Allyson Kay Duncan

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Allyson Duncan
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Assumed office
August 15, 2003
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by Samuel Ervin
Personal details
Born (1951-09-05) September 5, 1951 (age 67)
Durham, North Carolina, U.S.
Alma mater Hampton University
Duke University

Allyson Kay Duncan (born September 5, 1951, in Durham, North Carolina) is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She is the Fourth Circuit's first female African-American judge.


Duncan received a BA from Hampton University in 1972 and a JD from Duke University School of Law in 1975. She was an associate editor at the Lawyers Co-Operative Publishing Company from 1976 to 1977. Duncan then served for one year as a law clerk to Judge Julia Cooper Mack of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals from 1977 to 1978.

In 1978, Duncan joined the staff of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. By the time she left in 1986 she had served in a variety of important posts at the Commission: Appellate Attorney, Assistant to the Deputy General Counsel, Assistant to the Chairman, Acting Associate Legal Counsel, and Acting Legal Counsel. At one point, the then-head of the EEOC, Clarence Thomas, promoted Duncan as his chief of staff over another candidate, Anita Hill.[1]

At North Carolina Central University School of Law, Duncan served as an associate professor from 1986 to 1990, teaching Property Law, Appellate Advocacy, and Employment Discrimination. In 1990, she served briefly on the North Carolina Court of Appeals as an Associate Judge. She was appointed by Gov. James G. Martin to replace Charles Becton but lost the following election to James A. Wynn.[2]

Duncan was appointed a Commissioner of the North Carolina Utilities Commission in 1991 and remained in that post until 1998, when she joined the Raleigh office of Kilpatrick Stockton as a partner. She worked there until her appointment to the federal bench. Duncan became the first African-American president of the North Carolina Bar Association in 2003.[3]

Fourth Circuit nomination and confirmation

Duncan was nominated on April 28, 2003, by President George W. Bush to fill a vacancy on the Fourth Circuit created by Judge Samuel J. Ervin III, who died on September 18, 1999. A Republican, Duncan was supported by both Senators Elizabeth Dole and John Edwards, a departure from the trend toward partisan controversy over North Carolina appointments to the Fourth Circuit court.[4] Bill Clinton previously had nominated Professor S. Elizabeth Gibson to the seat late in his presidency, but Gibson never received a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing or vote before his presidency ended. The U.S. Senate confirmed Duncan by a vote of 93-0 on July 17, 2003, and she received her commission on August 15, 2003. She was the third judge nominated to the Fourth Circuit by Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate.


External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Samuel Ervin
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit