Press Release

July 17, 2014
Cardin, Mikulski Praise Judiciary Committee’s Approval of Pamela Harris for the Fourth Circuit Court Of Appeals
Senators recommended Ms. Harris to President Obama for Federal Bench

WASHINGTONU.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today praised the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to approve Pamela A. Harris of Potomac, Maryland to fill the vacancy on the Fourth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The nomination of Ms. Harris now moves to the full Senate for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled.


“I thank the Judiciary Committee for recognizing Pamela Harris as a strong candidate for the appellate court.  Ms. Harris has an appreciation for the Constitution and a judicial philosophy that reflects mainstream American values, not narrow ideological interests. She will bring to the bench her strong roots in Maryland as well as tremendous legal experience in the private sector and academia,” said Senator Cardin. “Ms. Harris has an appreciation for the rights and responsibilities of each branch of government. She also has demonstrated a commitment to protect civil rights and individual liberties through her pro bono work. She will serve the people of Maryland, and our nation, well.”


“I applaud the committee’s vote to approve the nomination of Pamela Harris to serve on the Fourth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals,” Senator Mikulski said. “When I consider nominees for the federal bench, I have four criteria: absolute integrity, judicial competence and temperament, a commitment to core constitutional principles, and a history of civic engagement in Maryland. Pamela Harris meets and exceeds these standards. Ms. Harris has a commitment to the rule of law and a passion for how it affects the lives of ordinary Americans. She is an extraordinarily qualified Marylander that will be a true asset to the Fourth Circuit.”


In a letter just sent to Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), 79 members of the legal community expressed their support for her nomination to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In their letter they said, “…we are united in our admiration for Pam’s skills as a lawyer and our respect for her integrity, her intellect, her judgment, and her fair-mindedness.” A copy of the letter is available here.


Pamela Harris lives in Potomac, Maryland, and serves as a board officer at her children’s Montgomery County school.  She has been a group leader for Manna Food in Gaithersburg, the main food bank in Montgomery County, which strives to fight and eliminate hunger in the county through food distribution, education and advocacy. She has served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Policy at the United States Department of Justice.


If confirmed, Ms. Harris will occupy the seat vacated when Judge Andre Davis took senior status in February 2014. The Fourth Circuit is a federal court located in Richmond, Virginia, with appellate jurisdiction over district courts in five states, including Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.


Pamela Harris of Potomac, Maryland, is currently a visiting professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and a senior advisor to its Supreme Court Institute. She previously served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Policy at the United States Department of Justice.

After graduating from Walt Whitman High School in Maryland, Harris received her B.A. summa cum laude from Yale College in 1985 and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1990. After graduating from law school, she clerked for Judge Harry T. Edwards of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1990 to 1991, worked as an associate at Shea & Gardner (now Goodwin Procter LLP) in Washington, D.C. from 1991 to 1992, and clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1992 to 1993. Harris served as an attorney-adviser in the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel from 1993 to 1996. From 1996 to 1999, Harris was an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1996 to 1999, where she was awarded the Harvey Levin Memorial Teaching Award.

Harris joined O’Melveny & Myers LLP as counsel in 1999, where she specialized in appellate and Supreme Court litigation. She became a partner in 2005. Beginning in 2007, while still in private practice, Harris co-directed Harvard Law School’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Clinic and was a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center. In 2009, Harris was named the Executive Director of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown, serving as Executive Director until 2010, when she joined the Office of Legal Policy. Harris returned to Georgetown in 2012.