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Law professor Stephen Higginson confirmed to federal bench

Loyola press release - November 8, 2011

The U.S. Senate recently unanimously confirmed Loyola University New Orleans College of Law associate professor and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Higginson to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. The vote was 88-0.

“Higginson’s confirmation to the federal bench is an impressive testament to his wealth of experience and knowledge,” University President Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D., said. “He is a true asset to the Loyola community and we are proud of his continued success.”

Nominated by President Barack Obama in May, Higginson was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in July. Louisiana Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and David Vitter (R-LA) enthusiastically backed Higginson, both speaking on the Senate floor to voice their support.

The New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which Higginson will soon join after he resigns his posts at the U.S. attorney's office and Loyola, handles appellate cases from Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. He replaces former Judge Jacques Wiener, of Shreveport, who took senior status in September 2010.

“Professor Higginson’s commitment to the legal field, paired with his tremendous dedication to serve the community, has made him a distinguished member of our law school faculty,” said María Pabón López, dean of Loyola University’s College of Law. “I am delighted by his recent appointment and I know that he will be a great judge and make a positive impact.”

Higginson became a full-time member of the Loyola law faculty in 2004 and teaches constitutional law, evidence and criminal law. He began his distinguished legal career at the federal level in 1989. Since 1993, Higginson has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Louisiana, where he became the chief of appeals in 1995.

As chief of appeals, Higginson has personally handled or supervised all criminal and civil appeals in the 5th Circuit, editing or writing more than 100 appellate briefs and presenting numerous oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Higginson is a recipient of the Department of Justice’s awards for superior and outstanding performance as a federal prosecutor.

The College of Law also recently saw former professor and New Orleans City Attorney Nannette Jolivette-Brown confirmed to the federal bench in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New Orleans, becoming the first African-American woman to serve as a federal judge in Louisiana.

For more information, contact James Shields in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5888 or jshields@loyno.edu.