Powerful appeals court gets its first black chief judge

By | October 2, 2016

For Roger Gregory, serving as the first African-American chief judge of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond takes on even greater meaning when he thinks of who else has walked the halls of the building he now oversees. During the Civil War, the building that is now the appeals court housed the offices of Confederate President Jefferson Davis while he fought to maintain slavery.

“It’s a proud moment about how far our nation has come,” Gregory said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We have a ways to go, but we have come a long ways too.”

The 63-year-old, who was given a recess appointment to the court by President Bill Clinton and was reappointed by George W. Bush, took over this summer as chief judge of the powerful court, which hears cases from Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. His ascension to chief judges comes as the court weighs several high-profile cases, including a challenge to Virginia’s voter identification law. (AP)

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