Karen J. Williams bigraphy, stories - United States federal judge

Karen J. Williams : biography

1951 -

Karen Johnson Williams (born 1951) was a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, appointed in 1992 and serving as its Chief Judge from 2007 until her retirement in 2009. Williams was mentioned as a potential nominee to the United States Supreme Court during the administration of George W. Bush.John Monk, , The State (July 10, 2009).

Illness and retirement

Williams retired suddenly on July 8, 2009 after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.Josh White and Jerry Markon, , The Washington Post (July 10, 2009). She stated her desire to leave the bench while still able to perform her judicial duties, so that her future decisions would not be questioned because of her illness.Dionne Gleaton, , The Times and Democrat (July 9, 2009).


Born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Williams received her B.A. from Columbia College in 1972 and a J.D. from the University of South Carolina Law Center in 1980. She was in private practice in Orangeburg, South Carolina from 1980 to 1992.

On January 27, 1992, Williams was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to a seat on the Fourth Circuit vacated by Robert Foster Chapman. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 27, 1992, and received her commission on March 2, 1992. She became chief judge in 2007.

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