Advance Notice: Briefs

Biden nominates Stephanie Dawkins Davis to federal appeals bench

By: - February 3, 2022 6:20 am

Stephanie Dawkins Davis | State Bar of Michigan awards screenshot

President Joe Biden has nominated Stephanie Dawkins Davis to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Davis would be the first African-American woman from Michigan, and the second African-American woman in history, to serve on the Sixth Circuit.

Davis was nominated by former President Donald Trump and has been a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Michigan since December 2019. She is based in Flint. She is a graduate of Wichita State University and Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Mo.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has appellate jurisdiction over the federal district courts in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

“President Biden made the right choice — Judge Davis is an outstanding candidate to serve on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Her time at the Eastern District of Michigan has demonstrated her excellent work as a thoughtful and fair judge. I know she will continue this work on the Sixth Circuit, and I look forward to moving her nomination through the Senate confirmation process,” said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing).

Davis previously served as a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2016 to 2019 and also has worked as an executive assistant to the U.S. attorney in that office.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) called Davis a “highly qualified jurist.” 

“I applaud the historic nomination of Judge Davis and look forward to working alongside my colleagues to see to it that she is confirmed by the Senate,” said Peters. 

Davis would join Wade McCree, Damon Keith and Eric Clay as African Americans from Michigan who have served on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Bernice Bouie Donald of Tennessee is the first Black woman to serve on the body. Both Clay, a President Bill Clinton nominee, and Donald, a President Barack Obama nominee, currently sit on the panel. 

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.