U.S. Sixth Circuit - The FindLaw 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Justice Joan Larsen Confirmed to Sixth Circuit

Justice Joan Larsen will join the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, becoming the second woman confirmed to a federal appeals court by the Senate this week.

Larsen also becomes the ninth woman on the Sixth Circuit, bringing her perspective to a court where men outnumber women two to one. The female jurist is hardly defined by gender, but her appointment represents clear differences in the judiciary.

In addition to more women, President Trump has appointed more judges in a shorter period of time than the last two presidents. New judges are coming on strong.

Breaking Rank

Until her appointment, Larsen had been on the President's short list of potential Supreme Court nominees. She comes most recently from the Michigan Supreme Court, where she served for about two years.

The Senate approved her 60-38, including votes from Michigan's two Democratic Senators. They had previously expressed some reservations about the Republican nominee -- dragging out the process for five months -- but they broke rank with most of their colleagues after reconsideration.

"I had a productive meeting with Justice Larsen earlier this summer when we discussed her nomination," Sen. Debbie Stabenow said. "Based on this meeting and the feedback I received from constituents and leaders in Michigan's legal community, I voted in support of her nomination on the Senate floor."

Sen. Diane Feinstein voted against the nomination, saying she had questions about Larsen's views on executive power.

Short-List, Short Record

Larsen, 48, graduated first in her class from Northwestern University's law school in 1990. She started her career clerking for David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and later Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court.

She worked briefly as an associate for Sidley Austin and then as deputy assistant attorney general in the Bush Administration. She turned to teaching in 1998 at the University of Michigan law school, where she also served as special counsel to the dean.

Gov. Rick Snyder appointed her to the Michigan Supreme Court in 2015. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines, 11-9, to send her nomination to the full Senate last month.

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