Douglas Howard Ginsburg became the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2001 after serving as an associate judge since 1986. In 1987, his nomination to the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES was derailed by questions about his inexperience and about his personal life.
Ginsburg was born May 25, 1946, in Chicago. He grew up in Chicago, where he graduated from the prestigious Latin School in 1963. After high school, he entered Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, but he left college in the mid-1960s to open the nation's first computerized dating service. After achieving success with the company, which was named Operation Match, Ginsburg sold his interest and returned to Cornell, earning his bachelor's degree in 1970. From there, he went to the University of Chicago Law School, where he received his doctor of JURISPRUDENCE degree in 1973.
"IT IS A CARDINAL PRINCIPLE OF OUR SYSTEM OF CRIMINAL LAW THAT THE FACTS ARE SETTLED BY THE TRIER OF FACT, BE IT A JURY OR A JUDGE, AND ARE NOT ORDINARILY TO BE DETERMINED BY A REVIEWING COURT."
Ginsburg served as a law clerk to U.S. circuit judge Carl McGowan from 1973 to 1974, and to Justice THURGOOD MARSHALL, of the U.S. Supreme Court, from 1974 to 1975. In 1975, he became an assistant professor of law at Harvard Law School, and in 1981, he was promoted to the rank of professor. He left academia to become a deputy assistant attorney general for regulatory affairs in the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, in 1983. A year later, he was appointed administrator for information and regulatory affairs of the OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, where he served for one year before returning to the Antitrust Division of the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT in 1985. In 1986, President RONALD REAGAN named him a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
At this point in his career, Ginsburg seemed to be settling into a predictable future on the federal bench. But there was to be a short detour along the way. In 1987, to the surprise of almost everyone, Reagan nominated him to replace retiring Justice LEWIS F. POWELL JR. on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ginsburg's nomination followed months of intense, sometimes acrimonious questioning by the SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE of Judge ROBERT H. BORK, Reagan's first nominee. During these hearings, the Senate had departed from its traditional...