nomination (Confirmation Richard Sullivan, of New York, to be US District Judge)".
  11. ^ a b c Richard J. Sullivan at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  12. ^ "Richard Sullivan".
  13. ^ Fordham. "Fordham online information – Academics – Colleges and Schools – Graduate Schools – School of Law – Faculty – Faculty Bios".
  14. ^ "Richard Sullivan".
  15. ^ Lat, David (August 20, 2015). "Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Ranking The Non-Traditional Feeder Judges". Above the Law.
  16. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Thirteenth Wave of Judicial Nominees and Seventh Wave of United States Marshal Nominees". whitehouse.gov. April 26, 2018. Retrieved April 26, 2018 – via National Archives. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  17. ^ Simmons, Christine (April 26, 2018). "White House Nominates SDNY's Sullivan for Second Circuit Bench". New York Law Journal. Law.com. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  18. ^ United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary: Nominations for August 1, 2018
  19. ^ "Results of Executive Business Meeting – September 13, 2018" (PDF). Senate Judiciary Committee.
  20. ^ "On the Nomination (Confirmation Richard J. Sullivan, of New York, to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit)". United States Senate. October 11, 2018. Retrieved October 11, 2018.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Succeeded by
Preceded by Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit