About Today's Judges - The Fourth Circuit Selection


By Hadley Heath

It was not until this morning that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond released the identity of the three randomly selected judges from its 14-member bench that would hear the cases on “ObamaCare.”  Of its 14 judges, the Fourth Circuit is comprised of: 4 Obama nominees, 3 G.W. Bush nominees, 3 Clinton nominees, 2 G.H.W. Bush nominees, 1 Reagan nominee, and 1 judge, the Honorable Dennis Shedd, who was a Clinton recess nomination, re-nominated by G.W. Bush in 2000).

Here is a list of all the Fourth Circuit judges (from the Fourth Circuit Web site) and their nominator:

  • Chief Judge William B. Traxler, Jr. – Clinton
  • Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III – Reagan
  • Judge Paul V. Niemeyer – G.H.W. Bush
  • Judge Diana Gribbon Motz – Clinton   
  • Judge Robert B. King – Clinton
  • Judge Roger L. Gregory – G.W. Bush
  • Judge Dennis W. Shedd – Clinton (recess appointment, re-appointed by G.W. Bush)
  • Judge Allyson K. Duncan – G.W. Bush
  • Judge G. Steven Agee – G.W. Bush
  • Judge Andre M. Davis – Obama
  • Judge Barbara Milano Keenan – Obama
  • Judge James A. Wynn, Jr. – Obama
  • Judge Albert Diaz – Obama
  • Senior Judge Clyde H. Hamilton – G.H.W. Bush

The three judges who will hear the Liberty University case and the Virginia case today in Richmond are:

  • Judge Diana Gribbon Motz – Clinton
  • Judge Andre M. Davis – Obama
  • Judge James A. Wynn, Jr. – Obama

Ouch.  It’s no secret that VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a Republican (like the vast majority of the AG’s on the Florida case).  It’s also no secret that Democrats were responsible for passing the health care law in question.  It’s got to be discouraging for Liberty University and the Commonwealth of Virginia to see that two of the judges on today’s panel were nominated by “Obama,” and the law in question is… “ObamaCare.”

I’ve written before about the politics of these cases, urging policymakers and judges alike to see beyond the political parties involved.  But realistically, let’s face it, the members of the Fourth Circuit were nearly half nominated by Republicans, half by Democrats.  Only four of 14 were Obama nominations.  This three-judge panel that Appellant Liberty and Appellee Virginia face today is quite the unlucky draw.


Back to Previous Page