The Honorable Damon J. Keith earned a master of laws degree from Wayne Law in 1956.
Born in Detroit on July 4, 1922, he served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from 1977 until his death on April 28, 2019. 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 more than 50 years, Judge Keith persuasively and movingly defended the Constitution, helping communities enforce their civil rights. He spoke 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 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 earned the admiration of judges, presidents and everyday citizens alike.
Judge Keith's biography:
Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith