Judge Emmet Sullivan, District of Columbia U.S. District Court

Judge Emmet Sullivan

District of Columbia U.S. District Court

Emmet Gael Sullivan was born in June 1947 in Washington, D.C. He earned an undergraduate degree in political science from Howard University and received his Juris Doctor from the Howard University School of Law. Under a grant from the University of Pennsylvania, he worked with the Neighborhood Legal Services Program in Washington, D.C., for a year, after which he clerked for a former professor and Superior Court judge. He entered private practice. 

Sullivan was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be a judge on the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, where he served eight years. President George H. W. Bush appointed him to be an associate judge of the District Court of Appeals. 

Two years later, he was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was confirmed by the Senate and received his commission in June 1994. In April 2021, Sullivan assumed senior status. 

In the News…

Federal Judge Emmett Sullivan vacated the Title 42 policy that was instituted during the pandemic under President Trump’s administration that allowed migrants crossing the border to be expelled without letting them seek asylum. 

Senior Judge Sullivan said the policy violated the Administrative Procedures Act. He called the policy “arbitrary and capricious” and said it violated the procedures act. The judge stated that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “failed to adequately consider alternatives and the policy did not rationally serve its stated purpose.” He said the decision of the CDC also violated the procedures act by ignoring the harm caused by the policy also violated the procedures act. 

“It is unreasonable for the CDC to assume that it can ignore the consequences of any actions it chooses to take in the pursuit of fulfilling its goals, particularly when those actions included the extraordinary decision to suspend the codified procedural and substantive rights of noncitizens seeking safe harbor,” Judge Sullivan wrote. 

It is expected that the ruling will be appealed and could potentially reach the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Judge Sullivan today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable Emmet Sullivan
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia 
E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse 
333 Constitution Avenue, NW 
Washington, D.C. 20001 


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