Roger L. Gregory (born July 17, 1953) is the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Gregory was born in Philadelphia but grew up in Petersburg, Virginia. He earned his B.A. degree summa cum laude from Virginia State University in 1975 and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1978. He worked as an associate for two different law firms from 1978 until 1982. He co-founded the Richmond, Virginia law firm of Wilder & Gregory in 1982 with L. Douglas Wilder (the first African-American to be elected governor in the United States), and became the chair of its litigation section in 1985. Gregory is also a member of several fraternal organizations, including Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and Sigma Pi Phi fraternity.
Service on the Fourth Circuit
On June 30, 2000, President Bill Clinton nominated Gregory to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that had been vacant for close to a decade since it had been created (the Senate had never acted on Clinton's previous nominee to that seat, J. Rich Leonard). After the Senate declined to take up Gregory's nomination, and the 2000 presidential election was already over, Clinton installed Gregory on the Fourth Circuit on December 27, 2000 via a recess appointment, which would have lasted only until end of the 2001 Congressional session. However, he was renominated by newly elected President George W. Bush on May 9, 2001.
The Senate confirmed Gregory on July 20, 2001 in a 93-1 vote, with Trent Lott of Mississippi casting the lone dissenting vote because he objected to Clinton's use of his recess appointment power. Gregory was the first judge nominated to the Fourth Circuit by Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate and is the first black judge to serve on the Fourth Circuit.
On July 28, 2014, Judge Gregory joined the majority opinion with Henry Franklin Floyd in Bostic v. Schaefer that declared Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. This decision led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Virginia as well all other states throughout the Fourth Circuit.
Gregory became Chief Judge on July 8, 2016.