Tiffany P. Cunningham Makes History As First Black Federal Circuit Judge


July 22, 2021

She’s helping to balance the scales of justice!

Tiffany P. Cunningham is making history as the first Black Federal Circuit judge, Bloomberg Law reports.

Cunningham is a partner at Perkins Cole LLP and a former Federal Circuit Clerk. Recently, the U.S. Senate confirmed Cunningham to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, making her the first Black person ever to hold the position. 


“This is a truly historic confirmation—Ms. Cunningham will serve as the first Black judge on the Federal Circuit. She will not only bring much-needed diversity to the bench, but she will bring impeccable credentials as well. I’m pleased my colleagues joined me in a bipartisan manner in support of Ms. Cunningham’s nomination,” U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said in a statement.

The Federal Circuit is the country’s highest patent court and the only federal appeals court never to have a Black member. The Senate voted 63-33 to confirm Cunningham, adding her to the 12-member court composed equally of men and women. 

In May, Cunningham told the Senate Judiciary Committee said a Federal Circuit seat “is literally my dream job.” She said when she worked for Judge Timothy Dyk of the Federal Circuit 20 years ago, she found herself gazing at the pictures of judges hanging on the courthouse walls.


“I saw a court that had fine, fine jurists. But it was very homogeneous”—all white judges and only two women at that time. “At that point in time I sort of pinned in my mental vision board that one day I could be a member of the court,” she said.

Cunningham will succeed Judge Evan J. Wallach, who officially took senior status in May. 

Congratulations, Judge Cunningham! Because of you, we can!


Photo Courtesy of Bloomberg Law

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