Biden picks Trump Judge Davis for 6th Circuit Court of Appeals
Washington – President Joe Biden on Wednesday nominated US District Court Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis for the Circuit Court of Appeals of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The White House said that if confirmed, She would be the first Black woman from Michigan to serve in the 6th District and only the second Black woman ever to serve in the 6th District serving Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee appeals.
Davis, a former federal prosecutor from Farmington Hills, was appointed by former President Donald Trump almost three years ago to serve on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. It was confirmed by the Senate ballot in December 2019 and is based in the US Courthouse in Flint.
“Judge Dawkins is a talented attorney, an outstanding judge and a person of great integrity,” said former US attorney Barb McQuade, who has known Davis for 25 years and is now a professor at the University of Michigan Law School.
“We could not find a better candidate to serve on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. In fact, she would make an excellent Supreme Court judge.”
There is a vacancy at the Court of Appeals since Judge Helene White assumed senior status.
Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond Law School who is watching the court selection process, predicted that the Senate would confirm Davis “quickly” given her “wealth” of relevant experience.
“The promotion of district judges to the Courts of Appeals is a revered convention that all modern presidents adopt because the nominees have been confirmed by the Senate once, bring much relevant expertise, and have comprehensive, accessible records for the Senate to examine,” he said .
Since joining Eastern District Court, Davis has been suspended by the 6th Circuit at least once. The 2020 case involved a Democratic group trying to invalidate Michigan’s ban on transporting voters to elections.
Davis had found the transportation ban conflicted with U.S. electoral law, but an appellate panel overruled it 2-1, saying federal law makes exceptions to state laws.
The panel also said it was “strange” that the federal law Davis cited had been in effect for nearly 50 years and “no one” had attempted to use it to challenge Michigan’s law or other state laws related to non-monetary electoral spending.
More:Federal Appellate Body upholds Michigan voter transportation ban
Davis grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. She was a young college student when she became interested in the law because of the landmark 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional.
She graduated from Wichita State University in 1989 and from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis in 1992.
Davis previously served as a judge and was appointed in 2016. One of her high-profile cases involved the charges against Amor Ftouhi in connection with the 2017 terror attack and stabbing attack at Flint’s Bishop International Airport. Ftouhi was later convicted.
Davis began her career as a civil defense attorney with Detroit-based law firm Dickinson Wright PLLC before joining the United States Attorney’s Office, where she worked for 18 years as a federal attorney, beginning in 1997. She was later appointed by McQuade to be her Executive Assistant US Attorney in 2010 — a position she held until 2015.
One of Davis’ last major cases as Assistant US Attorney was part of a team prosecuting former Detroit Treasurer Jeffrey Beasley and others in a corruption lawsuit involving the city’s pension funds.
In the case, allegations were made that Beasley and two others defrauded the bankrupt city’s pension funds by accepting kickbacks and bribes worth $200 million in exchange for authorizing corrupt deals. Beasley was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2015.
Davis also served as deputy chief of the Controlled Substances Unit and as a liaison in areas of high-intensity drug trafficking. She has also been involved in community initiatives such as Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust and was co-chair of the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.
Davis was the first black woman Trump nominated for president of the Bundesbank. Her nomination followed months of negotiations between the White House and US Sentinels Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, and Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township.
Stabenow and Peters both welcomed Wednesday’s nomination, with Stabenow saying Davis “demonstrated her excellent work as a thoughtful and fair judge.”
“I applaud Judge Davis’ historic nomination and look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure it is confirmed by the Senate,” said Peters.