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Who is Justice Joan Larsen?

In May 2017, Justice Joan Larsen was nominated to the Sixth Circuit seat being vacated by Judge David McKeague. Both of Michigan’s democratic senators returned blue slips supporting her appointment in August. The Senate Judiciary Committee favorably reported Justice Larsen’s nomination to the full Senate earlier this month, and yesterday Senator Mitch McConnell filed in the Senate a cloture motion to end debate and move for a vote on her nomination. Thus, in the very near future, Justice Larsen may be the next judge to join the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, so it’s worth taking a look at her credentials.

Since 2015, Justice Larsen has served as a justice on Michigan’s Supreme Court. At the time she submitted her responses to the Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees, Justice Larsen estimated that the Michigan Supreme Court had resolved by dispositive order or opinion 90 civil cases and 360 criminal cases. In addition, Justice Larsen has been working since 2003 for the University of Michigan Law School as a lecturer and adjunct professor, where her teachings have focused on constitutional law and criminal procedure.

Justice Larsen’s legal career began, after she graduated first in her class from Northwestern University School of Law in 1993, she then clerked for Judge David Sentelle on the D.C. Circuit followed by a clerkship with Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. After completing her clerkships, she worked for two years at a large law firm in Washington D.C., where 100% of her practice was before the federal courts. From 2002–03, she worked as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel, providing “legal advice to the White House, other components of the Justice Department, and various federal agencies.” Over the years, Justice Larsen has taught as a visiting professor at the University of Iowa College of Law and Northwestern University School of Law. Intermittently throughout 1994–2003, Justice Larsen has been a member of the Federalist Society. But she’s not all business, as she’s currently a member of the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club and a U.S. Figure Skating organization.

Although it’s likely that Justice Larsen will fill an existing vacancy on the court, according to the United States Courts’ website, it is anticipated that Judge Alice Batchelder will be taking senior status, leaving another vacancy for the President and Senate to fill.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP


About this Author

Kelly Mihocik, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm, Litigation Attorney

Kelly Mihocik focuses her practice on general and complex commercial litigation matters.

Kelly joined the firms after serving as a Staff Attorney for the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Kelly completes complex legal research and prepares analysis and pleadings on behalf of her clients.