Terrence Boyle

The Honorable
Terrence William Boyle
Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
Assumed office
May 3, 1984
Nominated by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Franklin Taylor Dupree Jr.
Personal details
Born (1945-12-22) December 22, 1945
Passaic, New Jersey
Alma mater Brown University
Washington College of Law, American University

Terrence William Boyle (born December 22, 1945 in Passaic, New Jersey) is a judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. He was Chief Judge of that court from 1997-2004. From 1991 to 1993 and again from 2001 to 2007, he was a nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. His federal appellate nomination from 2001 to 2007 is the longest in history not to be acted upon by the United States Senate.


Boyle received a B.A. from Brown University in 1967 and a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at American University in 1970. From 1970 to 1973, he was the minority counsel of the Housing Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency.

In 1973, he was a legislative assistant to Republican Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina.

He was appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina by President Ronald Reagan on May 3, 1984 following unanimous confirmation by the United States Senate.

First Fourth Circuit nomination

On October 22, 1991, Boyle was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to a newly created seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. However, his nomination was not acted upon by a Senate controlled by the Democrats. His nomination was allowed to lapse at the end of Bush's presidency.

Fourth Circuit controversy over North Carolina seat under Clinton

On December 24, 1995, in the hope of integrating the Fourth Circuit, President Bill Clinton nominated James A. Beaty, Jr., an African American judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, to a Fourth Circuit seat vacated by Judge James Dickson Phillips, Jr. in 1994 when he took senior status.[1] Almost immediately, Beaty's nomination ran into opposition from Jesse Helms, who was angry that Clinton had refused to renominate Boyle to the Fourth Circuit. Beaty's nomination was ultimately unsuccessful due to Helms' opposition.

Second Fourth Circuit nomination and controversy

On May 9, 2001, Boyle was renominated by President George W. Bush to the Fourth Circuit, this time to the seat vacated by James Dickson Phillips, Jr.. His nomination was never brought to a vote on the floor of the Senate. For over five years, the nomination was stalled. Boyle's nomination is the longest federal appeals court nomination never given a full Senate vote.

His nomination was adamantly opposed by Democrats from the beginning. Democratic Senator John Edwards claimed Boyle was an opponent of civil rights and disabilities legislation. Boyle's supporters viewed Boyle as the victim of political payback and obstruction because of his ties to Jesse Helms, who had derailed several judicial nominations by President Bill Clinton because of Boyle.

In March 2005, following Bush's re-election and an increased Republican Senate majority, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave Boyle a hearing almost a full four years after his nomination. On June 16, 2005, Boyle was voted out of Committee on a 10-8 party line vote.

In April 2006, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said he would try to schedule a vote in May on the nomination of Boyle.[2] No vote occurred however. With the Democrats taking over the U.S. Senate in the 110th Congress, Boyle's confirmation chances markedly decreased. On January 9, 2007, the White House announced that it would not re-nominate Boyle.[3] At the time, Boyle clearly stated he did not voluntarily withdraw his nomination.[4]

On July 17, 2007, President George W. Bush nominated U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Conrad, to the Phillips seat. Conrad's nomination was also unsuccessful.

See also


Legal offices
Preceded by
Franklin Taylor Dupree Jr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
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