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Busy morning in Richmond

This morning a panel of three judges on the 4th U.S. Court of AppealsPaul V. Niemeyer (presiding at the argument), Roger L. Gregory and Henry F. Floyd — will hear arguments in the same-sex marriage case out of Virginia, Bostic v. Schaefer.  In February 2014, U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ruled that the state’s 2006 ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Niemeyer got his start on the federal bench as a U.S. District Judge in 1988, after his appointment by President Ronald Reagan, and ascended to the Fourth Circuit in 1990 via President George H.W. Bush.  Gregory, the first African American to sit on the Fourth Circuit, was originally a Clinton recess appointee who was then reappointed by President George W. Bush. Floyd was initially appointed the U.S. District Court in South Carolina by President George W. Bush in 2003 and then to the Fourth Circuit by President Barack Obama in 2011.

A recording of the argument will be available after 2 p.m. at this link.

At the same time, a different panel will hear argument in the case concerning the fate of the Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks, Defenders of  Wildlife v. N.C. Dep’t of Transportation.  In September 2013, U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan ruled that North Carolina could move forward with a newly-conceived plan which Defenders of Wildlife and other environmental groups say is short-sighted and environmentally unsound.

The judges hearing the Bonner Bridge appeal are Allyson K. Duncan, James A. Wynn Jr. and J. Michelle Childs (sitting by designation from South Carolina). Duncan, a Durham, N.C. native, was appointed to the Fourth Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2003 to the seat vacated by Samuel J. Ervin III, and is the first African American woman to sit on the court.  Wynn, also a North Carolina native, served on the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court before his appointment to the Fourth Circuit by President Barack Obama in 2010, the same year the President also appointed Childs to the court.

On an unrelated note, late last week the President nominated Pamela Harris to serve on the Fourth Circuit, filling the Maryland slot left open when U.S. Circuit Judge Andre Davis took senior status at the end of February.

Read more about Harris here.

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