Douglas H. Ginsburg

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Douglas Ginsburg
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
In office
July 16, 2001 – February 11, 2008
Preceded by Harry Edwards
Succeeded by David Sentelle
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
In office
October 14, 1986 – October 14, 2011
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Skelly Wright
Succeeded by Nina Pillard
Personal details
Born Douglas Howard Ginsburg
(1946-05-25) May 25, 1946 (age 72)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Spouse(s) Claudia DeSecundy (1968–1980)
Hallee Perkins Morgan (Divorced)
Deecy Gray (2007–present)
Alma mater Cornell University
University of Chicago

Douglas Howard Ginsburg (born May 25, 1946) is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was appointed to this court in October 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. He served as its Chief Judge from July 16, 2001, until February 10, 2008. Ginsburg was picked by Reagan to fill a United States Supreme Court vacancy in 1987, but the judge withdrew from consideration after his earlier marijuana use created a controversy.

Ginsburg took senior status on October 14, 2011, and joined the faculty of New York University School of Law in January 2012.[1] He is the author of numerous scholarly works on antitrust and constitutional law.[2] He is not related to Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Early life

Ginsburg was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Katherine (née Goodmont) and Maurice Ginsburg.[3] He graduated from The Latin School of Chicago in 1963, then attended Cornell University. After dropping out in 1965 due to "boredom", he invested in and helped run Operation Match, an early computer dating service based in Boston. Returning to Cornell in 1968 after selling the company, Ginsburg received his bachelor of science degree in 1970.[4][5] He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1973, where he served on the University of Chicago Law Review with Frank Easterbrook. Ginsburg then became a law clerk first for Judge Carl McGowan on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and then for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.[6]

Teaching and other public service experience

From 1975 to 1983 Ginsburg was a professor at Harvard Law School. From 1983 to 1986 he served in the Reagan administration, as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, in the Office of Management and Budget, and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. From 1988 until 2008 he was an Adjunct Professor at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia, where he taught a seminar called "Readings in Legal Thought."[7] Until 2011 he was also a Visiting Lecturer and Charles J. Merriam Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School in Chicago, Illinois. Ginsburg has been a visiting professor at Columbia University Law School (1987–1988) and a visiting scholar at New York Law School (2006–2008). He is currently a Professor of Law at George Mason University and a Visiting Professor at the University of London, Faculty of Laws.[8] He serves on the advisory boards of the Global Antitrust Institute (Chairman), the Jevons Institute for Competition Law and Economics and the Centre for Law, Economics, and Society, both at University College London, Faculty of Laws; Competition Policy International; Journal of Competition Law & Economics; Journal of Law, Economics & Policy; Supreme Court Economic Review; University of Chicago Law Review; and the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.

He was a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 2001–2008, and previously served on its Budget Committee, 1997–2001, and Committee on Judicial Resources, 1987–1996; American Bar Association, Antitrust Section, Council, 1985–1986 (ex officio), 2000–2003 and 2009–2012 (judicial liaison); Boston University Law School, Visiting Committee, 1994–1997; and University of Chicago Law School, Visiting Committee, 1985–1988.

U.S. Supreme Court nomination

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan announced his intention to nominate Ginsburg to the United States Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Lewis F. Powell. Ginsburg was chosen after a Senate controlled by Democrats had rejected the nomination of Judge Robert Bork after a bruising confirmation battle.

Ginsburg's nomination would collapse for entirely different reasons from Bork's rejection, as he almost immediately came under some fire when NPR's Nina Totenberg[9] revealed that Ginsburg had used marijuana "on a few occasions" during his student days in the 1960s and while an Assistant Professor at Harvard in the 1970s. It was Ginsburg's continued use of marijuana after graduation and as a professor that made his actions more serious in the minds of many Senators and members of the public.[10][11]

Due to these allegations, Ginsburg withdrew his name from consideration, and remained serving on U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, serving as chief judge for most of the 2000s. Anthony Kennedy was then nominated and confirmed as the 107th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

See also


  1. "D.C. Circuit Judge Ginsburg to Join NYU Law Faculty – The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times". 2011-09-02. Retrieved 2014-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "SSRN Author Page for Ginsburg, Douglas H". Retrieved 2014-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Broder, John M. (November 8, 1987). "Collapse of the Ginsburg Nomination: At the End, Ginsburg Stood Alone – and Still a Puzzle". Los Angeles Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Shenon, Philip (1987-10-30). "Nominee Left College to Be Matchmaker". The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Mathews, T. Jay (1965-11-03). "Operation Match". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved April 20, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. George Mason Law (2013-07-03). "Ginsburg, Douglas – George Mason Law". Retrieved 2014-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Offerings | University of Chicago Law School". Retrieved 2014-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Faculty of Laws – People". UCL. 2014-06-02. Retrieved 2014-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Totenberg, Nina. "Nina Totenberg". NPR. Retrieved 2014-08-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. The Washington Post: "Media Frenzies in Our Time" Special to the [1]
  11. Ginsburg was also accused of a financial conflict of interest during his work in the Reagan Administration, but a Department of Justice investigation under the Ethics in Government Act found that allegation baseless in a February 1988 report. Hall, Kermit, ed., The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, page 339, Oxford Press, 1992

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Skelly Wright
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Succeeded by
Nina Pillard
Preceded by
Harry Edwards
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Succeeded by
David Sentelle