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Judge Susan B. Neilson

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Confirmed October 27, 2005
  • Judge Susan Neilson is a distinguished judge on the State of Michigan's largest trial court with well over a decade of experience on the bench.
    • Judge Neilson was appointed to the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan in 1991, and has been reelected three times.
    • Judge Neilson has significant experience on Michigan's largest state trial court bench, serving in both the civil and criminal divisions.
    • The American Bar Association unanimously rated Judge Neilson "Well Qualified" to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which has 16 authorized seats, has 4 vacancies. President Bush has nominated 4 well-qualified individuals from Michigan to fill these vacancies.
    • The seat to which Judge Neilson has been nominated has been deemed a judicial emergency.
  • Judge Neilson had a distinguished career as a practicing attorney before ever serving on the state bench.
    • From 1980 until 1991, Judge Neilson practiced law, first as an associate and later as a partner, with the prestigious Detroit firm of Dickinson, Wright. She specialized in products liability claims, medical malpractice claims, and commercial litigation.
    • Judge Neilson received her bachelor's degree in 1977 from the honors college at the University of Michigan (Phi Beta Kappa), and her J.D. (cum laude) in 1980 from Wayne State University, where she was a member of the law review.
  • Judge Neilson was born in Ann Arbor and she is a life-long resident of Michigan. If confirmed, she would be the only active female judge from Michigan on the Sixth Circuit.
  • Judge Neilson is dedicated to the improvement of the law.
    • She has written numerous articles and was co-editor an author of Michigan Civil Procedure, a two-volume treatise on all areas of Michigan civil practice. The Michigan Judicial Institute selected the treatise to purchase for every trial court judge in the state. The State Bar of Michigan awarded the treatise its prestigious "Plain English Award," due to its remarkable clarity.


Justice Maura Corrigan, Michigan Supreme Court

"Judge Susan Bieke Neilson has earned the reputation of being one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable trial court jurists in the State of Michigan. I believe her experience as a trial court judge coupled with her legal writing abilities will make her an outstanding addition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit."

John Engler, former Governor of Michigan

"Judge Susan Bieke Neilson is an experienced jurist with a well established reputation for intellect, diligence and temperament. She is personally and professionally committed to the highest ethical standards and is genuinely esteemed by lawyers for her preparation, knowledge of the laws and decisiveness. Judge Neilson brings comprehensive, in-the-trenches experience to the federal appellate bench."

Thomas G. Kienbaum, Past President of the State Bar of Michigan

"[Judge Neilson brings] unique qualities to the bench-a quick, perceptive mind and a tremendous work ethic which she applies evenly to all matters that come before her-when appropriate, with a degree of good humor. She has an unbridled enthusiasm for the law-even with respect to the most tedious aspects of the work required of judicial officers. She deserves to be quickly confirmed."

Roger Winkelman, former Treasurer of the Michigan Democratic Party

"I have known Judge Neilson for many years. She is well deserved of her reputation as a fair-minded judge who treats all parties who appear before her with a high degree of respect and dignity. Her knowledge of the law and dedication to rendering rulings in conformity with controlling legal authority will make her an excellent addition to the Court of Appeals."

Jules Olsman, Past President of the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association and member of the Board of Governors of the American Trial Lawyers Association

"I have known Judge Neilson for sixteen years. As a lawyer she was both reasonable and honorable. Since she became a judge, she has distinguished herself as a fair minded individual who treats both sides with respect and who truly cares about the rights of people to have access to the courts. Many members of the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association regard her as an excellent trial judge who lets lawyers try their case without unsolicited intervention by the court."

Edward Kronk, President of the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel

"I have known Judge Neilson since she took the bench as a Wayne County, Michigan trial judge. She quickly developed a reputation as hard-working, thoroughly knowledgeable and prepared, appropriately respectful of the law, courteous to all who appear before her, decisive and fair. She is held in high esteem by both sides of the civil trial bar and will be a worthy addition to the distinguished bench of the Sixth Circuit."