Judge Andre Davis of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stepped down from active service on the bench on February 28.
Davis, the youngest of three Maryland-based judges on the court, is eligible for senior status upon turning 65 because he has served as an Article III judge since becoming a U.S. District Judge in 1995. He is the first of six Obama appointees to that court to take the step, which creates a new Maryland vacancy to be filled by the president.
The Fourth Circuit has had a full complement of 15 judges since Obama’s last appointment in 2012, West Virginia’s Stephanie D. Thacker.
Judge Davis was born in Baltimore, Md., in 1949. He was initially appointed to the U.S. District Court there by President Clinton in 1995 and then to the Fourth Circuit by President Obama in 2009.
Davis is the first and only African American to represent Maryland on the Fourth Circuit, which includes Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Carolinas. He was also the first African American nominated by President Obama to a federal judgeship and one of nine African American circuit court judges appointed by the president nationwide.
A native of Baltimore, Andre Davis graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law and clerked for Maryland District Judge Frank Kaufman and Fourth Circuit Judge Francis Murnaghan. Davis worked as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, taught at the University of Maryland School of Law, and served as a judge for nearly a decade on Maryland’s state trial courts.
“We are indebted to Judge Davis for his extraordinary service on Maryland’s state and federal courts,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. “Judge Davis played a historic role in diversifying Maryland’s federal appellate bench, and he made enormous contributions to that court’s jurisprudence. He is held in the highest regard by the communities served by the court, his colleagues on the bench, and all who appeared before him.”
Ifill and the LDF joined other civil rights organizations in a letter urging President Obama to “ensure that Maryland’s racial diversity continues to be reflected on Maryland’s federal appellate court.”