[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 110 (Friday, July 8, 2016)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1072-E1073]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT


                     HON. ROBERT C. ``BOBBY'' SCOTT

                              of virginia

                    in the house of representatives

                          Friday, July 8, 2016

  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I 
rise today to congratulate Judge Roger L. Gregory on his ascension to 
the rank of Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the 
Fourth Circuit on Saturday, July 9, 2016. As the highest ranking judge 
of the Richmond-based Fourth Circuit, Judge Gregory will preside as 
``first among equals'' over 15 active and two senior judges that are 
responsible for appellate cases rising from Virginia, Maryland, West 
Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina--a jurisdiction that 
includes almost 30 million people.
  Judge Gregory's service on the bench is historic in a couple of 
respects. He is the first African American to serve on the Fourth 
Circuit, which was the only remaining federal circuit in the nation 
where all of the judges were white. He came to the Fourth Circuit as a 
recess appointment of President William Jefferson Clinton on December 
27, 2000. Despite the bipartisan support of the Commonwealth of 
Virginia's two U.S. Senators, John Warner (R) and Charles Robb (D)--and 
the fact that the Fourth Circuit had several vacancies--Judge Gregory's 
nomination in June 2000 to the Fourth Circuit was effectively blocked 
by Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina who opposed efforts to 
diversify the courts.
  Judge Gregory made history again when he became the only person in 
United States history to have been appointed to the U.S. Court of 
Appeals by presidents of two different political parties. He was 
reappointed by President George W. Bush, with the support of Senator 
John Warner and newly elected Senator George Allen, and confirmed by 
the U.S. Senate on July 20, 2001.
  During the past 15 years on the bench, Judge Gregory has developed a 
reputation as a distinguished and brilliant jurist. He is seen as a 
leader in forging consensus in the Fourth Circuit and providing legal 
analysis that has helped to evolve the thinking of the court. Judge 
Gregory was on the panel of judges that heard two groundbreaking cases 
that were eventually heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2014, Judge 
Gregory was part of the Fourth Circuit's unanimous ruling in King v. 
Burwell to conclude that the government's interpretation of the final 
rule implementing the premium tax credit provision of the Patient 
Protection and Affordable Care Act should be given deference. On July 
28, 2014, Judge Gregory was part of the Fourth Circuit's majority 
decision that ruled 2-1 in Bostic v. Schaefer to strike down Virginia's 
ban on same-sex marriage as ``impermissibly infring[ing] on its 
citizens' fundamental right to marry.'' The Supreme Court eventually 
affirmed the ruling in King v. Burwell and denied a writ of certiorari 
in Bostic v. Schaefer, letting that decision stand.
  Judge Gregory's legal stewardship was displayed in the case of Henry 
v. Purnell, an important case about excessive force by police and 
qualified immunity In the original three-judge panel opinion, he filed 
a dissenting opinion. But when the case was heard en banc, before all 
the judges of the Fourth Circuit, Judge Gregory amassed a wide 10-3 
majority of the court to support his position and hold that the use of 
force was objectively unreasonable. Judge Gregory's reasoning in his 
Fourth Circuit dissents was also the basis of two U.S. Supreme Court's 
majority decisions. One case that reversed a Truth-in-Lending Act 
decision in the Koons Buick Pontiac v. Nigh (2004) and another that 
approved Judge Gregory's approach in FEC v. Beaumont (2003).
  Equally remarkable is Judge Gregory's personal story and professional 
successes. Roger Gregory was born in Philadelphia, but was adopted by a 
family and raised in the ``Heights'' section of Petersburg, Virginia. 
On reflecting on his parents, Judge Gregory said ``I think about my 
parents. They worked in a tobacco factory and had very little formal 
education. They got up early and worked more time to earn wages so I 
could learn my letters.''
  Judge Gregory ``learned his letters'' and then some. He attended 
segregated schools until the eleventh grade and became the first person 
in his family to graduate from high school. He graduated summa cum 
laude from Virginia State University and earned a law degree from the 
University of Michigan in 1978. He also holds honorary degrees from 
Virginia Union University, Virginia State University, Virginia 
Commonwealth University, Widener University and Saint Paul's College.
  After a stint at corporate law firms, he formed the law firm of 
Wilder & Gregory with former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder. He 
practiced law at Wilder & Gregory and served as managing partner and 
head of the litigation section of the firm until his appointment to the 
Fourth Circuit in 2000.
  Judge Gregory is widely admired and respected by his colleagues on 
the bench and in the Virginia Bar. He has supported numerous 
charitable, legal, and educational organizations and currently serves 
on the board of trustees of the University of Richmond and the John 
Marshall Foundation. Judge Gregory is a past rector and member of the 
Board of Visitors of Virginia Commonwealth University and served on the 
Board of Visitors of Virginia State University, where he taught as an 
adjunct professor of Constitutional Law.
  Judge Gregory is an active member of Good Shepherd Baptist Church, in 
Petersburg, Virginia, where he serves as Artistic Director of the Drama 
Ministry. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Alpha Beta 
Boule of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.
  The appointment of Roger Gregory as Chief Judge of the United States 
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will be celebrated by many who 
value the wisdom of a wise jurist who holds the deepest respect for the 
U.S. Constitution. This honor is celebrated especially by his wife 
Velda Edwards Gregory; his daughters Adriene, Rachel and Christina; and 
Kai, his only granddaughter and the ``apple of [his] eye.''
  Mr. Speaker, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Judge Gregory. 
The people of the Fourth Circuit should be reassured that they have a 
defender of justice and fairness.

[[Page E1073]]