General News

Judge Stephanos Bibas is an Ordained Orthodox Deacon

BOSTON – Stephanos Bibas, the Federal Judge who serves on the United States Court of Appeals who rejected the Trump campaign's latest effort to overturn a state’s election results, is a first generation Greek-American – and an ordained Deacon of the Orthodox Church.

He serves on Sundays and major Feast days at the Orthodox Church of Saint Elizabeth the New-Martyr in Central New Jersey, a Mission Parish of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, also known as ROCOR.

As the AP reported, Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court despite the judges' assessment that the “campaign’s claims have no merit.”

“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy,” Judge Bibas wrote for the three-judge panel, all appointed by Republican presidents. He added that “charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.” President Donald J Trump nominated Bibas to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The case had been argued last week in a lower court by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who insisted during five hours of oral arguments that the 2020 presidential election had been marred by widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. However, Giuliani failed to offer any tangible proof of that in court.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, another Republican, had said the campaign's error-filled complaint, “like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together” and denied Giuliani the right to amend it for a second time.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called any revisions “futile.” Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith and Judge Michael Chagares were on the panel with Bibas, a former University of Pennsylvania law professor.

“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” Bibas said in the opinion, which also denied the campaign's request to stop the state from certifying its results, a demand he called “breathtaking.”

Bibas was born in New York City and spent his summers growing up working for his father, a Greek immigrant who survived the occupation of Greece during World War II, in his family's restaurants. In high school, he became involved in debate and public speaking. He graduated high school at the age of 15 and entered Columbia University.

At Columbia, Bibas was a member of the Philolexian Society and participated in Parliamentary debate. He graduated from Columbia when he was 19 with a Bachelor of Arts (1989) in political theory, summa cum laude. He then went on to attend Oxford University, graduating two years later with a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (1991) in jurisprudence. While at Oxford, Bibas won the 1st place speaker award in the World Debate Championships.

Bibas then attended Yale Law School, where he obtained his Juris Doctor (1994) and was a member of the Yale Law Journal. At Yale Law, Bibas joined the moot court team and won awards for the best oralist and best team, and also served as a symposium editor on the Yale Law Journal.

From 2006 to 2017, Bibas was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He received the Robert A. Gorman Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008. Bibas previously taught at the University of Chicago Law School and the University of Iowa College of Law and was a research fellow at Yale Law School.

Before beginning his academic career, Bibas was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he successfully prosecuted the world's leading expert in Tiffany stained glass for hiring a grave robber to steal Tiffany windows from cemeteries. Bibas also unsuccessfully prosecuted an alleged $7 theft at the VA hospital in New York.

Early in his career, he worked as a litigation associate at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.

From 1994–1995, he clerked for Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He also clerked for Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy from 1997-1998.

Bibas is the 15th-most-cited law professor by the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeal, and state high courts as well as the 5th-most-cited professor of criminal law and procedure by law professors.

He also directed Penn Law's Supreme Court clinic, for which he litigated a wide range of appellate cases under consideration by the United States Supreme Court. The clinic allows students to assist on real Supreme Court cases, including recruiting, strategizing, researching, writing briefs, participating in moot court rehearsals, and attending oral arguments at the Court itself. The Court appointed him to brief and argue Tapia v. United States as amicus curiae. The Court praised Bibas and the clinic for doing "an exceptionally good job" on that case.

On June 19, 2017 he was appointed to his current position to fill the seat vacated by Judge Midge Rendell, who took senior status on July 1, 2015. On October 4, 2017, a hearing on his nomination was held before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He and his wife Juliana Denise Bibas, a writer, have four children.


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