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hearing her story: reflections of women judges


The Honorable Carolyn Dineen King
Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Hon. Carolyn Dineen King

CAROLYN DINEEN KING is a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Judge King worked in private practice, principally with Fulbright & Jaworski, focusing primarily on corporate and federal securities law until 1979. She was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the Fifth Circuit in 1979. Judge King was the chief judge of the Fifth Circuit from 1999 through 2006. In 2000, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist appointed Judge King to be a member of the executive committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which governs the federal court system, and which she chaired from 2002 through 2005.

Judge King is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, and a member of the council’s Executive Committee. She was an advisor to the Restatement of the Law Third - Torts: Products Liability, as well as the Transnational Insolvency Project. She has been active in many human services, educational, and health-related organizations in Houston, Texas, and is currently serving as a member of the board of Baylor College of Medicine. Judge King is a recipient of the Smith College Medal, the American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Award, and the federal judiciary’s highest award, the 2007 Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award.

A native of Syracuse, New York, she graduated from Smith College summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1959 ,and from Yale Law School in 1962. She has been awarded honorary degrees from Syracuse University and the University of St. Thomas. Judge King is married to a fellow circuit judge, the Honorable Thomas M. Reavley. She has three sons and one granddaughter.

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