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Stephen Higginson - CONFIRMED
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
On May 5, 2011, President Obama nominated Stephen Higginson to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Currently, Mr. Higginson serves both as an Assistant United States Attorney and as an Associate Professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. President Obama stated that Higginson’s “legal and academic credentials are impressive and his commitment to judicial integrity is unwavering. I am confident he will serve the American people with distinction.”
Mr. Higginson was born in 1961 in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard College in 1983, and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1987, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. Following law school, Mr. Higginson clerked first for Judge Patricia Wald of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and then for Justice Byron White of the Supreme Court of the United States. From 1989 to1993 Mr. Higginson worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, during which time he also earned a M.Phil. from Cambridge University. In 1993, Mr. Higginson assumed his current position as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and in 1995 he rose to chief of appeals in that office. Mr. Higginson is also a well-respected Associate Professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, where he began teaching in 2004. He also taught at Tulane University Law School as an adjunct faculty member for the 2002-03 academic year. In his spare time, Mr. Higginson has coached children’s soccer, basketball, and soccer.
Mr. Higginson has gained extensive litigation and courtroom experience from his work as an Assistant United States Attorney. He has written more than one hundred federal appellate briefs, reviewed more than three hundred appellate briefs written by other attorneys, and has argued before the United States Court of Appeals approximately twenty-five times. Mr. Higginson’s practice has primarily involved criminal work, and he has prosecuted a wide variety of cases, involving subjects from corporate fraud to murder, with his most complicated cases involving political corruption. Approximately fifteen percent of his work has been on civil matters. He also performed substantial legal work to aid efforts following Hurricane Katrina, researching issues related to the federal justice system and state and federal relief efforts after the storm, as well as aiding law enforcement directly following the hurricane.
Mr. Higginson’s teaching career at Loyola focuses primarily on criminal and constitutional law. He has received several awards from students at the law school, including the graduating students’ recognition as “professor of the year” for the 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2008-09 academic years.
Professional and Academic Activities
Mr. Higginson is committed to promoting ethics in the legal community. He has helped address instances of government misconduct, and has stated that “much of [his] most meaningful legal activity has been ensuring that the professional standards are followed by lawyers privileged to work for the United States.” Mr. Higginson enjoys helping other attorneys, both formally and informally. He also served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, Appellate Working Group (which works to improve rules, procedure, training and standards for appellate litigation), for approximately five years. Additionally, he has been a volunteer ethics and legal advocacy teacher for the Office of Legal Education.
Mr. Higginson also volunteers his time lecturing for bar associations and American Inns of Court, and is also active in the Loyola Law community, serving on numerous committees, including the Thomas More-Loyola Law School American Inn of Court Executive Committee.
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