Judge Damon Keith to be honored by colleagues at his 90th Birthday celebration #JudgeDamonKeith #Damons90thBirthday #TellUsDetroit

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge Damon Keith stands before a display of his career at a VIP luncheon held at the McGregor prior to the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Center for Civil Rights which will bare his name. (Photo by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit)

By Laydell Wood Harper/Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) – The Association of Black Judges and other judicial and community leaders will gather at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church on Sunday, July 8th for a special 11 am service to celebrate the 90th Birthday of the Honorable Damon J. Keith, Senior Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Born on July 4th Judge Keith is one of the nation’s most well respected leaders and civil rights icons. “I am both delighted and honored to celebrate the 90th Birthday of Judge Damon J. Keith, a dear friend, nationally respected Jurist and civil rights icon on Sunday at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, said Dr. Charles G. Adams, Pastor of Hartford. “His contributions to the legal field are invaluable; The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights represents the foremost resource for the legal history of the Civil Rights Movement and historic accomplishments of African American lawyers and judges. We are proud of you Judge Keith, as a church and as a community. You have paved the way so eloquently for future Jurists of color.”

Judge Keith is also a hometown hero; born and raised in Detroit he has a long and proud history with the judicial system. Since 1977 he has been a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Court. He has also served as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and recently named Senior Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for Sixth Circuit Court. He has consistently stood as a courageous defender of the constitutional and civil rights of all people, a common thread that is prominent throughout his career.

In the United States v. Sinclair, commonly referred to as the Keith Decision, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Judge Keith’s landmark ruling prohibiting President Nixon and the federal government from engaging in warrantless wiretapping in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Judge Keith was heralded for that decision in Joseph Goulden’s book, The Benchwarmers, as “a prime example of an independent federal judge” who “had the courage to say ‘no'” in the face of “a presidency which likened itself to a ‘sovereign.'” “The strength of the judiciary,” Goulden wrote, “is rooted in just such independence as that displayed by Keith.”

Known as a “Fighter for Justice,” Judge Keith has never forgotten his roots. He is passionate about his long time involvement with the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP and speaks at length about some of their well-documented accomplishments under the leadership of his best friend Arthur Johnson as they worked side by side to bring about change. His annual Black History Month Soul Food luncheon is the talk of the town and attended by everyone from Governor Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing to many of his former law clerks including former Governor Jennifer Granholm, and also business and community leaders. Many of whom attend every year.

The Honorable Judge Keith continues to shine the spotlight on the principles represented in the United States Constitution while ensuring equal rights for all who have been victims of discrimination. The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School held its grand opening last Oct 19, 2011. The Keith Center honors the life and legacy of Judge Keith by carrying out his vision of civil rights.

The public is invited to this 90th Birthday celebration to be held Sunday, July 8th at 11 am at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens Hwy., Detroit, Michigan 48235. For more information call (313) 861-1285



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