Robert G. Doumar

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Robert George Doumar
Senior Judge of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Assumed office
April 30, 1996
Judge of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
In office
December 3, 1981 – April 30, 1996
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Richard Boykin Kellam
Succeeded by Jerome B. Friedman
Personal details
Born 1930 (age 91–92)
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Spouse(s) Dorothy Mundy
Alma mater University of Virginia
University of Virginia School of Law

Robert George Doumar (born 1930) is a United States federal judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Early life, education, and career

Doumar's father, George Doumar, was from Syria and immigrated to America in 1901. His mother came from Lebanon later in an arranged marriage. Both were Arabic-speaking Christians and both became U.S. citizens. The family-owned eatery, Doumar's, in Norfolk, Virginia still exists there, and features curb service, homemade barbecue, and handmade ice cream cones. Doumar's uncle, Abe Doumar, is credited with inventing the ice cream cone.[1]

Born in Norfolk, Doumar received a B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1951 and an LL.B. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1953. He was in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955, and was in private practice in Norfolk from 1955 to 1981. He ran, unsuccessfully, as a Republican for the Virginia House of Delegates in 1959 and 1961. He also lost a state Senate bid in 1967. He is married to the former Dorothy Mundy, who served as the Rector of Old Dominion University in Norfolk. He has two children and six grandchildren.[1]

Federal judicial service

As a delegate to three Republican national conventions, Doumar met California Governor Ronald Reagan, with whom he shared a skepticism about government and an admiration for individual rights. After Reagan won the White House, Senator John Warner, a law school classmate, sponsored Doumar for the bench. On November 5, 1981, President Reagan nominated Doumar to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia vacated by Richard B. Kellam. Doumar was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 3, 1981, and received his commission the same day. He received am LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1988, and assumed senior status on April 30, 1996.

A 17 August 1991 article entitled "Judge Inflames Aids Case" states: "U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar said that people infected with the AIDS virus 'should be shot' if they have unprotected sex."[2], [3]

Judge Doumar presided over the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi in the cases of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Jeffrey Spruill v.U.S. 243 F. Supp. 2d 527, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25492 (E.D. Va., 2002). Judge Doumar ruled that a U.S. citizen designated as an enemy combatant was entitled to a lawyer, and that the government had to provide evidence justifying his detention. The Fourth Circuit reversed Judge Doumar, but the Supreme Court reversed the Fourth Circuit and upheld Judge Doumar's basic rulings, 8-1, with multiple opinions. 542 U.S. 507 (2004).

He also presided over the case against the Government of Sudan arising out of the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen.

On 7 January 2016, in vacating Judge Doumar's sentence as "procedurally unreasonable" (US v. Martinovich), the Fourth Circuit stated: "Here, we are once again[fn 6] confronted with a case replete with the district court’s ill-advised comments and interference." Footnote 6: "See, e.g., United States v. Cherry, 720 F.3d 161, 167-69 (4th Cir. 2013); United States v. Ecklin, 528 F. App’x 357, 363(4th Cir. 2013); United States v. Garries, 452 F. App’x 304, 309-11 (4th Cir. 2011) (per curiam); Murphy v. United States, 383 F. App’x 326, 334 (4th Cir. 2010) (per curiam); United States v. Dabney, 71 F. App’x 207, 210 (4th Cir. 2003) (per curiam).".[4] The ABA Journal reported on the Fourth Circuit's opinion in a 13 January 2016 article: "Federal judge crossed the line with imprudent comments and trial interruptions, 4th Circuit says." [5]

On 19 April 2016, the Fourth Circuit reversed Judge Doumar's dismissal in G. G. v. Gloucester County School Board as to a transgender boy's Title IX claim.[6] Judge Doumar's opinion stated as to Title IX: "the Department of Education's interpretation [of Section 106.33] should not be given controlling weight". Judge Doumar's opinion as to a motion for a preliminary injunction stated: "The School Board contends that granting the preliminary injunction and allowing G.G. to use the male restroom would endanger the safety and privacy of other students" and "G.G.'s unsupported claims, which are mostly inadmissible hearsay, fail to show that his presence in the male restroom would not infringe upon the privacy of other students".[7] The Fourth Circuit rejected both of these assertions, concluding that "the record is devoid of any evidence tending to show that G.G.’s use of the boys’ restroom creates a safety issue," [8] and that Judge Doumar "abused [his] discretion when [he] denied G.G.’s request for a preliminary injunction without considering G.G.’s proffered evidence." [8]

In a 4 May 2016 letter regarding North Carolina House Bill 2 (H.B. 2), the US Department of Justice stated: H.B. 2 ... is facially discriminatory against transgender employees on the basis of sex because it treats transgender employees, whose gender identity does not match their “biological sex,” as defined by H.B. 2, differently from similarly situated non-transgender employees .... The US Department of Justice further stated: "Courts often consider Title VII and Title IX precedent together when analyzing discrimination claims" and "the Department sent letters addressed to ... the University of North Carolina similarly notifying them of our conclusion that they have engaged in violations of Title VII, as well as violations of Title IX and its implementing regulations".[9]


Legal offices
Preceded by
Richard Boykin Kellam
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Succeeded by
Jerome B. Friedman