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Hon. Deborah A. Batts

United States District Court, Southern District of New York
United States District Senior Judge
New York, NY, USA


Deborah A. Batts is a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. As a Clinton nominee, Judge Batts was sworn in on June 23, 1994 by the Honorable Lawrence W. Pierce of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Judge Batts received her undergraduate degree from Radcliffe College in 1969 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1972. Upon graduation, she clerked for Judge Pierce, then a United States District Court Judge.

In 1973, Judge Batts became an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. In 1979, she became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York in the Criminal Division. In 1984, Judge Batts joined the faculty at Fordham University School of Law; she became a tenured Associate Professor of Law in May, 1990. 

  From 1973 to the present, Judge Batts has been a member of various bar associations including The Bar Association of the City of New York, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York (LeGal). She is currently a member of the CUNY School of Law Board of Visitors. 

In June, 2001, Judge Batts was a Team Member of the Crowley Program in International Human Rights Mission to Ghana to observe the impact on the status of women in the area of inheritance of PNDCL 111, passed in 1985.

In October, 2001, an oil portrait of Judge Batts by Simmie Knox, which had been commissioned by the Harvard Law School Association's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Alumni Committee, was unveiled at Harvard Law School and accepted on behalf of the school by Dean Robert C. Clark.

From May 2004 until July 2006, Judge Batts was a Member of the Scientific Committee for the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights, which took place in Montreal, Canada in July, 2006. Judge Batts served as the Moderator at the Plenary Session on Canada and the United States and was a Panelist in the Workshop AThe Judicial Role in Protecting Human Rights.

Judge Batts was Conference Chairperson of the Second Circuit Judicial Conference in 2007 and 2008.

On April 28, 2008, Judge Batts received the William M. Tendy Award from the Robert B. Fiske, Jr. Association and on May 14, 2008, she was awarded Jurist of the Year as an African American Federal Judge by the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. On July 16, 2008, her identical twin sister, Professor Diane Batts Morrow, University of Georgia at Athens, accepted on Judge Batts behalf the M. Ashley Dickerson Diversity Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers.

On October 1, 2008, Judge Batts was appointed to the national Judicial Conference Committee on Defender Services. In August, 2009, Judge Batts was named Chair of the Second Circuit History, Commemorative Events and Civic Education Committee.

On May 1, 2009, Judge Batts was appointed to the Executive Committee/Board of Directors of the Federal Judges Association. On June 7, 2012, Judge Batts was elected as a Second Circuit Representative to the Federal Judges Association, effective December 2012.

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