Alumnus Robert L. Wilkins Confirmed as Judge for Influential U.S. Court of Appeals

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Wilkins Profile

Rising Judicial Star: Robert L. Wilkins, a 1986 chemical engineering alumnus, has been nominated for two federal court bench appointments by President Barack Obama.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 1986 chemical engineering alumnus Robert L. Wilkins to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit, whose decisions on federal regulatory matters-including securities, communications, and the environment-have national perspective. The confirmation came on a 55-43 vote on Monday, January 13.

Wilkins was nominated to this federal judicial position last summer by President Barack Obama.

"He has applied the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity," Obama said in a statement following Wilkins' confirmation. "I am confident that he will continue to do so on the D.C. Circuit."

The National Bar Association (NBA) applauded the nomination, based on Wilkins' distinguished career and impeccable judicial record.

A Muncie, Ind. native, Wilkins has served as judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia since 2010. He had formerly practiced as a partner with Washington, D.C.-based Venable LLP, specializing in white collar defense, intellectual property, and complex civil litigation cases.

Wilkins was named one of the "40 under 40 most successful young litigators in America" by the National Law Journal and one of the "90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 years" by the Legal Times.

"Judge Wilkins is a respected appellate jurist, celebrated litigator, effective community mobilizer, and groundbreaking civil rights leader," stated NBA President John Page at the time of Wilkins' nomination. "The D.C. Circuit Court will benefit from Judge Wilkins' diverse life experiences and commitment to excellence."

Wilkins also served as a staff attorney and head of special litigation for D.C.'s Public Defender Service, and a clerk for the U.S. District Court's Southern District of California. He earned a law degree from Harvard Law School after graduating from Rose-Hulman, where he received the Herman A. Moench Commendation, presented annually to the institute's most distinguished graduating senior.

Wilkins received the Rose-Hulman Alumni Association's Honor Alumnus Award in 2005 for his service to his alma mater and professional achievement. He also returned to campus in 2008 as the featured speaker of Rose-Hulman's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has been a stepping stone for four current Supreme Court justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts.