The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

The Honorable Deborah A. Batts

Share on Social Media

Information about The Honorable Deborah A. Batts

Profile image of The Honorable Deborah A. Batts

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Federal District Court Judge

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Sushi
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Disney World
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
4/13/1947
Birth Location:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Federal District Court Judge

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Sushi
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Disney World
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
4/13/1947
Birth Location:
Philadelphia
See how The Honorable Deborah A. Batts is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

U.S. District Court Judge Deborah A. Batts was born on April 13, 1947 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She earned her B.A. degree in government from Radcliffe College in 1969 and attended Harvard Law School, where she earned her J.D. degree in 1972. Batts began her legal career clerking for Judge Lawrence W. Pierce, a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York. The next year, Batts became an associate in New York City at the corporate law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

In 1979, Batts became the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in the Criminal Division. She worked for the district until 1984 when she joined the faculty at the Fordham University School of Law. Batts was the first African American member of the faculty and later became a tenured Associate Professor of Law.

In 1990, Batts became a commissioner on the New York Law Review Commission. That same year, she served as Special Associate Counsel to the Department of Investigation of the City of New York. In 1994, Batts was nominated by President Clinton as a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York. After her confirmation by the United States Senate, she was sworn into the office.

As a federal judge, Batts has overseen a variety of high-profile cases and hearings. In 1999, she oversaw the indictment of Cheng Yong Wang and Xingqi Fu, charged with attempting to sell the organs of executed Chinese prisoners. Batts granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the indictment. In 2001, Batts wrote an Opinion resolving the issues of the sentencing hearing of al-Qaeda co-founder Mamdouh Mahmud Salim for the stabbing of a prison guard while Salim awaited trial in the case of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings. Batts was also the judge in a widely publicized 2006 case against EPA Chief Christine Todd Whitman. Whitman was charged for her failure to adequately warn New Yorkers of the health risks involved in returning to their homes after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Batts is an active member of the Bar Association of the City of New York, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and the Lesbian and Gay Law Association of Greater New York. In 1998, she received an honorary degree from the City University of New York School of Law.

Batts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 15, 2007.

See how The Honorable Deborah A. Batts is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Deborah A. Batts' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls her maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts talks about how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her mother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls her parents' marriage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her paternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her father's military service
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers her home life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deborah Batts talks about her sister, Mercedes Ellington
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deborah Batts remembers celebrating the holidays
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deborah Batts describes her mother's cooking, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deborah Batts describes her mother's cooking, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deborah Batts remembers her birthday celebrations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deborah Batts describes her relationship with her sisters
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deborah Batts describes her home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deborah Batts recalls her community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes the sights and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls the music of her childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls learning to dance with her sister, Mercedes Ellington
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her early education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts talks about her educational experiences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls her academic interests
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers her early aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers the Philadelphia High School for Girls
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her relationship with the Catholic church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls her discontentment with the Catholic church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts talks about the racial discrimination in the Catholic church
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls her experiences at the Philadelphia High School for Girls
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers her interest in science
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts talks about the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her decision to attend Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls her reservations about Radcliffe College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers her arrival at Radcliffe College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers her peers at Radcliffe College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls studying government at Radcliffe College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls obtaining a clerkship with Lawrence W. Pierce
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls her role in the student government
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers applying to Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls her peers at Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts talks about her activities at Radcliffe College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers meeting her first husband
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls her first year at Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls studying under Derrick A. Bell, Jr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers the Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers the black women at Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls her experiences at Cravath, Swaine and Moore, LLP
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes law firm of Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts reflects upon her clerkship with Lawrence W. Pierce, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts reflects upon her clerkship with Lawrence W. Pierce, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls serving as an assistant U.S. attorney
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers her transition to academia
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls teaching at the Fordham University School of Law in New York City
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts narrates her photographs, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers her judicial appointment, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers her judicial appointment, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls her judicial confirmation hearings
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts talks about being called a judicial activist
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her role as a federal judge
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts talks about federal sentencing guidelines
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her judicial deliberation process
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes the impact of her sexual orientation on her career
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her innovations in jury selection
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts talks about the importance of jury duty
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her judicial case load
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers her high profile cases
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes the role of the district courts
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts remembers a lesson from her father
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls the New York State Law Revision Commission
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts recalls the investigation of Mayor David N. Dinkins
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her human rights work in Ghana
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her women's rights initiative in Ghana
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her portrait at Harvard Law School, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her portrait at Harvard Law School, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts talks about the impact of her portrait on law students
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her hopes for the judiciary
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts talks about her organizational involvement
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her role in the Federal Bar Council American Inn of Court
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts describes her role at the City University of New York School of Law
  • Tape: 10 Story: 9 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts reflects upon her career
  • Tape: 10 Story: 10 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 10 Story: 11 - The Honorable Deborah A. Batts reflects upon her legacy