Wayne State University

Judge Damon J. Keith

Photo of Judge Damon J. KeithThe Honorable Damon J. Keith earned a master of laws degree from Wayne Law in 1956.

Born in Detroit on July 4, 1922, he has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit since 1977. Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, Judge Keith served on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, at the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and as a member of the U.S. Army.

For nearly 50 years, Judge Keith has persuasively and movingly defended the Constitution, helping communities enforce their civil rights. He has spoken truth to power from the bench, prohibiting President Nixon and the federal government from engaging in warrantless wiretapping and the Bush administration from conducting post-9/11 deportation hearings in secret. His decisions have desegregated public schools, broken color lines at corporations and required municipalities to repair the damage caused by systemic racism.

Judge Keith has received more than 40 honorary degrees, including one from Harvard University, and countless awards and distinctions, such as the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP and the Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award, the highest award that can be bestowed on a member of the federal judiciary. He has earned the admiration of judges, presidents and everyday citizens alike. 

Judge Keith's biography:
Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith

Training the next generation of lawyers, advocates and leaders