President Joe Biden announced his nomination of University of South Carolina School of Law alumna Judge DeAndrea G. Benjamin '97 on August 10 for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This nomination comes on the heels of the U.S. Senate’s recent confirmation of Judge J. Michelle Childs '91, also a South Carolina Law alumna and Biden nominee, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Benjamin follows in the footsteps of a third South Carolina Law alumna, the late Karen J. Williams ‘80, the first female judge (and later chief judge) to sit on the Fourth Circuit.
Why it matters
The Fourth Circuit hears appeals from the Carolinas, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Appeals from their rulings are heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Biden’s nomination follows the retirement of fellow law alumnus Judge Henry Floyd '73.
By the numbers
If confirmed, Benjamin would become
- The second woman of color to serve on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
- One of two South Carolina Law alumni currently on the Fourth Circuit (Judge Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. ’89)
Benjamin, originally from Columbia, South Carolina, earned her juris doctorate degree from the University of South Carolina in 1997. After graduating she served for a year as a law clerk for the Honorable L. Casey Manning, a 1977 alumnus and current judge on South Carolina’s Fifth Judicial Circuit. Benjamin then became an assistant attorney general until joining her father’s practice, Gist Law Firm, in 2001 where she worked until 2011.
For the last 10 years, Benjamin has served on South Carolina’s Fifth Judicial Circuit and throughout that time has maintained a commitment to the growth and development of the state, serving on a number of boards in the legal profession and beyond. Among them the SC Bar Board of Governors; SC Bar Young Lawyers Division (chair, 2006-2007); Children’s Law Committee (chair, 2010-2011); Sexual Trauma Services Board; North Main Street Redevelopment Advisory Committee; and Edventure Children’s Museum Board.