About the DC Circuit

The DC Circuit handles matters arising in the District of Columbia, which means primarily matters relating to the actions and activities of the federal government. It has twelve seats, three of which are vacant. Seven judges are male and two are female. Two are African American.

Reproductive Rights in the DC Circuit

Grade: B

The DC Circuit is the preeminent federal appeals court in the country, second only in importance to the US Supreme Court. Although many federal matters reach the court, the only geographic jurisdiction covered by this circuit is the District of Columbia, which receives average marks on reproductive rights - achieving an overall grade of B. However, one of the unique qualities of DC's law is that under the District's "home rule" charter, the US Congress may overturn any locally passed law. While DC maintains a relatively positive record on choice, it will be up to the judges in this circuit to continue to uphold or deny a woman's reproductive rights in the face of legislative obstacles.

NCJW thanks the NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation for the use of data contained in the "2005 Report Card on Women’s Reproductive Rights" included in Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States, 14th edition, 2005 In this publication, NARAL Pro-Choice America assigned each state and the District of Columbia a letter grade based on the nature of reproductive rights laws in 19 categories. These grades were averaged to offer a general overview of the status of reproductive rights in each circuit.
Pending Nominees to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals

Janice Rogers Brown
Brett Kavanaugh
Thomas B. Griffith

Judges on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals

Douglas Howard Ginsburg, Chief Judge,
appointed 10/14/86 by President Ronald Reagan

Harry Thomas Edwards,
appointed 2/20/80 by President Jimmy Carter

David Bryan Sentelle,
appointed 9/11/87 by President Ronald Reagan

Karen LeCraft Henderson,
appointed 7/5/90 by President George Bush

Arthur Raymond Randolph,
appointed 7/16/90 by President George Bush

Judith Ann Wilson Rogers,
appointed 3/11/94 by President William Clinton

David S. Tatel,
appointed, 10/7/94 by President William Clinton

Merrick B. Garland,
appointed, 3/20/97 by President William Clinton

John G. Roberts, Jr.
appointed 6/2/03 by President George W. Bush