Robert L. Wilkins

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Robert Leon Wilkins
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Incumbent
Assumed office
December 27, 2010
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byJames Robertson
Personal details
Born1963 (age 48–49)
Muncie, Indiana
Alma materRose–Hulman Institute of Technology (B.S.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
 
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Robert Leon Wilkins
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Incumbent
Assumed office
December 27, 2010
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byJames Robertson
Personal details
Born1963 (age 48–49)
Muncie, Indiana
Alma materRose–Hulman Institute of Technology (B.S.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)

Robert Leon Wilkins (born 1963) is a United States district judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He was previously an attorney in Washington, D.C.

Contents

Early life and education

Wilkins was born in 1963 in Muncie, Indiana,[1] where he was raised by a single mother.[2] He studied chemical engineering at Rose–Hulman Institute of Technology and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1986.[3] Wilkins then earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1989.[4] After completing law school, Wilkins served as a law clerk for Judge Earl B. Gilliam of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.[5]

Professional career

Wilkins worked at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia from 1990 to 2002,[1] serving as chief of special litigation from 1996 to 2000.[4] Since 2002, Wilkins has been a partner at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Venable LLP.[6]

Wilkins was a member of the presidential commission that advised President George W. Bush on the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture.[7]

Judicial service

During the 111th Congress, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton recommended Wilkins for filling a vacancy on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.[8] On May 20, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Wilkins to a judgeship on the District Court for the District of Columbia.[4] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 22, 2010.[9] Wilkins received his commission on December 27, 2010.[10]

Wilkins v. Maryland State Police

In May 1992, Wilkins was in a rented vehicle with three other family members when they were pulled over by Maryland State Police for violating the speed limit.[11] At the time, the Maryland State Police Department instructed their officers to focus on black males in expensive vehicles when conducting traffic stops.[12] Wilkins filed suit in the case of Wilkins v. Maryland State Police and eventually won a "landmark" settlement against the state of Maryland.[12][13] As part of the case settlement, Maryland was required to maintain records of all traffic stops that resulted in vehicle search requests.[12] The case helped bring national attention to the practice of racial profiling and helped popularize the term "driving while black".[14][15]

References

  1. ^ a b Senate Judiciary Committee Questionnaire: Robert Leon Wilkins, (May 19, 2010).
  2. ^ Grant Smith, Alumnus Robert Wilkins Clears Next Hurdle in Nomination to Become U.S. District Court Judge, Rose–Hulman Alumni Affairs (August 5, 2010).
  3. ^ a b c President Obama Names Three to United States District Court, whitehouse.gov (May 20, 2010).
  4. ^ Grant Smith, Obama Nominates Alumnus Robert Wilkins for Federal Bench in Washington, D.C., Rose–Hulman Alumni Affairs (June 1, 2010).
  5. ^ Amanda Becker, Venable partner nominated U.S. District Court seat, The Washington Post (May 31, 2010).
  6. ^ Lynette Clemetson, Smithsonian Picks Notable Spot for Its Museum of Black History, New York Times (January 31, 2006).
  7. ^ Mike Scarcella, Venable's Robert Wilkins Nominated for Federal Bench in D.C., The Blog of Legal Times (May 20, 2010).
  8. ^ David Ingram, Senate Confirms Five Judicial Nominees, The Blog of Legal Times (December 22, 2010).
  9. ^ Robert L. Wilkins at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  10. ^ Muffler, Steven J. Racial Profiling: Issues, Data and Analyses. Nova Science Publishers. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-1-59454-547-4. 
  11. ^ a b c Brent Staples, Editorial Observer; Why 'Racial Profiling' Will be Tough to Fight, New York Times (May 24, 1999).
  12. ^ "ACLU, Civil Rights Groups and Maryland Officials Reach Landmark Racial Profiling Settlement". aclu.org, April 2, 2003. Retrieved 2010-12-23.
  13. ^ Racial Profiling, Transcript: NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (March 13, 2001).
  14. ^ Meeks, Kenneth. Driving While Black: What To Do If You Are A Victim of Racial Profiling. Broadway. pp. 21–38. ISBN 978-0-7679-0549-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=fZHq8vNavgwC&printsec=frontcover.