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Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Profile: Alice Batchelder

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on June 16, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Chief Justice Alice Moor Batchelder of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals was one of only six women in her graduating class at Akron University School of Law in 1971.

Now, she sits as the Chief Justice of a federal appeals court. And she might almost have been a U.S. Supreme Court nominee, once.

Batchelder came into the spotlight in 2005, as her name was thrown around as a potential replacement for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Although she was raised in Ohio, Batchelder was actually born in Wilmington, Delaware, writes ABC News. It has been reported that her parents baked and sold bread to neighbors during the Great Depression.

Prior to becoming a judge, Batchelder worked in private practice in Medina, Ohio, for twelve years. She then went on to serve as a U.S. bankruptcy judge and eventually, a U.S. district court judge, where she was appointed by President Regan. In 1992, she was appointed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Bush.

Batchelder has a reputation for being a "constitutionalist and a rigorous practitioner of judicial restraint," writes ABC News. Despite her strictness on the bench, her office is known for being relatively casual, as she is known for wearing sweatshirts and jeans to work.

Judge Batchelder has ruled in many cases, including some notorious and controversial ones. One of the more controversial examples was a case against Wal-Mart, where she held that the retail chain could not be liable for selling a gun to a 19-year old, a gun later used by the teenager to commit suicide.

She also ruled in the famous University of Michigan Law School affirmative action case, where she wrote the dissenting opinion.

Judge Alice Batchelder is married to William Batchelder III, who she met in school. Her husband was also a judge in Ohio state appeals court and resigned in 2005. She has two grown children.

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