The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) congratulated Judge Andre Davis of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit as he steps down from active service today.   

Judge Davis is the first and only African American to represent Maryland on the Fourth Circuit, which includes Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Carolinas.    

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.        

In 1995, President Clinton appointed Andre Davis to the U.S. District Court in Maryland.  Five years later, President Clinton nominated Davis to one of three Maryland seats on the Fourth Circuit but he was not confirmed.  The seat remained open until 2009, when President Obama re-nominated Davis.    

Judge Davis was the first African American nominated by President Obama to a federal judgeship.  He is one of nine African American circuit court judges appointed by President Obama nationwide.         

LDF’s President and Director-Counsel, Sherrilyn Ifill, who has known Judge Davis for decades, stated:  “We are indebted to Judge Davis for his extraordinary service on Maryland’s state and federal courts.  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.”           

Addressing the vacancy on the Fourth Circuit created by Judge Davis’ departure, LDF joined national civil rights organizations in urging President Obama to consider the extraordinary number of talented African American lawyers and judges in Maryland in choosing a successor.  Noting Maryland’s significant African American population, the civil rights organizations asked President Obama in a letter to “ensure that Maryland’s racial diversity continues to be reflected on Maryland’s federal appellate court.”